Was on a GameFAQs messageboard when I came across this post:
One of the main reasons, especially nowadays [why many Americans prefer WRPGs to JRPGs], is that gamers want a game that's a game first of all. They don't want hours of dialogue or story, with most thinking "If I want that, then I'll watch a movie or read a book." Some are going to hate me for this, but this is a reason that Call of Duty is so popular. It's a game that you can immediately begin playing, having simple controls that are fun and interaction with others.
If this is true, then it's disheartening for the gamer in me. I've never been the biggest fan of WRPGs, though I was never able to articulate why until now. With a lot of WRPGs in general, I get this feeling that the story is often just a vehicle to get the characters from point A to point B to point C. Like, there isn't really a focus on developing the characters or establishing really interesting and complex relationships between the characters. It's like the scenario writers think, "We need to drive the story forward somehow, so we'll give the characters simple, linear motives and maybe there'll be a twist or two at the end and that'll be that." Of course, I'm sure not every single WRPG is like this, but I feel like a lot of them are.
I still like a lot of JRPGs though, and it makes me really sad that the genre seems to be going out of fashion. And it's especially sad that some really big companies that are known for their JRPGs are still trying to create interesting characters, relationships, etc., but haven't been doing it very well as of late. (i.e. Square Enix) *sigh*
I guess this is why I watch anime a lot more than I play video games. >_>