andhe wrote:I wonder why TLG are basically just updating all their old sets? Haven't all the Batman sets basically been updates of the old line? Even down to the figs/characters involved.
It comes down to the fact that LEGO's main audience isn't us, the AFOLs who have been around an collecting for years, and who buy older sets on Bricklink etc. Instead they are primarily selling to ten year olds (well, their parents). Today's ten year old wasn't into System sets the last time they released the Batman line, so you've got a whole new buying audience that doesn't have any of the previous version of the sets. And once you've decided to do a Batman line, you pretty much have to release certain things - the Batmobile, the Batcave, Batplane, Batboat, and certain villains like the Joker, before you can go on to other - perhaps worthy, but more obscure - settings, vehicles and characters.
I'd compare LEGO in some ways to how Disney re-releases their classic movies on DVD. Both Disney and LEGO market primarily to kids, both classic products that still wear very well, both have been around for generations, so that parents (and grandparents) who enjoyed their products when they were young are now buying them for a new generation of kids. We just bought the new edition of Cinderella this weekend, and Disney is advertising that you need to buy it now because it's going "back in the vault". They can do this, because they have this catalog of classic product - next year they'll have a special edition of Sleeping Beauty or whatever, and after that a remastered Little Mermaid, etc etc etc, and then in ten years they'll be ready to release a new iteration of Cinderella. And by that time, there will be a whole new batch of kids and young parents. In addition to the rotating new generations of customers, with each new iteration there is some updated material, so even those who got it in the past might want a new version. So this time it's on Blu-Ray, while ten years ago it was on DVD, and ten years before that it was on VHS. And there's new content - we watched a clip with our daughter that looked at concept art and songs that never made it into the movie. Or to take another example, they also can re-release movies to the theater every so many years. So my kids hadn't seen Nemo on the big screen, since it was years before they were born, so now we can see it in the theater again. But not just the new generation, they've added new content - this time it's in 3-D. Without ever generating new content, Disney could continue earning money for decades just by re-tooling their old movies.
Okay, back to LEGO. In addition to hitting a new generation of buyers, as with the new DVD release, you get new bonus features - redesign, new features, new figs, etc. So even those who bought the original might want to buy the new version as well.