Hasbro lost sight of what makes the product "deluxe."
Let's look at the history of the Deluxe line. To a manufacturer, the word "deluxe" simply means a higher pricepoint for a similar item. Take a standard figure, toss something in to add value, and presto, "deluxe."
With POTF2, Hasbro tried the Batman formula of offering weird, over-sized pack-ins as value-added components. This worked for retailers looking for a higher pricepoint, but it left fans thinking, "WTF?" Eventually Hasbro offered more authentic pack-ins and the Deluxe line was off in a better direction.
Until someone said, "Hey, what's so 'deluxe' about the figures?" Nothing, really. So enter Electronic Force F/X. This gave us an Artoo that really beeps and an Emperor that shoots lightning! It also gave us Luke, Vader, and Ben in the most unforgivable sculpts ever, all for the sake of a gimmick that's supposed to make us WANT to pay twice as much as a regular figure. Welcome to Pegwarmer City.
With Episode I, Hasbro did away with the bulky electronics in favor of something with more play value: action features! Deluxe Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan could battle Deluxe Maul with or without those little lightsabres attached to their waists. Collectors and civilians alike yawned aloud.
Enter POTJ. Finally, someone at Hasbro has a good cup of coffee and says, "Hey, what if we create a Deluxe line with accessories too big to fit in the standard line but too small to package as playsets?" Faboo! Bacta Tank Luke is a critical hit with fans, especially given the timely release of the new, improved FX-7. And Leia is sexier than ever sporting a firing deck cannon from Jabba's sail barge. Things are looking up, until the release of a less than deluxe looking Maul and Fan Choice lightweight Amanaman. A shirtless villain and an obscure alien hardly excite the masses, critically or otherwise. Not to mention the most popular hero of the line is sporting what looks like a diaper.
What was once fixed is now broken virtually overnight. Back to the drawing board.
With the introduction of the unified Saga line, we get a lot of trial and error. This time, action features dominate the line. Attack of the Clones, arguably the most toyetic of all Star Wars films, is set to ignite the imagination of a new generation of fans and Hasbro wants to make sure the toys are loaded with as much action as the film! (Can you tell I work in corporate America?) Figures will "Force attract" their lightsabres and "Force flip" during battle! (Kewl!)
Unfortunately, thanks to the painfully random success rate of the Force-Flipping figures, even to the masses the toys are less "action figures" and more "skill game." Hasbro DID manage to change the course of the line in a better direction, but once again, just before pulling the plug. The Clone Trooper with Speeder is a good example of what might work, while the Geonosian with sucking turd thing is not.
Now Hasbro's left with the quandry, "What do we try next? How do we offer a $10 product everyone can get excited about?" Two-packs? (Already ofering those in the standard line.) Electronics again? (Ditto.) What to do...
Hasbro needs to get back to the idea of offering large, authentic pack-ins with popular characters or army builders. A Han Solo in Stormtrooper Disguise with Exploding Detention Cell Kiosk would be a winner. How about a Death Star Gunner with Turbo Laser Battery? And what about a General Rieekan with Light-Up Tactical Display just like on Hoth?
It ain't rocket science, is it? At least, not to collectors.