First of all, there's no conspiracy or secret motive, and while the payout has changed a lot since GTAO started, in which I'm a little saddened by, I severely doubt that is the case for those cards. I will admit balancing an economy makes it more difficult and it's less fun, but fun is also subjective. - What?? There is a conspiracy and obvious motive for cash card sales. Rockstar is a for profit company and no for profit company is willing to sponsor "free development" of a game for the next 5+ years no matter how much money they've made. Business is not a charity. That's like Verizon selling you a cell phone (the GTA 5 game) once and providing you service ("DLC") but not charging you every month.
While it could be argued that Rockstar is pushing us to use them, I don't think Rockstar is depending on those cash cards. For one thing, relying on microtransactions isn't very reliable and forcing people to use them isn't a good business model either. People will buy them, but it isn't a strong finance model. I'd think they'd use cash cards as a financial boost as much as we do in the game, but it's not the be-all end-all for money in the game, in the cases of the developer and the player. - Your first sentence almost contradicts you whole argument. Microtransactions are very reliable. OMG, have you been hiding under a rock for the past 7 years: World of Warcraft, Runescape, Call of Duty down to Angry Birds on your cellphone. It's the strongest business model for games right now and almost every developer is switching over to it. Do your research please!
You could argue about the Whale Shark Card being so expensive, but I don't see many people buying that card, hence it's such a high price. I don't see Rockstar making too much on those cards, I think game sales make up much more than that as not everyone will be playing GTAO, but also not everyone playing GTAO is going to use cash cards.
In regards to price, take the following into consideration: while not everyone buys these, I also doubt Rockstar takes in 100% of the transaction. I'm pretty sure, down in the middle, Sony and Microsoft have to take a percentage of the take per transaction, because it's going through their store system and they are the seller, so it makes sense the seller has to take some of the profit. - They don't which is even a bigger incentive for them to manipulate the economy to sell them! What! Your argument is going down the drain.
As far as making money is concerned, it isn't that difficult in GTAO. Partaking in missions, gang attacks, races, survivals, selling cars, attacking armoured trucks, and robbing stores can easily build up your character's finances in a few hours. Cash cards are not a necessity, as while the payouts have gone down in GTAO, they're not that damaging. People will cry foul at this point and blame cash cards, but if you actually play the game you will find that payouts build up quickly. Remember, even if you start earning pittens, over time it becomes a fortune, especially in GTAO. - Sure given that you have the time. Many of GTA O's players are full time working people which means they don't have the time like everyone else (unemployed persons or kid's who are in school) to grind or invest in the game. Sure they can play for a few hours and make some money, but that's if they have the high level missions that actually pay something decent and even if they make some money that money will be eaten alive by ammo expense, home, clothing, and car purchases, and car upgrades. Sure they can "technically" live on that, but at a desolate level. Wouldn't it be so much easier to just spend a few bucks on cash cards. After all, they have the money. This is the market they are going after bro. They're not going after the person who has all the time in the world.
I will admit that things are horrifically priced in GTAO, but again, the grind helps. I'm beginning to play more missions and survivals due to payout, and it's helping the finances I want to achieve and what I want to spend it on. I may have bought a shark card myself, but I only used one as financial assurance in case my finances sink. - Dude, this whole paragraph completely contradicts your argument. Jesus! How would your finances sink if "it isn't that difficult in GTAO. Partaking in missions, gang attacks, races, survivals, selling cars, attacking armoured trucks, and robbing stores can easily build up your character's finances in a few hours." a quote from your above paragraph. So here you buy a cash card and admit that making money is not that easy as you make it out to be and you have some fears about your finances, enough fear that you were prompted to buy one. Hmm I see.
Finally, remember, we're not being forced to buy cash cards. Cash cards are not a necessity in the game, and you can still earn money. It's gratifying to earn money in GTAO, save, and spend it on something useful, it gives a strong sense of achievement, and can help achieve more things. - Of course you're not forced to buy cash cards, just like you're not forced to buy fast food, or pay a toll to make it to the other side of town faster, or buy the overly priced candy bars or beer from the "convenience" stores. It's all about "convenience," it's the name of the game and BIG business. You just have to make it feasible and make things not so easy to attain (nerfing missions, resetting money EVEN legit money). Ha! Resetting the modded money gave them a reason to reset the legit money that people earned by farming.
Hopefully my point of view has been constructive, and hopefully it's a break of flow from the negativity of cash cards. As aforementioned we're not forced to buy them, but playing the game helps finances, as long as you carry the virtue of patience and you'll soon be sitting on a monolith of the mighty dollar. - Being a break of flow does not mean you're right. Your argument starts by saying "there's no conspiracy or secret motive [to sell cash cards]", then ends with "we're not being forced to buy cash cards," which are two different arguments. Even though your post is mature and constructive, you contradicted yourself more than once and didn't really prove anything. So I'm confused now.