I think the vram issue is blown out of proportion... 2gb is a boatload of memory, you can fit a lot of high resolution very high quality textures into that. I think people monitoring vram usage, are just doing it wrong... my guess is that for performance reasons, vram contents aren't garbage collected often and disposed objects are only garbage collected on an as-needed basis. As such, you can have a card with 8gb of ram and eventually after playing something like Skyrim with the texture mods long enough and seeing enough of the world - assuming the entire world even has 8 gigs of textures, it will eventually just fill up until every texture in the game is in memory.
I'm a software developer, so I have experience with garbage collection and when you think about it it just doesn't make sense for vram to actively only hold what you see on your screen and discard anything not in immediate use right away. There is a cost to the actual process of determining what pieces are needed or not, and there is a cost getting previously loaded objects back into memory if you need them again - it just makes sense to load it up until you're out of room and then dump only as much as you need out or do minor housekeeping on less frequent intervals.
Now, my job is very far removed from game development but I'm going to just take an educated guess that what people are seeing (and worrying about needlessly) with vram usage that reaches the amount that they have installed is just simply boils down to garbage collection. If you think about it logically, there is almost no way that Skyrim could be using 2 gigs of memory to display any given scene unless you are at obscene resolutions and using filtering etc. which take up buffer space.
I think the growing amounts of vram doubling etc. has been more of a function of marketing and the fact that memory is getting so darn cheap than the software/hardware actually requiring it. That being said I am surprised that nvidia didn't just shoot out a 3gb card to match the 7970 as that extra gig wouldn't cost much at all ... but I suppose they didn't need to, they are pocketing an extra few bucks for every card sold and having no problem selling them anyway.