simo: The "official" releases of Elite aren't anywhere near as good as the RISC OS one, which is why you'd at least need an emulator (the unofficial ones which arguably are as good aren't for Windows, interestingly enough - there's Elite A, which is an adaption of the BBC B version, and OOlite, which is being written on Macs, although I think there's a Linux port going too).
The price of RISC OS is unfortunately a huge chain around it's neck. It takes a hell of a lot of convincing to try to persuade people who don't use it that they should spend more money on something that has lower numbers (however relevent or not they may be), doesn't run their favourite app, and can't do a few other things. That is where VRPC could potentially be of use, for supplying a cheap end, although for that to work there would need to be some native hardware that outperformed it hugely.
md0u80c9: Alas we aren't seeing RISC OS growth, or at least that's not the perception I have, although as you point out things do seem to be slowing down elsewhere. If RO can survive long enough to use that slow down to catch up then it may have a chance. I hope so.