What we're seeing is that there is now an 'evergreen' design for a lot of Transformers characters - like a product design bible if you will. Those designs, apparently by Emiliano Santalucia, are being used to inform the design of the toy ranges, so we're seeing a version produced as the ultra cheap thrift store 'authentics' line, but they're also being used as the basis for the designs seen in the 'Cyberverse' toyline and cartoon - the next price point up.
The question now is whether these will also inform the look of the Generations figures, albeit with Cybertronian rather than Earth alt modes. In fact if you look at Santalucia's Starscream - it's pretty close to the PotP one.
It's like Hasbro have decided to create a new Transformers Universe which unites the look of the characters across everything they appear on - lunchboxes, pencil cases, etc. I think they're just trying to draw all the designs together.
So does that mean that three lines now use the same designs?
-Authentics -Cyberverse -Cyberseries/battalion
Lots of room for consumer confusion.
I think it's a good idea. Doesn't matter if there's confusion if the designs are all the same.
I mean at the moment, as much as it's nice to have classic G1 stuff, you have on the shelf G1 Optimus Prime, Movie Optimus Prime and Robots in Disguise Optimus Prime, which means parents buying their kid an Optimus Prime is treading a minefield because it might be the wrong one!
Maybe it's just me, but I still think there's too much chaff. One step changers, three step changers, crash combiners. I'd swear up and down based on observation that this stuff does not sell, and only muddies the water for adults looking for what their kid asks for... but if that were true, hasbro would stop making it.