As many people might be aware of, the cost of the $20 gift card has gone up to a whopping 7000 xper points. It seems this has upset quite a few people. Although it is rather dissapointing, from a business perspective it makes sense and we should've expected this coming a long time ago
Okay, so why do i say it makes sense? I'll give an example, since this is the only way i can really explain it.
So, who's played league of legends? When LoL was fairly new, Riot games (creators/owners) was a very friendly company (not that they aren't friendly anymore). Did everything expected out of a company, and they even went the extra mile. I remember one point when the game crashed for a day, and they gave EVERYONE that attempted to play like $20 (20$ worth of in game currency) for free. They'd do things like this ALL the time, constantly giving to the community.
However, over the years, and as they've grown, things like this have stopped completely. The price of EVERYTHING in game has gone up drastically. The characters you would buy, used to cost anymore from like .50 cents to 10 dollars. Now days, every character costs $10 if you want to purchase them with real money. Back in the day, since the game basically got spread via word of mouth, Riot NEEDED to do these things to build a customer base. They NEEDED to go that extra mile for the players, until they had a good foundation under them.
I'll give another example.
I've been going to a gaming forum for as long as I've been in like 6th grade. Back then, it was a fairly new forum.
This forum was like a "central hub" for just about any game you could think of online. This forum, had it's own currency assosiated with the forum. You would trade your In game items for the currency, and then you'd trade the currency for other items, or for items from another game. At the start, there were two ways to aquire this currency. you either buy it, or you'd like 1/4 of a unit for every post you made. Once the site took off, and actually became the trading website it is today, the amount you'd get for posting was taken away and the only way to get it was to buy it or trade for it.
Alright, so now lets rewind two years. I had just joined Gag fairly recently, and the $20 gift cards were only like 3000 points. I'm just going off a terrible memory, but i believe back then the website wasn't anywhere near as large as it is today. I think it was a fairly new website, not much more than a year or two old. Since this is a fairly niche forum, the owner likely felt that they needed to do this for it to continue to grow. This website has grown a lot since then. Giving out the cards is no longer a necessity to helping maintain the growth of the site, and they've been made harder and harder to get as a result. I wouldn't be surprised if they end up at 10k next year or even not an option.
This situation is also rather different than the two i gave above. In the two i gave, this is a virtual currency that the owners just make out of thin air. Here, we have someone (i believe anyone) that has a deal with amazon and is actually shelling out money to pay for these cards.