So let’s examine what LEGO do. They release a set. It’s out for two to three years – sometimes only one, sometimes more than three, but usually two to three. They stop selling it.
That’s what happens. That is what has happened for decades. There are a small number of exceptions when LEGO has re-released sets, such as the Legends line. But there have been no cases of this at all over the last ten years, LEGO seemed to have put to bed the notion of reissuing older sets.
So in the knowledge that sets definitely get retired, and don’t come back, collectors pay a premium on the aftermarket to buy sets that they missed. Anyone who coughed up big money for the 10199 version of the Toy Shop in the last couple of weeks is going to be pretty unhappy right now. Because after they just spent that money, LEGO have changed the rules on them.
How unfair would it be to all those who have paid hundreds – even thousands – to own the UCS Millennium Falcon (10179) if LEGO were to re-release it next week? Collectors buy this stuff for insane premiums because they know that LEGO do not re-release old sets.
If LEGO are going to start re-releasing old sets, then it will change many things in the hobby. One change will be buying habits. AFOLs will start trying to second guess which sets are likely to get a reissue down the road, and not worrying so much about those. Another problem, which already exists in some cases, will be when rifling through a second hand lot of LEGO – have you found the original set or the reissue? Only a few parts are different, you won’t be able to tell easily.
There are strong arguments against LEGO releasing and retiring sets the way they do. But as this is the way LEGO have broadly operated forever, and completely operated for a decade, fans have adapted to this and understand it. If this is going to change, then so will the nature of the hobby.