There are a lot of features in FFXI that are ignored 'cause they really don't have any effect on the main experience of leveling up.
But with FFXIV's goal of having many options, there exists the possibility that you could just go through the game as a chocobo breeder or racer, or a monster battler. I think these things are really what will be emphasized with their "many options", not just fishing and crafting.
I figure Square-Enix's approach is not so much "in FFXIV you can do lots of things" but more like FFXIV is the common interface or hub for many games in one.
A crude analogy would be say, in Wii sports, your Mii participates in different games and builds up his score in them. You can choose to focus entirely on boxing, or maybe you just like Tennis.
FFXIV could turn into Pokemon: The MMO! hahah.