I have to say, it sounds like it. It sounds like they’re monetizing the crap out of the game, and not in a good way, but in the “pay for anything, including a high score way.”
I’ve only just heard about this, but my first impressions are the game is a bit of an experiment/overindulgence in the free-to-play/more-you-pay strategy that’s way, way out of hand. I’m not surprised – some people are going to take advantage of the model. I’m concerned about how this plays in modern media.
Of course we know that even if this “isn’t it,” some egregious, bizarre variant of the Freemimum/Pay-to-play monetization model(s) is coming. That variant will be so annoying, it will get a lot of publicity. At that point, predictably, many will question the model.
The model in question is just that – a model. How you use it is the real question, but I’m suspicious in the world of freemium and other different monetization models, mixing up the application and the model is a risk. In a 25/8 news cycle, things move fast, including predictions of demise of something (ask Twitter), and the brave new world of new monetization can be called into question in an instant, leaving us to sort out the reality from the bull.
So this story doesn’t surprise me. But I’mm waiting for the inevitable “freemium/whatever-method is evil” news fest that I feel is likely.