As I said, some state-of-the-art techniques require more recent hardware features than 3.2. When Carmack developed Doom 3 he used then state-of-the-art OpenGL, not an older version. It was in fact 1.4 with some extensions to get roughly to the feature level of 2.0 (which was available when Doom3 came out but not during development).
Originally Posted by AndreGB
Regarding the Samaritan demo: The morphing of the guys face is done on the tessellation shader. The reflections are image-based and could in fact be implemented in simpler shaders. Have you seen the newer Elemental demo? The lighting there looks like cone-traced indirect lighting (look up Cyril Crassins paper "Interactive Indirect Illumination Using Voxel Cone Tracing). You need atomic operations and image read/write for the octree building there.
Sure, you can make games in GL 3.2, you can also make some in GL 1.4 - if you like to be stuck with Doom-like graphics. If you want to make graphics as realistic as possible, you will need the latest techniques. And GL 4 capable hardware is getting quite common (esp. on Macs).
I have seen the elemental demo. Basically, all UE4 and CryTek 3 demos are amazing.
@Janika, if Apple doesn't care about updating OpenGL (as most people are saying), why would they bother creating a whole new API to do the exact same thing OpenGL already does? I've always thought that macs have a chance to become a really great gaming machine. They have the same "closed" specifications as the consoles but with the processing power (and upgrade cycle) of computers. So t is easier for developers to tune their games knowing what kind of hardware to expect. But... well... that doesn't seem like it is going to happen anytime soon.