This is for all the folks out there trying to beat down rightful criticism of predatory and harmful monetization with "But the game is free!"
Imagine a beloved bakery declares anyone gets free pie if they come to the bakery from now on. You show up, you sit down, the baker greets you, then goes in the back to finish whipping you up a fresh pie- for free! Finally the baker comes out and puts a plate in front of you. On the plate is a small pile of hot, sweet, sticky goop: it’s the pie filling. “Where’s the crust?” you might rightfully ask. This bakery is even known for it’s robust, delicious pie crust, after all- they even advertise it! The banner still hangs outside, even. What’s more, is that the crust was clearly on the pie at one point, but has since been removed. The baker then informs you that if you want crust on your pie, you need to pay. Someone next to you has cash on them so they offer to buy the rest of their own pie slice. The baker gives them one bite’s worth of crust. That customer looks disappointed, but starts eating anyway.
You might then say to the baker “If I go to my job, and give you multiple hours’ worth of my wages, may I have a slice of pie, with the full crust- not just one bite?.” The baker doesn’t even bother to say “no”; just ignores you and walks off to serve single bites of crust to those willing to pay. Suddenly you realize that this is the bakery forever now. You can never have a full pie slice again. You fear this bakery- or at least the full product of it which you once loved- is doomed, and try to utter a response. Then someone chastises you for daring to criticize “free pie”.
Fans of pie stop coming, because there is no pie here, only filling. Non-pie fans move on to other free restaurants because that’s a thing now, and they offer more than just pie filling with buyable crust.
They could sell us milk and whipped cream, without witholding the crust; and still make money!