Good point here
The change from 2D to 3D in games was astounding. Games went from looking like Doom (which tried to pretend it was 3D, but really, really wasn't) to looking like Quake (fully 3D), to looking like Quake3 (fully 3D, with lighting to match).
And since then, graphics has continued to get better, but it's no longer having the same impact. Sure, the graphics are getting prettier, but it's tiny, incremental prettiness. There's no longer enough of a change on a year by year basis to do more than cause a small "Ooh, pretty" reaction, before getting on with the game.
The current big thing for games, as far as I'm concerned, is realistic physics modelling, so that every item in the game reacts and moves in a natural manner (or unnatural, if you like that kind of thing).
I've seen the Doom3 pics, and they're pretty. But if the only difference between Quake2 and Doom3 is the prettiness, I'm going to be very disappointed. Half-Life2, on the other hand, showed amazing use of the physics engine to allow for whole new game-play possibilities, using the surroundings and contents of the game to your advantage. It made the game feel far more realistic than any graphics update could.
I would rather have
complete photorealism, but only simple interaction with objects in the game
cruder graphics but the ability to pick up, move and interact with any object in the game