So what's you're suggesting, to be clear, is that there are sideblades, built into the game, that are standard on the LE, and an optional upgrade on the Standard?
The idea isn't new to us, I think it's interesting too. Just personally, not speaking for Heighway. I like the model of building pins like Mini, the car company. They let you customize the shit out of your Mini on their website, and charge you for each upgrade. It's awesome, really get a tricked out model, but you can spend a lot if you go overboard. And hey, for some people that's fine, right?
Just make it all optional (sideblades are cool, but super unnecessary to play) so that no one feels gimped. Special art, lighting upgrades for things outside the playfield, special effects (smoke?, shaking), all that kind of stuff that adds to the experience, but isn't about the actual gameplay with the ball.
So just for my own curiosity, I checked with the mod market for these. Looks like they range from $75 - $160 in price. So that gives you the economics of what it takes to make something like that worthwhile.
But if you're a company that is doing 20 different titles, making blades is one thing. If you're doing it for just one game right now, that's another. So I'd think you'd have to charge on the more premium side to make sure you don't lose money on the whole thing.
Are people willing to pay $150 for a visual upgrade like that, if it's done right, and not an aftermarket product that you have to be careful to not scratch etc?
Also, to be honest, I think at that level you can't auto-include it in the LE. It's just the reality of the market. The bulk of your buyers of upgrades will be the LE buyers. Without them there really isn't a reasonable market. You have to cut off the LE BOM at some point, or it's too expensive to make too.
One nice thing about mods is you can order them later. Ge the game, see if you like it, and if it's a keeper then put some money into making it extra special to enjoy.