It’s not new but as shit like this happens it becomes more apparent: money processors (PayPal, credit cards, etc) are de facto cultural censors, deciding who or what gets to have a voice in the agora of the marketplace, regardless of the market forces (supply, demand) seeking to provide works to an audience. If you’re not allowed to sell it then you can’t buy it. As these “providers” of revenue exchange become increasingly monolithic they will continue to exert their own choices over the desires of the marketplace. Can this be regulated? Can equally ubiquitous and frictionless alternatives coexist with the monolithic “deciders” of what is “allowed” as cultural expression? We see the same bullshit happening with outfits like Patreon who, eager to please their latest raft of investors, are equally influenced to suppress or deny the existence of any material or creators who fall outside the bounds of “approved content.”
This and when they receive their statement they will claim that “it couldn’t have been me” to their significant other and issue a chargeback.
Chargebacks are protections you have when you use a credit card versus cash/check. If you receive shoddy product, no product, poor service, etc. and the company is unwilling to work with you, you have the ability to chargeback the purchase. The money is withdrawn from the merchant’s account, held by the processor, and the merchant must show documentation (and pay another fee) to show that they are in the right.
Regardless if the merchant wins the case or not they get charged fees just for receiving the chargeback. So some merchants may not have much advantage to fighting a chargeback if the amount is below the fees it costs them.
Because it’s usually a choose your own adventure game, at least the ones I have seen. Take the common sim dating game, you have to figure out what choices get the right branches to get the person you want at the end. A lot of visual novels are the same with whatever the plot is - even the porn ones get pretty famous for their stories like the Fate/Stay series that has full (non-porn) anime productions and such. It’s just a cheap independent somewhat interactive media, just like walking simulators.
I don’t get it, but some people eat that stuff up. And some get pretty crazy complex and deep like The Letter which is a terrible story but the complexity of the interactions makes it have a following.
For everyone talking about chargebacks, keep in mind that Steam has a refunds policy that allows you to refund anything you buy on their storefront so long as it’s within two weeks of purchase and with less than two hours of playtime.
The scenarios envisioned above of being surprised by adult content or being satiated or regretful after the game has served its purpose all still stand, but there’s not even a need to get paypal the bank or a credit card company involved at all.
My understanding is that many of the processors are technically in violation of many monopoly laws, etc. They provide a vital service, so they regularly get exemptions, but this means that their existence depends on government fiat. The government doesn’t have to take action to destroy them, it has to take action to not destroy them.
This leaves the payment processors in a tricky position - their existence depends on pleasing the government, which leads to the usual case of trying to guess what the government wants, and doing it.
It’s a tricky situation to be in (“Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?”, etc.), but I’m not certain it’s worse than having the payment processors feel secure enough in their power that they feel they can dictate policy to the government, which is a pretty natural situation for companies as powerful as the card processors.