I have been told that if one works at McDonald’s, one does not eat there.
When I started at That Company, we played Middle Earth CCG (they handed me a starter deck: “Do you play? Read the rules.”). Occasionally, we played our own games, but there were always issues. It’s hard to do something you do at work for recreation, I guess.
We had a game night on Fridays at my house for many years, and we played board games. It was a good experience for designers of card games, to be exposed to other kinds of mechanics. Sometimes we even played other companies’ CCGs… I played a lot of L5R back then.
I’ve always liked to play new games, and now they’re something I can use to make my own job better. My perspective is definitely changed. Everyone thinks it’s cool to have a job that’s making things you use when you relax, but there are some complicated issues. You tend to look at everything differently, critically.
When I was a graphic designer and typesetter, I would analyze and disassemble every restaurant menu I was handed. Embarrassing for my co-diners. I still point out way too many typos for the comfort zone of those around me.
So the answer is yes, when you make games, playing them becomes a different experience. But it’s still fun, and I’m still a gamer!