Okay, I'm very definitely breaking my self-imposed three-posts-per-day limit. I'm just catching up with Terra Nova, and they had a recent article on economics.
For people who can dance with the jargon, it's actually quite a good little post. A few things struck me. Most notable is the comment "But what if a game was too easy? Then people would actually buy things that make the game harder. Or, at least, that's how the potential market would work. That market never appears, though. People quit easy games. Only in hard games do they stay and use markets to adjust game conditions. Not sure why."
I can tell you why. Because you never CATCH THE PLAYER'S INTEREST. Easy games flunk the pattern adaptation control test. They never make the player work, so there's no reward for playing. The only easy games that work are ones which offer OTHER rewards, such as a detailed storyline or PORN.
Hard games, on the other hand, give out rewards with every hard-earned success.
Think about it like this: every game is an economy. If all the players have unlimited resources (no challenge), then those resources hyperinflate until they're not worth having. Only when the resources are (A) limited and (B) of value are they worth having.
Edit: Hrm, decided not to trackback-ping Terra Nova. There is as much in this post which damns me as there is which is of use. :P