Anders Tychsen has some interesting ideas on how to leverage elements of tabletop RPGs in order to make their digital cousins more compelling (and thus keeping players enthralled for longer). Tychsen points to issues of integration — something many tabletop games are quite strong on, but an area that has seen less work in creating console or PC RPGs — as an area that could use some work, and create more positive gaming experiences:
Tabletop RPGs have for the past 30 years created personalized story-based gaming experiences for players worldwide. Given their likeness with digital RPGs, it would seem there are some opportunities for leveraging these experiences.
Character generation systems can provide sets of cues for the game engine to react to and direct content after, provides a reasonably simple method for integrating soft personality components in a programming environment, is theoretically simple to design and integrate, and can be scaled to accommodate different levels of intricacy and integration.
A personality system such as that observed in many tabletop RPGs has the further advantage that it is modular, it can be designed to change appearance and stats of characters or it can be strictly parametric.
It's an interesting take on what could be done to current games (without too much work) to make them more interesting (and personal) experiences.
Innovations In Character: Personalizing RPGs, Retaining Players [Gamasutra]