I'm not so much worried about the hardware-vs.-software processing aspect of things. Hell, one of my crazier thoughts in years past was to leverage modern GPGPU designs for sound calculations, like wavetracing and all that which took a big CPU hit back during Aureal's prime with A3D 2.0.
On that note, I have a feeling we'd be a LOT better off today had Aureal survived. I remember an article just before bankruptcy that was about them talking about how A3D 3.0 was becoming less of a proprietary API for Vortex chipset cards and more of a general-purpose audio middleware for games in much the same way FMOD and Wwise are now.
My real concern is that they're still treating us headphone users as second-class and thinking that a 5.1/7.1 speaker system is the best way to mix audio positionally when we all know that it could be far better than that, having experienced 3D audio over headphones done right. If they're smart, they'll take note of the increase in popularity of gaming headsets and particular audiophile cans used for gaming like the AD700, and make their headphone mixes something more than a one-dimensional left/right pan.
And on that note, I have the feeling that older PC games that used A3D, DirectSound3D, OpenAL, etc. weren't developed with headphone users in mind; the audio APIs they used just happened to enable proper headphone surround sound by circumstance, if the sound card were to support it. Besides, back in the late 1990s, Aureal was the only one really trying with binaural sound in gaming, shortly followed by Sensaura and their Virtual Ear; Creative took the surround speaker approach back then and didn't even bother with headphone surround until the introduction of the X-Fi series and CMSS-3D Headphone around 2004 or 2005.