I was wondering what the real cost of area transitions are to a player? To define what I mean by 'area transitions', I'm referring to when, in an action game or rpg, the player moves to the specific position of one map and ends up in a specific position of another map, and cannot interact with or see things across each of these boundaries. The alternative of this is of course a continuous map, where the player can move from anywhere to anywhere else without a hard transition or demarcation of one area to another.
The reason I'm asking is because implementing continuous play areas come with certain costs, both technical and artistic. However, if the player doesn't necessarily view scene transitions as a bother, then there is less of a reason to pay the costs associated with producing a continuous space.
What do you think? Do players care about this? If so, under what conditions and to what extent?
-edited to fix a few typos.