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2. These Portal 2 items cost too much.

I agree with this one. I certainly wouldn't buy them at these prices. (Of course, I think games themselves cost too much, but that's another column.) I certainly wouldn't pay five bucks for a hat to wear in Portal 2. Not when the multiplayer portion of the game is only about five hours long. Still, I accept that other people would, and I'm happy for them.

3. It's wrong to sell virtual items. These items exist only to get more money from players.

As opposed to the rest of the game? The hats in Portal 2 aren't any more or less real than the portal gun itself, and both were made for the purposes of making money.

4. Day 1 DLC is wrong, because it means the developers diverted resources from making the core game to making knickknacks to sell. They could have spent that time just making the game better!

The art pipeline in a game is a complex thing. It's not like you can take a couple of character artists and have them start writing code when they're done making all the characters. The voice actors can't hammer out texture maps once they're done recording their lines. Not everyone is going to finish their assets at exactly the same time. There will always be a few idle people here and there, and this problem gets worse as game budgets get bigger and the production disciplines become increasingly specialized.

In any case, this argument that they diverted resources from the game only makes sense if you imagine that you're somehow entitled to all of the work a company does, or that your sixty dollars (plus one healthy human infant, if you're Australian) gives you the right to tell a company what they can do with their time.

4. I don't mind when indies charge money for in-game items, because I like supporting the little guy. But I don't like paying for another diving board on Gabe Newel's diamond-encrusted swimming pool of money.

So, you're perfectly happy with the game, but you're unhappy because you don't like how the profits are spent?

You presume to know a great deal about the inner workings of the company. If a company only takes in exactly as much as it needs to keep going, (forgoing all that "extra" money) then just one bad game can put them under. They will never expand. They can never afford to experiment. Any halfway decent manager will tell you that the company needs to have some cash for insuring against mistakes, performing R&D, and taking risks on new markets. Imagine if Valve had just stuck to their Half-Life work and never expanded. No Team Fortress 2. No Portal. No Left 4 Dead. Their "greed" ended up giving us some pretty awesome games.

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