This guy gets it.barbzilla said:I can make it incredibly simple (and there are games out there with models that follow this succeeding):
Does your game exploit the player by making them wait, grind, or otherwise waste time vs paying real money? Y/N
Does your game use tactics, items, or stats that can be manipulated by real currency? Y/N
Does your game utilize any form of exclusivity for items or materials useful in game (I.E. not just eye candy) that can only be obtained via real money purchases? Y/N
Does your game offer the real money currency through a vague or otherwise slow to gather in game system to justify its previous transgressions? Y/N
If any of these are Y then you are exploiting your customers. It is really that simple ( although I'm sure I missed some avenues, but those will surely be pointed out shortly).
Although I would argue that there's a place for grinding in some games, and even waiting-based energy systems can be beneficial to gameplay when the design of the game naturally supports it, such as with a game designed to integrate into players' existing facebook habits.
It's when these systems are abused to twist the player's arm that they become unforgivable. Where that line is and where you cross it is subjective, and varies from game to game, but in the case of the most egregious offenders, it's literally painfully obvious. You know when an abusive game is squeezing you.