I think Schiesel nails it here:
... the most powerful and important games are the persistent online dimensions like World of Warcraft and Eve Online. That is because they're not really about the games; they are about the relationships players form within them.
I'm surprised but gratified to see a reporter in a major media outlet who really gets it. Of note is also a comment by Rob Pardo (Blizzard's executive vice president for game design), who observes that Blizzard could easily fill larger venues than the Anaheim Convention Center (my suggestion: rent Wyoming) but prefers to keep the con local for the benefit of Blizzard employees who want to come.
I think it's safe to say that gamers are still working toward mainstream acceptance (possibly because people often don't consider things like Angry Birds and Farmville to be "true" gaming), and it's really nice not to see the usual caricature of the angry, antisocial nerd rearing its head.