My argument is that, by presenting the design in such a manner, a company will not reach nearly as many gamers/customers. People don't care about flash or graphics; while design plays a part, they care far more about content. Here's an article you may find interesting.
According to my
experience, every person (which is a lot of people..) I've referred to http://dawnoffantasy.com
has loved it. Even my sister and my mom, quite non tech-savvy, had an easy time with the website.
Design seems to play a large part in why they like the site too (unlike you say). Everyone says they love going through the book.
I definitely agree with you, though, that functionality and ease of access to a site's content should be put much higher on the priority list than coolness and features.