I think you're being extraordinarily harsh, tbh Macsen. The each patch has been a sizable improvement on the previous one. While the 'headline' features often seem a bit meh, or a little out of left field (3D printing being the obvious culprit here - it strikes me as a side-project one of the programmers had been doing on their lunch break that management decided was really cool), there's been a great deal of work on background improvements - the game runs noticeably faster under 1.3 compared to 1.2, which was in turn noticeably faster than 1.1; the AI has undergone huge improvements (the actual subroutines rather than the scripts - I think we all know my position on the scripts by now); and in general, the patching process has been very positive. The fact that 1.4 is concentrating so heavily on AI and diplo also shows SD are reacting to our feedback - bearing in mind that scheduling means we should expect to wait 2-3 months for SD to visibly react to specific feedback.
That said, there's a couple of things that should be mentioned.
Firstly, while I understand SD has to concentrate it's efforts on things that will effect the most possible players, I do wonder if those 50% who never go over a small map, or the 90% who never play over Normal, are really the ones who are going to be buying new DLC for this game in a year, two years, five years time. This isn't just SD I'm thinking of - the numbers Brad is giving out here are fairly typical metrics for the genre and if you go talk to Paradox or Firaxis then you'll be told much the same thing by them (in fact, I'v ehad this exact conversation with one of the guys at Paradox). But I suspect that, if they check back in 18 months or so, they'd find those metrics substantially changed. Not only is the total number of players going to be waaaaaaay smaller, but those who are still playing will tend to be of the hardcore fringe, playing larger maps, on higher difficulties, with more DLC, and often modded. These are the players who have a real stake in the game's ongoing development. Not the guys who buy the game and expect to 50 hours of play time out of it before they wander off onto the next thing. This makes me wonder whether the strategy of concentrating on the casual players is actually genuinely better, from a business point of view.
Secondly, I'm getting the feeling that actually, the game might benefit from less patches. The release schedule that SD have set themselves is extremely punishing. We're getting a new DLC and patch EVERY MONTH. Macsen, you mention Paradox - PI's DLC and patching schedule runs on quarters. They have 3 months between DLC and major patches. SD has like a week between minor patches and only 4 weeks to build, test and release full iterations of the game. This has a noticeable impact on the quality of the patches; there's been old bugs slipping back into the code (the end turn bug, for example, was basically eliminated in 1.1 and returned in 1.2); stuff is slipping in without proper testing (the Best Defense problem from 1.1). I suspect that, actually, the game might benefit from SD easing off on this schedule a little.