Not saying that egosoft pulled off something sinister here, because egosoft has a very good reputation about supporting their products. They have a habit of releasing bug ridden games, Then fixing them almost to perfection afterwards. If anyone remembers the x3 reunion release. it was almost the same situation. It was bug ridden crap in the initial release, but after the patches (and 2 stand alone expansions) the game became quite enjoyable.
The nefarious company's out there count on you NOT researching their products before you buy them, or flat out buying "blind" into it. They rely on name recognition alone to boost initial sales (especially in the case of many horrid sequels to good games). Most of the time they will put out maybe one, or 2 patches then they are done with it. They got your money. They are laughing all the way to the bank.
I am not so sure about rebirth (notice i am still not calling it "X"). I agree it is quite a few steps backwards from X3. I think egosofts "intention" was to recapture what made "X Beyond the Frontier" great. If anyone remembers playing X:BTF That game also focused on a single player ship. The difference (other than the badly dated graphics of X:BTF) Is that you could own autonomous traders in X:BTF. You didnt have to babysit them like in Rebirth. There are a few other design choices if i was in charge i would have rejected. Like the whole highway concept, and Fleet needing to be attached to you by the hip. The idea of Rebirth itself may have looked great on paper. However. It failed miserably in the execution IMO.
Despite that. Like i said before Egosoft has a reputation for fixing their games. They are addressing several of the major design flaws. I would wait a while and see what the next series of patches brings.