This thread should be titled "Stern did not do what I wanted them to do and am I mad".
Stern is a business first and foremost. They are not the evil empire looking to steal peoples hard earned money. They are a design and manufacturing company. That means they need to keep the assembly line rolling to keep up the monthly revenue to cover costs like insurance, debt, electricity,salaries,taxes,sewer,water,etc. All the stuff that needs to be covered that is not associated with BOM on machines. Remember, it was not that long ago they moved into the new factory, designed to increase their output/revenue. In the last 18 months, how many new titles have they put out ( JP, DP,Munsters, ST, etc)? In the case of the SW Comic VE , I just bought one. My money was looking for a SW Prem/LE prior to the SW Comic announcement. So instead of my money going to the secondary market it went towards a comic. Very smart on Stern's part and a really beautiful game. GOT Prem VE was announced along with GOT new code that no one anticipated. Helped the sale of those machines I am sure.
It is more likely , due to holes that show up in the assembly process due to the timing of new title development /assembly, they have a business strategy to insert certain VE's in the assembly line. Most likely the selection of the VE is determined by the difficulty of production along with the length of the expected gap in the new title assembly process. The whole idea here being they do not want the assembly process sitting idle between new titles. As any good company they have probably played out this plan over a five year period so as to show to their board/investors/bankers.
The newer Stern games are really cool. Elvira, DP, GOTG,JP, Munsters are beautiful games that have a lot going for them. I for one want Stern to keep going and produce new titles so the VE strategy to keep up revenue works for me. Who knows they may introduce some new code for IM to help sales that helps us all.