Gameplay vs. Monetization
As you guys may already know, I work for a game monetization platform. I've heard from a number of people here that one of their biggest complaints with freemium monetization is that it ruins gameplay.
With advertising, there's really no good place to put it in the game that doesn't disrupt the user in some way, whether it's an annoying ad in Angry Birds or a full page interstitial popup between turns.
This is what leads lots of people to do virtual currency-based models. But even those models can mess with gameplay, especially when the game is selling the most useful items: stat bonuses, equipment, consumable items, and energy refills. These items can change gameplay balance and make non-paying players frustrated.
But on the flip side, you've got to make money. I mean, not just "oh I have to keep the lights on", but if you make a great game you should be rewarded.
On the one side is making beloved free apps and not getting a penny for it, while on the other side is using predatory monetization practices that net you money but little love (and may leave you with a general sadness inside :P).
So my question to you guys is where do you draw the line between monetization and gameplay? Do you think there are acceptable sacrifices to gameplay if they yield significant revenue? If not, what do you do to still make your games business possible?