You guys just gotta realize that these "gimmicks" aren't anything new. They are just McQuarrie concept sketches coming to life in the form of figures.
I like them, and I don't see what the big deal is? We sit through 7 different Kenobi's, 7 different Anakin's, 6 Jango's, 5 Mace's. It's a fun figure.
As for the online exclusive, I'd say their entire line is like an online exclusive, Robb.
*Trying not to give a GNT-ish answer*
I'd say this would have faired as well as the other one in retail, if they made sure it saw a wider release than last years.