stereo is still way to go. if ever listen to speakers with great soundstage and imagery you'll personally think ''Why was HT ever created?'' and feel it was a gimmick from the get-go. stereo imagery is still best way to detect exact precision of sound cues. even playing in stereo on my speakers with no type of digital processing like fear 2 for example. i can hear the each shell that pops out the gun hit the floor behind me and bounce with exact precision or enemy in the distance behind a wall to my left. i can even hear a helicopter past by my head in stereo as well. also if you play games with lot of environmental sounds like BFBC2 or LP2 it can be exciting to be able to hear mosquitoes pass by your ear or a bird chirping in the distance behind you.
Yes,what i just described is all stereo. 2-channels that is processing soundfield in full 360 degrees. same goes for headphones.
I can see where this might be the case with headphones, or a 2-speaker stereo setup with sound processing enabled (Pro-Logic for example), but having a full blown 5.1 or 7.1 setup running on 6 or 8 discrete channels ( Dolby Digital/DTS) is not a gimmick in the slightest. Where stereo only mimics a 3d sound field, a properly setup 5.1 or 7.1 system actually reproduces one.