it was a natural by-product of using yo-yo’s with ball bearings. one of the initial criticisms of the sb-2 was that it lost response quickly. with plastics in the late 90’s, you had yo-yo’s like the team losi cherry bomb and yomega raiders which would become far less predictable in response as the bearings broke in and (especially in the case of the cherry bomb) as the plastic starbursts wore down. as people started to make the move to heavier superyo renegades, they started to have the same issues, amplified to the point of requiring a bind as the yo-yo broke in. binds had been around for awhile (jon gates had been doing them to bring offstring yo-yo’s back since 96?) but never to the extent that they were necessary to bring a production yo-yo back on every throw.
players like the spindox (paul escolar, longorias, spencer berry) famously experimented with broken-in renegades and were able to push the limits of 1a into uncharted territory. whips, slack, lacerations, and suicides are all possible with responsive yo-yo’s, but they’re easier to master with a yo-yo that won’t jump up and bite you. similarly, players seeking the elusive perfect break-in point of the original duncan freehand stickers used takeshi’s recess mod to make their throws unresponsive. until the mid-2000s though, the majority of manufacturers still needed their releases to appeal to players who wanted tug-response, so few if any yo-yo’s came unresponsive out of the box. the yoyojam hitman (and contemporary yoyojams) still shipped responsive, but broke in quickly, and jd’s freestyles pushed a lot of players to make the jump to all-bind, all-the-time.
like someone said, a lot of players (like me) still really enjoy playing with response. people who say you can’t hit technical tricks on responsive yo-yo’s are just lazy and uninformed. however, unresponsive yo-yo’s have definitely improved the learning curve for new players and longer, more technical combos.