Creating a great game isn't about graphics or coding. Its about game design. Also, don't assume that artists want to be game designers just like programmers don't always want to be game designers. Look at all the programmers around the world and I would guess that less than 1% are game developers.
Sure, it does take a long time to become good at any discipline, but my point was that you can in fact go to the store, by a book and learn how to program in 21 days (joke intended). You won't be making the next Quake anytime soon. But you will be able to get started very quickly and make a game. Will that game be amazing though... I doubt it because the game design will still be missing. After a few years, if you stick with it, your programming skills will in fact get better with the more you read and the more you code. The sky is the limit on what you can read about and then code. To truely understand the essence of computer science you can go to college and take computer science as a major and you will learn the field soup to nuts (much as an artist would do for his field). If not school then you can find out almost as much on the web. You can even take game programmer courses on the web. (www.gameinstitute.com
). Ok, so the point is, you can get started VERY quickly and learn enough to make a game and over time learn as much as you want and or need.
You cannot however go get a book that tells you how to create amazing graphics. You can get books that tell you how to use the tools, but the creativity requires skills that are unique to truley talented artists. Usually, those artists are not that common and when they are, they are paid well for those services so its tough to get them to want to do games for royalties when the game ships. If you are looking for a 3D artist then you need all the above plus 3D modeling skills again for free initially. That is a tall order to ask of someone... Check out http://pixelation.swoo.net/
and you will find probably the biggest collection of artists on the web... I dare you to ask one of them to help you do art for your game. They are simply not interested. Even the ones that DO want to make games have their own ideas many of which are pretty darned good. They are a bit elitist, but I can understand why to some extent.
If you have natural talent as an artist you can learn to program if you really want to (generally speaking). If you have natural talent as a programmer, it is probably fair to say that you won't ever be an amazing artist unless you also have some natural art talent.
Finally, there ARE 1000's of amazing games out there from the studios. These games have teams the size you mentioned. However, those folks are paid wages/salaries for those efforts and that is where many of those game focused artists are (contray to popular belief, artists don't like to starve). Also, there are plenty of programmers out there who would love to work for a game company but don't want to be treated like a slave (in many cases) or simply don't want to make the crappy salaries that game coders make.
That leaves us with indie games and game companies... Why aren't there more indie games? Well, for all the reasons you know about... Its is easy to get started as a programmer, hard to find an artist and almost impossible to finish a game when its all for fun and your not getting paid.
I hope this answers some of your questions... Don't get frustrated though. If you really want to make a game, make one. There are plenty of people on the net who are just like you and WILL help you. The trick is to JUST DO IT as Nike tells us. Once you have something started others will help out more than you can imagine.