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This is a sad truth, really miss the days of the Everquest and WOW pay plans where it was one payment a month and you knew what you were getting and you didn't pay again until a major release of content came out and then you paid your $25 to $50 expansion fee and possibly got a free month. It was so much easier and no guess work.
But the thing is those games helped spawn the whole "buy items for cash".
I always saw news on Everquest where they were talking about people selling items on e-bay. So there has always been a segment of the population who were willing to purchase items/services. And companies were constantly combatting this, spending money to stop it.
I suppose they woke up one day and realized that they were spending money to stop people from doing something that they were going to do anyway AND other companies would make money off their efforts.
So they decided they would rather make money off their work if there was a market for it.