I don't know guys, I suggest you give the way I play GT a try.I was the exact same way...started playing 1P, then discovered online, and never looked back...
...until recently. I’ve basically just followed the same path as you, just a few steps further.
I’ve grown tired of the headache of online racing. Sport Mode is ok, but constantly having to worry about SR and DR, while welcome for competitive events, is frustrating and stressful for quick, fun races (especially when there are so many ways to abuse and subvert the penalty system). Random online lobbies are just that, very random, completely hit or miss, and for the most part, don’t offer too much variety in terms of the cars/category being raced. Leagues and Series are great when they’re well organized, but typically only take place once per week. On top of that, most leagues are quite competitive, and require a significant amount of time in regards to practice and tuning in order to be competitive (for me at least). Additionally, racing as a whole is a very subjective enterprise, with each person having their own personal definition of what is “clean”, “fair”, “fun”, “casual”, “competitive”, etc. My point here is that even if I open a “Fun Race Lobby”, my chances of 15 other people who have the same interpretation of “fun racing” as I do is pretty slim.
I consider myself still a “gamer”, not a “sim racer”. I’d like to go into the deep end, but don’t have room for a rig right now. So while I’m happy to see legit competitions grow and evolve, they’re really not for me. At this point in my gaming, I just want to have fun races, as well as role play different scenarios with different cars from different eras. I’ve found it’s really tough to do online, and nearly impossible to get anywhere close to full grids.
With all that in mind, I would LOVE to see a game come out that focused on the single player aspect. A structured career mode, I can take it or leave it...but what I’d really like is custom races, custom championships, and complete control over all aspects of setting up events.
So maybe that’s the major splitting point. Do you want to see the developer focus on making the perfect online experience, or the perfect single player/co-op experience? Obviously it would be ideal to have both in the same game, but it doesn’t seem like that’s really possible at the current time.
Is the single player in GT better or worse than it used to be? Yes and no. Is it objectively worse than almost every other game out right now, and that’s been out for the better part of the last 10 years? Yup.
I mean, in most car related gaming communities I’ve been part of, the general consensus is that the ideal game would be Project Turismo Corsa...you take the UI, online lobbies, and match making from GT, combine with the tracks, Livetrack 2.0, and dynamic weather from Project Cars, and then the handling and physics model from AC, then you’d have the perfect racing game on console.
At the end of the day, I think PD does have a choice to make, as I don’t think they have what it takes to do it all. That’s not a dig at them, I just don’t see it happening. I think continuing to try to be a little bit of everything to everyone is going to cost them in the long run, instead of picking one area to really excel at. If PD does make that choice, I have a feeling they will choose to focus on online multiplayer, as that’s where the potential revenue lies (as long as online racing isn’t just a passing fad like the slinky or bell bottoms). The unfortunate part of that is that the online racing market is already nearly saturated, and there’s almost no one focusing on a compelling and immersive single player experience in the racing genre (pCARS is probably closest, but comes up short in a few areas).
90% the time it's just me, my car, and a track. It's endless and its all you really need. Drive that car. Feel it. Racing with other cars is only good with friends who want to have a good time together. The rest is no fun.