I've been role playing long enough that the last ten years have seemed like a very odd boom in RPG popularity. I can remember taking my fair share of harassment in grade school for playing something without a stick and a ball. That being said I have enjoyed the ease with which games are attainable now and would hate to have to resort back to clandestine downloads and shivving fellow gamers for a last remaining copy of <insert supplement name here> on my local gamestore shelf. Roleplaying doesn't need to be saved (it's always depended on us), but widely published distribution should continue.
In that light, I would do what I needed to do in order to stay up with current market trends in gaming (what a rediculous concept 20 years ago). With a positive financial outlook I would then move forward with supplements on elves, dwarves, lustria, cathay, ind....on down the line for as long as the financial success of a new edition would take me.
3e might rock, or it could suck like D&D 4th edition. What I will be excited for is the vast amounts of brilliant fans of this game that will shred through any new mechanics and have a conversion for v2 or v1 for any new supplements/adventures/splat books that are released under the 3rd edition binding. FFG can no more kill 2nd edition than Green Ronin killed 1st edition. This game was essentially built and maintained on the shoulders of the rabid fans of this game world.
I have grown into the 2nd edition rules and will probably while away my years GM'ing that system with personal or other fan conversions of any substantive new material. I might even take a few forays into any new edition and have a freaking blast doing so with a casual group....even if it does become a board game with a top hat, a race car and a model of tzeench to choose from.
Anyone that thinks a new revitalized printing of WFRP material will kill their hobby are lazy gamers and I won't shed one tear at seeing them go. They were either fair-weather fans or reproductive cells back when roleplaying was limping into some semblance of an organized hobby anyway. If FFG intends to release a new edition every few years then I will continue playing my version of choice and converting new material up or down as I need it.
No one can take WFRP from me. My players will always know that when we saddle up to play WFRP that they are probably going to die ingloriously of the pox in some sweltering hell hole while the villains drink wine and draw mustaches on icons of Sigmar.
Oddly enough, I fit many of the categories that the original topic starter lists, but even though I may be in the target group, the product doesn't appeal to me because
It's not easily transportable from what I've seen
Requires MORE stuff than I can easily carry and transport to other locations
Is too costly
I think that ties directly into the RPG things now as well. From what I can see, RPGs are more popular now amongst ADULTS than ever before, but are far less popular amongst teens. If they were nerds before in the 90s, they are FAR more considered that way now. Furthermore, with all the stuff that they need, it makes them stick out like a sore thumb. Do you really think a game like this is one that they are easily going to carry to the lunch cafeteria to play during lunch, or even if they do manage to carry it to school minus ALL their books, do you really think they are going to be thrilled with setting it up on the lunch table whilst everyone else laughs?
The trends in the RPG industry isn't one of a healthy industry from what I see, but the trends of people trying to MAKE trends, instead of actually develop them from what teens or young adults really want. Kids ARE into video games, and as such really enjoy playing them. Video games are flashy, but they also don't treat kids like idiots. Kids don't like people treating them like junior level, they like being treated like every other customer. Video games don't differentiate, a game of Halo will be just as punishing from a kid as from an adult. Kid's don't like being tailored too, they like to do what everyone else does. This is where some of the stuff looses it's luster. Don't cater to a kid by thinking it's the flash that attracts them, it's not really the flash, it's the even footing, the ability that a game challenges their mind, their abilities and their skills, and that they can get better with practice (at least in many fps games and action games) to become better then others, kids and adults alike.
So, to make a successful RPG, you need something that will appeal to adults, I would center on the 18 to 30 aged crowd since they will be the most likely to spend the money. There is a trend towards dark, grim and dirty these days. NOT towards the glorious hero, aka...movies such as the Dark Knight. They WANT heroes, but not heroes that are so gloriously awesome and bright that they outshine the world, but ones that get down and dirty. They want games that are challenging, and push the limits.
How many RPG's actually get anywhere close to this. Now I know many will disagree, but I think the current industry leaders in RPGs tend the MOST (meaning they STILL largely miss the mark) towards these goals whether they realize it or not. However, it's still not enough, and RPG's are more niche amongst teens then ever before.
Amongst adults however, I think it's FAR more popular then it's ever been. That's the base audience for the crowd that already exists. You need to appeal to that crowd, whilst getting the other elements. Remaking a game is not a good idea unless it's somehow going to give you an edge in the other above areas. If it won't, it will only alienate your own base whilst NOT drawing in other customers, or enough to counter the losses.
Then, how is this new WFRP game going to actually appeal to this. From what I can tell, right now I don't feel as if it's going to acheive that appeal, but I could be wrong. We'll see I suppose when it comes out.