Edited by Fringe - 5/30/12 at 3:52pm
No doubt quality audio is underrated in games.
Just look at Thief: The Dark Project, a game released back in 1998. Better sound design and positioning than the vast majority of games released since 2007, which is just sad.
You should give this forum thread a read. It mainly pertains to PC gaming audio and why it's taken such a regression over the past few years, but it does highlight a general undercurrent of "get the sound done and out of the way ASAP" compared to "make this guy's eyelashes look really nice!" that seems to be running through the game industry.