Is there still any prospect at all? I left 5 years ago because they stopped improving anything for a decade.
Emacs still has plenty of awesome projects going on, just that they're bloody haphazardly organised. You need to really go look for them and sometimes some minor assembly is required.
For example, the single most awesome Emacs package right now is Org-Mode, which especially speaks to me as a writer (a lot of writers swear by Scrivener, but screw it, we have a better open source alternative in Org). You'll note that it's developed outside of Emacs proper with its own release schedule. You'll note that if you want the newer versions (which aren't always required, the ones shipped with Emacs itself are usually pretty decent) you need to get the git version or use the one from Emacs ELPA package manager, which in itself is still kind of in early stages and not many projects make themselves available through it (translation: I use a whole bunch of emacs extensions, but none of them are available through ELPA). If you want nifty extensions for Org, you really need to hunt random files all around the interwebs and pray they actually work in current version of Org.
This sort of disorganisation is actually just what Emacs has been all about for decades. The core Emacs devs don't innovate that much (well, at least they do add cool new features in major releases, which is a good thing), and just package the outside contributions whenever they can. There's all sorts of cool shit going on, but you just wouldn't always know where to find them.
(That said, if you want to develop Java or C++, NetBeans just blows Emacs off the water.)