Innova and Discraft both know how to make a killer run in dream plastic...when they want to do so. For example, look at the difference in quality between 1st run, CE, and (some) CFR runs, vs. the regular production discs. I have a 1st run star TeeDevil that has the best star plastic I've ever experienced, but I know for sure that they put the special effort into the 1st run, and that the 2nd, 3rd, etc., will never be the same.
Same goes for Discraft: I could tell many stories about the insane inconsistencies for DC. I have a 1st run Stalker (blue pearly, a lot like old Innova pearly CE) that beats the crap out of any other Stalker I've ever thrown. I found one recent Z Stalker that is also nice, and was hoping it would be a good back-up, but after throwing it a few times I've noticed that the disc has micro-cracks in the rim and that the rim might eventually break off the disc! This is a major flaw...DC shouldn't even be selling these, but they still let them out the factory door and onto store shelves. And the Buzzz (arguably DC's best disc) is all over the place. I've had over-stable ones, stable ones, and under-stable ones (out of the box) in the same Z plastic. They beat in differently every time, had slightly different glide characteristics, etc.. Perhaps the Titanium Discraft plastic will put an end to this madness? If the track record is anything to go by, then probably not.
So, they keep making more molds. They're betting on sales driven by curiosity, rather than reliability. A production mold costs something like $10K to make. I'm not sure how much they make on every disc, after overhead costs (facilities, labor, electricity, supplies, marketing, etc.), but it can't be more than a few dollars apiece. But after selling their first several thousand, they've recouped the expense of making a new mold, and the rest is profit.
In any case, the business models will probably change in the near future, since there is so much new competition in the market, and that is going to force disc manufacturers to think outside-the-box if they want to maintain a good market share. It would be smart for established companies like Innova to push the frontier, and start to produce the best versions of their best molds in the best plastics with uber-consistency. They have to experiment to get the right formula, but once they get it, don't change a thing! They would probably have another name for this line of plastics, and these would become their flagship production runs.
The Ricos started Legacy in part because they were tired of waiting for the big manufacturers to make the kinds of discs that players were seeking, with a range of high quality plastics. I think they're already headed in the right direction from the start, and after they get a larger line-up of core discs, they'll be very strong. I like that they're taking their time to develop the molds very carefully, to get it right the first time.
Anyways, we'll see what the future brings...in the future.
Drivers: Starlite Wraith (158g), Gummy Champion Leopard (150g), 1st Run Z-Talon (150g)
Mid-Range: Star Classic Roc (146g), R-Pro Roc (157g)
Putt/Approach: Legacy Protege Clozer (158g), Glow DX Aviar (150g)