Trying to claim that eye-candy is irrelevant to gaming is like trying to say Crysis' graphics had nothing to do with why people played the game. I'm sorry but visualizations are extremely important. I think we've moved beyond simple hair simulations by now. Just because it can finally do a shader simulation of hair after all these years doesn't mean it's any where near what PhysX is doing today.
You obviously don't mind console graphics where as most people here would not agree. You might as well claim that high levels of AA and Eyefinity/Surround gaming are a "gimmick" too. Just because you can't afford to experience it doesn't mean others don't want it. If Nvidia licensed PhysX over to AMD you wouldn't be trying to call it a "gimmick" any more. There's no physics engine today that can achieve similar visualizations as PhysX currently produces.