I mean, this is the Big Tobacco and Casino argument, and there’s a reason why it sounds good but people still protest it. It’s also used by abusers, “You’d leave if you didn’t love me.”
Suppose I sell snake-oil health supplement pills that are actually baking soda in a capsule. I say they can cure COVID-19. Normal people are going to be suspicious about some rando calling them about a miracle cure. So I use my sources to get a list of people who are mentally disabled and a list of people who are elderly. They’re my targets. I clean them out. If they say no, I call back. They usually don’t remember we’ve already talked, and eventually they buy.
Is it their fault for being suckers, or do you feel a tinge of agitation that I decided specifically to exploit people who can’t possibly know better?
That’s how big tobacco got its butt kicked in America. They paid to suppress research into the effects of their products after finding out they were dangerous. They also intentionally added chemicals to make their products more addictive. That, in the eyes of the court, made them “predatory”, not “good businessmen”. They were deemed harmful to the society and regulated.
That’s why the casino industry is sleazy. The argument is that they prey on people with addiction disorders. Their counter is “that’s only 1% to 2% of the population”. But note 100% of the population doesn’t go to casinos. It turns out if you just count people who go to casinos, there are a lot more addicts than they let on. As much as 52% of their revenue depends on addicts. So it’s arguable they’d go out of business if it wasn’t for addicts. That builds a case for “a company that preys on people who can’t make rational choices”.
F2P games operate a lot like the casino industry, but aren’t even close to as heavily regulated. The same argument sits: I think they can only thrive in an environment where they are allowed to specifically target addicts. This does real harm to society, and that tends to be our ruler for whether we want to regulate or restrict something.
Now, if at the end of the day, you might decide you don’t care and that addicts are responsible for themselves. That says a lot about your character, so don’t be upset if people draw conclusions based on it.
Also, side point:
Since “morality” tends to use some system of laws to determine what is right or wrong, it’s generally not productive to argue morals. Morality is an arena where someone can justifiably use The Bible or some other holy text as their basis. You can’t use logic to argue morality, and you can’t actually solve disagreements about morality without making someone change their beliefs.
“Ethics” is the arena where that’s not allowed, it is a logical examination of right and wrong. Holy texts and other things based on tradition are disqualified. You can, in theory, solve ethical disagreements by listing things that are “good”, providing a logical basis for them, then explaining how that set of good things makes your view “good”. Unfortunately, dilemmas exist where there can be multiple logically sound arguments that support mutually exclusive conclusions.
That tends to be why people turn to morality: it shifts the blame away from the person making the choice and onto God or some other arbitrary system. “I am entitled to take this senile man’s retirement fund because my beliefs do not consider a disabled person unqualified to make important decisions.”
So I stand firm that the deals in question are at least “shady” from an ethical standpoint. GoW, like a casino, builds its mechanics around addiction. This is not by accident, and the devs know what they’re doing. Ethically speaking I think they are obligated to implement measures that prevent people from draining a bank account, and the good that creates is more important than the “harm” of removing a person’s freedom to buy $13k in gems for some reason.
I don’t care much to argue those points. I cannot be convinced it’s ethically correct to use a person’s disability as a shield for bad behavior. Even saying, “people should use due diligence” is admitting you think the deal is a swindle. I’m not entertaining arguments that there is a “good” swindler.
But morally speaking, depending on which system we choose to follow, they’re either sinners or saints.