Point of contention:
Artists take commissions. This is "creating for others". It isn't "creating for self" any longer. It is forgoing creativity to deliver exactly what the audience wants.
Are you saying all artists lose their integrity the moment they begin taking commissions and trying to sell their work? That's what your post sounds like.
Here's the major problem with the argument:
While people consider video games art (erroneously, in my opinion... these tend to be people who have no idea what art actually is... or people who want their hobby to be more respected than it is out of ego), the fact tends to remain that creation of it is only half of the expression.
From an artistic standpoint, a game isn't an artistic expression until it is played. To this end, your audience is going to be half of the process.
Now, whether that audience is just you... you and a few friends... or the wider world... doesn't really matter. Video games (like books) require they be consumed as part of the artistic expression. This is the nature of what they are.
In this respect, video games are far different from creating a painting. Or a statue. Or a piece of architecture.
Part of the artwork within a video game is the execution of the experience (a person can't feel anything about a video game until it is played, unlike other artwork which typically just needs to be viewed). Because of this, consideration needs to be made toward an audience. Even if that audience is only yourself.
The artistic expression of a video game lies beyond the packaging. It isn't enough create the game. The packaging needs to be opened. The experience needs to be had in order for any artistic expression to have taken place.
So, to that end:
1. If you are creating strictly for yourself, then you need only worry about whether or not you enjoy the end product.
2. If you are creating for a small group of people, then you need only worry about whether they enjoy the end product.
3. If you are creating for a large group of people or to put food on your table, then you need to worry about whether the most people possible will enjoy your end product.
Don't get me wrong, I get it. I understand all the resistance to my viewpoint on "Don't create a game you like".
I'm a creative, so there's no way I don't understand where the resistance is coming from.
Creating is a deeply spiritual and personal act. It is nearly equivalent to having faith as a worshipper of a deity. It's a very powerful experience to create. Especially when channeling it from wherever it comes inside of you.
Artistic expression, however, only reaches its zenith when your message is passed along to others. A creative never really remains content to only create for themselves. They desire to share their works with others and have others experience a piece of what they experience when they create. They wish to pass along whatever message or experience it is to others.
To this end, video games are somewhat unique. They are a form of entertainment. To pass along your message, you need to appeal to others in order to get them to want to experience your artistic expression.
I'm not saying (nor have I ever said) that you should simply follow trends and focus group your projects and design by committee and whatever else nonsensical garbage others have imagined I've said.
What I've said is that you should create games others want to play. Your work isn't art until others want to experience it. It remains unrealized work until it has an audience. Your message does not exist unless others receive it.
If you have idea X, Y, and Z, you are free to have them and make a game about them. That isn't the issue. The issue is that people need to be told that X, Y, and Z need to be tweaked in order to reach their intended audience. They need to be tweaked in order for the creative message to arrive. They need to be tweaked in order to even create the artistic expression.
A raw idea is worth nearly nothing. An idea refined for an audience to enjoy is worth the enjoyment of the audience and the self-satisfaction it brings of having been heard as an artist.
As a writer, I've learned this the hard way. I remain unpublished for several factors, one of which includes that I have issues catering "to a mainstream audience". But each piece of feedback I receive tells me how to do that a little better. It shows me how to refine my craft a little better so that my artistic expression can reach an audience.
I have never been told that X story won't sell well. I've only ever been told that "X Product isn't good enough" (in far more polite terms, most of the time).
The advice "Create a game you want to play" ignores the simple reality of the world. The reality that EXECUTION of what you create matters. Create whatever you want all day long, but if it isn't executed very well, it will fail as even artistic expression.
Think of it in terms of food, if that helps.
You can mix and match all sorts of different ingredients and flavors and make them look pretty and interesting on a plate... But, if you execute the dish incorrectly, nobody is going to want to eat it. It will taste awful. At which point, all that work you put forth was a waste of time. Your artistic expression became meaningless because it doesn't taste good.
"Create a game you want to play" is incomplete advice at best. "Create a game that is fun" is better advice.
Don't create a dish you would like to eat. Create one that others would find delicious.