Then at one point (probably about 0.5 seconds after they decided to create an expansion in the first place), they hit upon the idea of re-releasing the game bundled with all of its expansions. Sometimes they might even throw in an extra new bonus or two, like a band’s “Best Of” album, for the gold / platinum / collector’s edition. New players, after hearing praise for the game for months (or years), could jump in on the bundle deal, and even some veteran players would re-purchase the game with all updates and patches pre-applied, and all the expansions in place.
That era’s not gone by a longshot, but the advent of downloadable content (DLC) sure has changed things a bit. Although DLC often still gets bundled up into a single expansion or deluxe edition (which I hope to see happen with Fallout: New Vegas on the PC), it does seem that the expansion concept has been cranked up to eleven. I have nothing against the theory, but I have found myself taking exception with the particulars that seem common.