If the Core Mechanics were different I could understand that. But the rules are the same. The scale is the same. One new mechanic doesn't make a new game. You can say AoR is for those who want to play Rebellion until you are blue in the face but it really just boils down making those of us who want to play STAR WARS as opposed to Firefly or Galactic War will have to pay for 3 books with mostly redundant material.
That's like, just your opinion, man
Fact is, FFG has said from Day One that they were going to do three core rulebooks, each one capable of being run independently of the other (much like the WH40K line or even the original World of Darkness product line by White Wolf) but can also be used collectively if the GM so chooses. And unlike WH40K or oWoD, this game line has been designed from the ground up to be fully compatible.
Right now, the Beta is light on the newer material (mostly consisting of crunch-based stuff like new talents, new careers, new specializations, new species, new starships, new NPCs, and new Force power), but odds are the final version will have a lot more fluff material, much like the EotE Beta was pretty bare-bones (fluff section was close to non-existent) but the final version has a wealth of background material.
If you don't like the fact that FFG is doing an AoR Beta, then simply don't buy it or any other book. On the flip side, I know a few gamers that had no interest in EotE due to much of the promotional material being centered on making the PCs out to be criminal scum rather than the heroes that the other Star Wars RPGs encouraged, and are far more interested in AoR than they ever were in EotE.
There's also the element to consider that FFG is a business first and foremost, and as a company one of their primary goals is to generate a profit, so that they can continue to operate and thus produce more games and generate more revenue to cover their operating costs. And lest anyone think that FFG is making money hand-over-fist, remember the old gaming industry joke of "how do you make a small fortune in the gaming industry? First, you start with a large fortune..."
They arent making three core rulebooks, they are making one core rulebook with three different colors and slightly different fluff. You mention the 40K line, but the thing with the 40K line is that they arent the same game. All of the games are not really compatable and you dont go from Acolyte to Rogue Trader to Deathwatch.
Star Wars is supposed to be fully compatable. Unlike the 40K games, where only the most basic rules are the same, Star Wars is going to be three identical games. In that case there is no reason to make a massive rulebook to get people to buy redundant material. A core book of half the size and sourcebooks would have been a much lass massive undertaking from their part much less easier on the players. Even then, I do not think they are going to make any more money with massive and massively redundant books than they would have with smaller books. Especially if new players are going to say 'I have to shell out $180 and buy the rules three times just to do what is in the movies?' Redundancy is not a virtue in game books.
Please dont trot out the 'three seperate games' bit again either. The biggest complaint we have all been subjected to in the last year is the fact that the game was broken up too far. Namely, the 'where's the Jedi' complaint. That by itself shows that the 'three seperate games' is somewhat a fiction from the start. One that I dont have a problem with, having had to GM for jedi in a game that wasnt designed for it more than once, but if all that is new in AoR is duty, then what is the point for someone who has EotE. Also, if AoR is just reskinned EotE, what the heck is F&D going to be? Still no Jedi, just more reprinted trees and rules? If there is space to do Jedi in the last book, then there is space to do war in the second.
About FFG being a business, and them trying to make money. If so, they are doing it badly. Why the heck isnt X-wing fully compatable with the RPG? I sure as heck would have bought it and a bunch of minis and I hardly think I am alone in that thought. Add on top of that that there are quite a few people who have been begging them to give them money for a month now, when they should full well have known that the demand was there. Pissing off people who want to give you money is not a good thing.
I have nearly the whole WEG Star Wars line and most of SAGA. I even have nearly all of the Rogue Trader line, the core books for Dark Heresy and Deathwatch. So, I am a pretty hard core Star Wars fan, and I definitely dont have a problem with FFGs products. In what world is it a good thing to annoy me so badly that I wont give you a few hundred dollars a year for Star Wars books?
(by the way, I mean FFG, not you, Donovan.)