Winner: Cash for cheats
Tony Soprano called it the Executive Game: get them playing, then bleed them slowly over time. It's the same tactic credit card companies use to keep you permanently in debt, and thanks to Xbox Live Marketplace, game publishers can now play too. 2006 saw the rise of the microtransaction, and with it the nefarious practice of charging real money for cheats and unlockables.
Proponents of the money-for-cheats racket insist that they're simply giving players more freedom to choose, but that's corporate doublespeak. What they meant to say is that they now have the freedom to nickel and dime their loyal fans to death by withholding features that were previously included without a second thought.
Leading the charge is third-party juggernaut Electronic Arts, who had the balls to actually remove the money cheat from the 360 version of The Godfather, punishing next-gen console owners with an additional tax. Other popular EA games on the 360, such as Need for Speed: Carbon and Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 have suffered similar fates. Cheats are a part of gaming tradition, and shouldn't be turned into a revenue stream by greedy executives. On behalf of game-lovers everywhere, we hereby return the one-finger salute to EA.
Collateral Damage: Lumines Live!
Microsoft | Xbox 360
When we heard that the most addictive puzzle game of the last five years was heading to Xbox Live Arcade, we were stoked. It starts at $14.99, which isn't too bad. Then add in another $7.50 for the Advance Pack. And - oh yeah - three more packs are "coming soon." Is this thing eventually going to cost $59.99?