Money grab? I’m perpetually gobsmacked by the expectation RPGers have that game companies who want to have a healthy profit margin are greedy. I encountered similar attitudes while working for a not-for-profit (note: “not-for-profit” is not “no profit”).
With the shining example of TSR at hand, it’s obvious how not to run a game company. RPG history is littered with scads of examples of that (e.g., Chaosium, Palladium, …). WotC has hit upon a sales strategy that works – selling high-end, hardback products. In fact, it’s been emulated by some of the other RPG companies that seem to be doing well now (e.g., White Wolf, Mongoose).
And it is not as though they’re coming out with 4th edition solely for nefarious WotC employees to roll around in $20 bills while twirling their moustaches and cackling. They’re trying to employ people – and WotC employs a lot of people for an RPG company. They’ve got a bottom line they have to meet. Just like any other business.
This is good business, and a good move for WotC, and so a good move for D&D. Gamers who are shocked and offended that they’re expected to pay money for their games still have all their older D&D books (Chainmail, D&D, AD&D, 3.0, 3.5) to use. They’re not shiny-new, but I can vouch that they still work as well as they ever did.
As for the design need for a new version of D&D: yes. As 3.5 continued, it became more and more obvious that there were some serious design flaws that weren’t amenable to quick fixes. The polymorph spells and Wild Shape. The power gap that non-casters suffer at higher levels. “Dead” character levels in classes like the Fighter. Unexpected consequences from mixing options out of different suppliments (e.g., the Pun-Pun problem, Night Stick optimization builds).
Also, from what I’ve heard of Star Wars Saga, everyone is quite happy with the design concepts used therein, and it seems likely that’s the direction 4.0 will be going.