Hi folks -
A couple of thoughts.
First, yes - I could have "my" version of PF by "slicing away" stuff I don't like. The same can be said for people who want sci-fi or Egypt or guns or psionics or epic level play. Anyone can home-mod anything.
I want a variant that Paizo brings to the entire gaming community that makes us all cross-compatible. I like the idea of a store or a DM or a convention saying, "Come play PF. We'll be using the Lite-Narrative rules at some tables, we'll be playing card games at some tables and we'll be using the Core Rules at most tables."
Second, the problem isn't that Pathfinder has grown to have a big math component. This isn't eggheads vs. math-illiterates. The problem is that the math (and the endless book referencing) is slowing down the action to a near-crawl that a lot of us are really chafing at.
The latest Adventure Path basically demands that you have a couple of additional books (or PDFs) open at all times to explain what a crapload of new material does. Check out how many superscript letters pointing to various books there are in any given stat block.
Want an illustration of how this looks in real-time?
I just watched a video of some really great gamers (Dice Stormers - check them out) play through one room in ROTRL where they took down a handful of goblins, including Rip Nugget. With four players and a DM it took 30 minutes to get through a few fairly unexciting rounds of play with low level characters. And before you dismiss them as inexperienced or as having bad table discipline, watch their video on Youtube. It really is worth thinking about -- check out all that book juggling on the part of a really experienced DM. I've been there.
Finally, it's worth pointing out that Paizo will now be competing with at least one extremely well marketed and distributed game (D&D 5) that has the potential to be more streamlined, more narrative, more intuitive and less crunchy than full-iteration PF.
(I'm not sure Numenera will ever achieve wide enough distribution to be a meaningful competitor.)
So...it's just true that gaming climate has now changed. We're not in the 4.0 era anymore when WOTC had basically left the field to Paizo. Going forward, it's not a terrible idea from a community OR a business perspective for Paizo to have a variant product that competes with that kind of product.