One thing to consider about sharpening, is that many of these stainless super alloys that are so touted for edge retention, pay for that in being nearly impossible for the average person to sharpen.
The justification to the makers however, is that 90% of knife buyers don't ever even attempt to sharpen, much less have a clue how to do it correctly, so they're building a reputation off having a knife that stays sharp from the factory as long as possible. Huge numbers of knives just get throw away once they get dull, so I guess I can't blame them.
Simple carbon steels like 1095, 1084, W2, and low alloy steels tool and spring steels like 5160, and to a lesser degree D2, O2 etc, are super easy to put a hair popping edge on, and can be maintained with a few swipes on a strop or sandpaper. Yes you have to sharpen it often to maintain that edge, but it's easy as pie, and with the proper edge geometry you can keep a strong "working" edge, for a very long time.
It's why many serious knife users prefer non-stainless steels for working knives, although there are some really good stainless varieties these days that'll hold a great edge and are reasonably easy to sharpen. My experience with 12c27 and ATS-34 have been good in that regard for instance.
Ultimately though, the steel is only a small part of the equation, even the best steel can be a poor performer without the right heat-treat regimen. That's one of the reasons why I'm such a proponent of Bark River's knives as a "production" choice. The convex grinds and their superior understanding of the HT for the steel's they use out perform many top of price range options that utilize more exotic steel.
Even though I'm making knives more than anything else anymore, my Bravo Necker 2 is still my daily user and I've beaten it to hell and back, it never fails to perform up to my expectations.