To be honest, the difficulty of video games seem to be much easier to me than older games, even on the hardest difficulty. I don't really know why but I guess it's to appeal more to casual gamers.
For me i'm split between a hardcore and casual player. Typically when I play any game I play it on the highest difficulty setting for a challenge, otherwise I play on the easiest to just experience the story or to just have fun with the game.
As far as the difficulty spike from easy to the highest for video games, it really just depends on what game it is because it's always different.