A very small percentage of current-generation developers have come close to maxing out the HD consoles. There are games like Uncharted, Halo 4, various open-world games, etc. that do seem to utilize the full potential of the consoles, but they are in the minority. Most games don't come close to the technological prowess of those. Most games only use a moderate amount of power while making games look clean. Hell, a portion of developers aren't rich or skilled enough to push the current gen consoles. That portion will certainly grow next generation. The PS4 and Nextbox will more than likely be more powerful than their predecessar's by a considerable margin. If the average developer only uses X% of the PS360, then I expect the average developer will only use 0.5X% of the PS4 and Nextbox, or perhaps lower.
Will consumers even care if developers maximize the power of the next generation consoles? Considering the success of the Wii, it's clear that a hefty chunk of gamers are content with even sub-HD visuals. On the HD consoles, gamers don't seem to care if their games maximize the consoles either. The biggest game on the HD consoles is Call of Duty, which most would agree doesn't come close to pushing the consoles to their limits. If gamers are content with a game so weak it that doesn't even push the PS3 and 360, how much power will gamers actually demand next generation?
I'm thinking a very small minority of studios will even attempt to push the PS4 and Nextbox to their limits. I'm not a technology expert, but aside from RAM, most developers don't seem to be too limited with current HD consoles. I expect them to use a much lower percentage of the consoles power next generation. And I don't think gamers will care actually. I personally wouldn't care. I still play games from 2007 occassionally and never find myself complaining about low power or weak graphics. I think we're reaching the point when increased graphical capabilities have smaller and smaller impact on enjoyment. What do you think? How much will you demand next generation?
Will you care?