Modulus and N-Strike then, on the surface, are very similar... and I had a hard time trying to figure out what the point was. The ECS-10 is a beefier Stryfe. The Recon Mk II is a reworked Recon/Retaliator. The Ion Fire is a Sharp Shot with a tactical rail. Where these lines differ (aside from the obvious coloration changes) is how they're marketed. Where N-Strike and N-Strike Elite have the option for accessories, the emphasis has been on the blaster itself. Yes, there have been a few accessories released on their own, but for the most part, you buy the blaster and you're done. Modulus is pretty much aimed at that same market, BUT now they can buy accessory upgrades to suit how they want the blaster to look from the start.
Look at it this way. When other lines have made their debut, there have been several blasters along with it. The Vortex release is a good example, boasting four different sized blasters from the start. The Modulus lineup started with ONE blaster and a plethora of accessories from the start. Right out of the gates, Modulus boasted over 1,000 combinations with their initial release for the ECS-10. To some, that means WAY more variety in what they can do to build up their blaster.
The marketing itself is much more clever with this. Much like the rest of the spin-off lineups with Rebelle, ZombieStrike, Doomlands, they usually take a blaster design that already works and just put it in a fancy shell. Different colors, different designs, same guts. Those who are completionists... those who are OCD about their stuff matching, they draw on that to get you to buy the same Stryfe twice (or three or four times). But then there's a step further with this "Buy More of the Same" pitch. Not only do you have to buy the new colors and designs, but there's a whole world of accessories that you can buy to outfit your blaster the way you want. They're bundled, so you still sort of have to mix and match if you want something specific, but I bet Nerf plans on making more money off all the accessories you can add to Modulus, N-Strike, Rebelle, N-Strike Elite, ZombieStrike, the list goes on. It's all compatible with their existing blasters anyways.
So where is Modulus headed then? It could replace the N-Strike Elite lineup on shelves as the new mainstay "tacticool" lineup. The combinations, the availability, this really has the potential to be bigger than the beloved N-Strike lineup. In fact, I sort of made the mistake of thinking that Modulus was it's own thing until I noticed the "N-Strike" logo at the top, so it's more of a continuation of the N-Strike lineup than a replacement. It's simply going from N-Strike to N-Strike Elite to N-Strike Modulus (from the looks of it). With fewer blasters and more accessories, there's plenty of room for expansion. For the small majority, and I was in this minority when the Modulus lineup came out, it really just seemed like the reshell game with a different brand and extra accessories. Many fans don't realize how far the customizing game is going for Modulus. They've moved this from the shelf to the site with Amazon. You can literally build your blaster from the ground up instead of going to the store and being limited by what is packaged together or what is available. It's really a game changer for Nerf.
But for most Nerf fans, Modulus is a whole new realm of fun with customizing blasters. With more blasters planned and the lineup seemingly doing well, it's not going away anytime soon. I don't mean to play crystal ball, but I think it's safe to say that Modulus is poised to take the top spot for the shelf.