As I write this, I'm reminded of something a professor of mine once told me. I don't believe the man had ever touched a video game but I feel as if he would have understood the business quite well. He said, "Anybody can sell a cow. The trick is to sell the cow's milk to the person you just sold the cow to." A simple yet poignant statement which, years later, I would never have thought it would be applicable to my favorite hobby, gaming.
Remember cheat codes? You gained levels, loot and buffs... all with the press of a secret code. Back in the old days of NES, I wouldn't have made it very far in some of those games without them. Over time we've seen a shift in direction towards making games, thankfully, more accessible to everyone. The funny thing though, we're beginning to see cheat codes on the rise again... except now you pay for them and they're called Microtransactions. The sad thing? Watching somewhat intelligent adults condone the practice.
There are varying degrees of this "business model". You have the standard Free-to-Play Microtransactions. These are usually the most horrific, often involving downloading a game that turns out to be an extended demo until you pay ridiculous amounts of money.
You have the Buy-to-Play Microtransactions, possibly most famous in Guild Wars 2. These are often underplayed in the media for some reason. You still buy cheats involving leveling buffs and ingame currency in which you can then manipulate the markets. I find it amusing how much more difficult it is to obtain crafting resources in Buy-to-Play video games. What would take an hour in another game, often takes 6 in a game like Guild Wars 2.
But it's not just multiplayer games. Take Dead Space 3, for example. You can buy ingame resources with Real World Money. Gee, I wonder if EA may have made gaining these resources more difficult to obtain so more people would buy them? Actually, I don't have to wonder. It's funny that so many people were up in arms about this specific example of Microtransactions, when so many others fly under the radar.
It may be because EA has championed Microtransactions to such a degree that even the naysayers are finally getting annoyed. After all, when somebody purchases a full game - they expect a full game. Not a trap designed to get you to spend more money. One of the things that bugged me about Mass Effect 3 (Yes, OTHER than the ending *grumbles*) was how the multiplayer was handled. Oh sure, you could earn loot boxes by playing the game normally... but for a few bucks you could shave HOURS off of your playtime in order to get a shot at much desired upgrades.
I guess the point I'm trying to get across (and honestly, I just feel like venting) is that Microtransactions come with baggage. When a developer puts something up for sale that can also be earned by playing their game - you have to ask yourself, "then why put it up for sale"? The answer is the most obvious one: Because it's otherwise a pain in the ass to obtain. If it hadn't been put up for sale, would it still have taken so long to get? I fully believe the answer is no. Developers are making their games worse, all because of their Greed.
It's not all doom and gloom. Kickstarter has proven that there's some amazingly talented people out there that still care about making great games. It's obvious what they're passionate about and it doesn't involve nickle-and-diming their fans. They're in the business of making games... not the business of greed.