I think that’s a very good point. The software technology seems to get better and better all the time, which is no surprise I guess. Innovation. When I see new products coming out they keep talking about fancy new algorithms and emulations that truly replicate some kind of hardware etc. Or maybe that’s the new gear marketing hype (“pristine”, “effervescent”, “velvety”).
The guitar amp sims aren’t just code written to sound like it … they now claim to be mapping tube tone and numerous other lifelike characteristics of classic guitar amps. I didn’t get the Bias Amp stuff, but that seemed to be what they were touting (customize your tone) and it did seem pretty cool.
The console and effects emulations seem to be quite advanced now too. I don’t know if they’ll get to the point where you can say that they work in exactly the same ways, but there’s probably a valid argument to whether you can hear the difference or not.
DAW features, interfaces, preamps, converters, microphones … all getting at least marginally better over time with new technologies and features I would think. At what point can you say the new stuff is actually better? I’m sure there will always be nostalgia for the past technology, but there could be an expiration date leading to its obsolescence.