So why have game companies adopted this sort of shit, even though their market research tells them that their customers hate it? Blame Wall Street. It's no coincidence that publicly traded companies like EA and Activision are the pioneers of this garbage, and privately-held Valve refuses to participate (see their longstanding refusal to charge for DLC on the Xbox, for example). Valve knows that in the long-run, angering their customers will result in fewer gamers and a declining industry. Are EA and Activision too retarded to realize this? No! But their executives are under pressure to deliver results every single quarter. If you didn't know this, video games are only profitable for one quarter a year, around Christmas.
The dream of the suits has always been to find a way to generate more consistent streams of revenue, so that rather than losing money for 3 quarters, you make money for all 4. Track the rise of subscription-based MMOs, charging for DLC, in-game-ads and Xbox Live, it coincides nicely with Wall Street putting greater and greater pressure for game companies to deliver consistent results. As a result, more and more gamers become disillusioned with the medium, shrinking the customer pool more and more, causing the suits to demand even GREATER ways to wring hard-earned cash out of their customers. All because the fuckers on Wall Street (whose genius caused our current recession) are too stupid to realize that a business that makes enough money one quarter a year while pleasing its customers is better than one that makes money four quarters a year while pissing them off.
Is it any coincidence that two of the most profitable and successful PC game developers are privately-held Valve, and famously-insulated-from-the-suits Blizzard? The assholes who control the money used to finance games are just as good at running game companies as they are at buying mortgages.
People hail Steve Jobs as a genius -- but the only advantage Apple has is the same advantage that Valve has. They realize that the best business strategy is the one that's worked since the beginning of capitalism: Please your customers. There's no future in Wall Street's current infatuation with predatory capitalism.