I knew a programmer that use to tell me that the more complex something is the higher chance of it breaking. We can see this play out with Cyberpunk. It is taking almost 2 to 3 years of software patching and hardware upgrades to make it enjoyable.
The graphics will inevitably get better by default with time and become more efficient to run.
As far as cheating in games, this was around a decade ago and unfortunately will always be there.
Notice as rasterization becomes more efficient and easier to run Nvidia is pushing for RT and doubling down on it every generation. This is to make a new demand for it's hardware. It will take a few more generations or at least a decade to run rt games with trailer like graphics.
For some the ultra realism is an escape from reality to an alternative reality to trigger a euphoric response. Games with better gameplay than visuals trigger a similar response in terms of rewards when winning or solving complex problems and puzzles. Imo when the two come together with great gameplay and great visuals we have perfect harmony. That perfect harmony can be addicting to some/many who chase this feeling whether it be with superior gaming or visuals. In conclusion the visual quality of games will eventually plateau into ultra realism and as many agree shouldn't be a priority focal point and gameplay like you said is more important because by default graphics will eventually get better and better.
That's why I prefer developers like idSoftware, who say "it will release when its done, and its done when its done"