I understand that they're a profit driven company. I think you're falsely equating good business with game-breaking item mall items. Players are just as much a commodity as money for a company such as Red Fox, and are just as essential to their life-force. Lets create a hypothetical scenario. You have Game One. Game One is an unbalanced MMORPG due to cash shop items. Those cash shop items are a very popular purchase because it is necessary to have one to play the game enjoyably. They have a small but loyal community (200 people), but the average spending per person is high, say around $60 per month. Game One's community is in decline, due to requiring a high amount of $$ to be spent, and the imbalances that brings to the game. New players quickly give up after realizing this too (low player retention). You have Game Two. Game Two is a balanced MMORPG with no unbalancing cash shop items. Cash shop items in Game Two have no effect on the game, but people still spend money because they want to look cool. They have a medium size community (1,000 people), but the average spending per person is a lot lower than Game One, say around $20 a month. Game Two's community is either stable or slowly rising, due to good game mechanics and a happy playerbase (high player retention). Looking at this purely mathematically, you can see that game one earns about $12,000 per month in revenue. Game two earns about $20,000 in revenue per month. This scenario illustrates the importance of more players, and keeping them. With Game One's community on the decline, so will the publishers revenue significantly for each player. With Game Two's community either stable or on the rise, the publisher has much more opportunity to increase their profits. RedFox has a much higher chance of retaining and getting more players if they're selling a fixed, balanced game. World of Warcraft, Guild Wars 1/2, Tera etc didn't make their money off cheap, gamebreaking cash items. They'd lose a lot of their community if they did, and would probably be dead games right now. It's good business to have a good game.