I bet people say this kind of thing during every gen.
You've much to learn, young one. They've never been able to say that. Two generations ago we were still playing games with polygon graphics. In the next generation we had just started to enjoy actual 3D modelling. This is the first generation with the capacity to create polished 3D environments, and that's all we ever envisioned--a cinematic gaming experience. We've already achieved that. Sorry if it wasn't enough for you :p
Thing is, most people are so accustomed to the visual tricks and effects in cinema, nothing we can do with video games will ever be truly impressive from a technical perspective--maybe from an artistic perspective, but not a technical one. Some things show well in trailers, but you're not even going to be processing it while you play the game. In a good game, your brain is focused on other things. As long as the graphics aren't a distraction, they're not doing a lot for your enjoyment of the game.
Frustrated that I can't remember the name for the effect, but this is basically due to bottlenecking of the working memory. In effect, the RAM of the human mind isn't able to keep up with the RAM of graphical rendering. Normally this aids you in suspending disbelief as you focus on what you're supposed to focus on rather than potential flaws, whether in limitations to character behavior, narrative plotholes, or even graphics which are not convincing under a microscope-- but we're not exactly at a tipping point with it. Most gamers are already conditioned not to be engrossed by a game unless the narrative and gameplay do their jobs properly.
It's not like I'm saying that graphics won't get better, but the question in any entertainment medium is: is it more fun? And while you can on some objective level say that better graphics are better, we all know that it's a fraction of a percent of the enjoyment equation for most gamers. A more beautiful game meant something for the first few generations. Now, it only really matters to videophiles.
I remembered: it's cognitive load theory. Related article:
Edited, Apr 16th 2013 6:07am by Kachi
Edited, Apr 16th 2013 6:14am by Kachi