- Wreckage, Turn 1
Does Sim racing need to innovate as such, or just get better over time piece by piece? Better physics, better graphics, better sound, better force feedback/motion/VR etc. etc. - ever gradually becoming more and more like the real thing.
The "innovation" in sim racing is to chase reality.
To the sim racing market, incremental improvements in the areas you listed are probably enough for the core customers to justify spending over £50 for a new release. From a personal perspective, these smaller changes make it harder for me to justify buying a new game, especially with how realistic games have been in recent years. In terms of assets, race cars aren't changing too drastically and less so are the real-life tracks.
Whichever simulator was the most well-received title around 5 years ago is probably delivering at least 90% of the experience as the best sims today, at least from the perspective of your average gamepad user, or even someone with a wheel setup. Those with VR headsets and a motion rig will probably get more enjoyment from newer games, but a lot of people are not in a position to spend a fortune in order to reap those benefits.
If you take a handful of the most recent hardcore simulators, they would be delivering a very similar experience if they all did a good job of recreating reality. I chose to eliminate iRacing solely because it is the most expensive to own.