I think gaming websites like yours are proof enough in my own experience with IPB and gaming clans. Some just move entirely to Facebook groups due to the functionality and ease of us. Push notifications and simple reply options on Facebook, which users already check daily, beat going to a forum, logging in and going through a comparably lengthy process just to partake in a discussion.
I've been using IPB long enough to be comfortable with upgrading live forums to betas. It's not as big of a deal as some people here make it, IPB just advises people not to do it for liability reasons. Besides, I feel you can get better feedback that way.
Meh, would be nice to get a Beta release ASAP, but I quit holding out hope for timeframes after they said IPB4 would be out last year and started planning my upgrades (including a heft deposit on a redesign) around that.
My forum is functioning adequately on Beta 2 for now, will be pleasantly surprised when Beta 3 hits to fix our bugs.
As far as popularity goes, they may be considered outdated for most sites or modern post Web 2.0 standards. But they are still the most popular style and have the most appeal in gaming markets where end users care about form and what looks bad ass vs function and simplicity.
Look at 2 advanced studios and their use of flash in modern Websites for good examples.
Mystic Digital raised the bar there for gaming vb skins.
The sounds were typically mutable and only on the main website not the forums. His personal clan forum had a beautiful design.
You can look him up on deviantart under mystic digital or immortal media. They are both him.