I guess it depends on what your goals are.
Arguably, organized crime could make money by just killing shopkeepers and taking the till. But at some point they realized they could make MORE money by threatening them with death or violence and getting regular payments for "protection". It's recurring money versus one-time money and has a lot less blowback than dead bodies.
Botnets and remote control of PCs are of more value for crime and intelligence gathering than bricking, so if your goal is long-term value is money or intelligence, then remote-control viruses that let you harvest information are more valuable.
PC viruses seemed to have evolved in the same way -- a lot of the early ones were stupid and malicious, deleting files, corrupting the OS and rendering it unusable. The more contemporary ones mostly strive for stealth and keeping the computer running so that information of value can be continuously harvested.
But it's certainly not hard to imagine a scenario where the group responsible has a different goal and bricking PCs is the desired outcome. And maybe it was meant to be a sleeper virus that was only activated under specific circumstances.
I'm not defending the NSA, either, the story seems implausible because it seems to me that if mass-bricking BIOSes was achievable, someone would have done it by now, either state-sponsored (Israel, Iran, etc) or on a rogue basis. I think there have been some BIOS bricking viruses, but they haven't gotten very far for whatever the reason.