While I really don't think there's anything inherently wrong with free-to-play games, they can definitely be problematic -- especially when a developer places the mental pummeling of customers above gratifying gameplay. This is what has happened with Electronic Arts' Real Racing 3 -- a game that can cost you up to $500 in microtransactions.
Although free to download and play, the iOS/Android game cripples the player at every turn, forcing them to wait to perform actions or otherwise spend real cash and acquire things instantly. For fans of the Real Racing series, the introduction of incredibly obtrusive pay walls has proven controversial.
"First, the game forces you to wait when you upgrade your car," writes Ben Kuchera, in his Penny Arcade review. "The first upgrade I bought for in-game cash took two minutes to install in my car. Or I could pay gold to get the parts instantly. There is no game play reason to make upgrades take time to add to your car; this was done simply to get gold out of the player.
"You can always buy more gold after all. Your car will suffer from wear and tear in the course of normal racing, even if you don’t take much damage, and those repairs also take time. Because the most fun you can have in a game is paying money to end a needless wait."... read more