Do people not give much thought when pre-ordering or paying full price for a game?
Honestly... no they don't. I've had this conversation with friends and co-workers, and most don't see the problem with preordering even when I try to explain that games are going to keep coming out broken as long as developers get their money up front.
It's really unfortunate and it's something that has to change. It's also why I'm opting to build a PC now rather than owning a new console (still running on my old 360 for the time being).
It sure seemed like GTA V was a pretty large technical shift from GTA IV, and even more so for the games before that. Part of the awesome appeal of GTA, for me at least, was the totally stupid shit you could do. The ragdoll physics, the dumb shootouts you would get into, sending yourself flying across the map.
GTA V doesn't necessarily allow for all of that, at least not to the level of previous games. The newer games, while not necessarily being self-serious, don't allow you to do the super dumb shit that you used to be able to do in previous versions.
For that reason, I prefer the old ones for their timeless replay-ability and sandbox-y-ness, but the newer games (specifically GTA V) for their technical ability.