lamar LOL, it's not a big conspiracy theory you just uncovered. It's basic business 101 ...
They have service costs, staff costs, rent, support costs, server costs, etc.... to me subscription makes sense, given that they chose to do C3 online.
Even if they didn't go for an online approach they would still have to figure out a way to earn money on a regular basis in order not to go bankrupt. Apparently pay once for lifetime updates, bug fixes, features, is pretty hard to upkeep.
You're a developer? You should know that? If you sell a game for a one time fee you can't just rely on that one sale your entire life and keep supporting your product... There is a point where your customers cost has exceeded the income. Then you need to plan for your next release, and your next and your next, in order to get a steady income to support your business if you're going for a pay once approach.
There's a lot of developers here that are trying to monetize their product in one way or another. Some choose ads, Some chose IAP, some choose pay once.
From what i've researched for my own projects.
* If you release a short game where a player usually only spends a few hours then done with it - Pay once is a very good option. You're only gonna get a few cent from ads per play/customer.
* If you release a game that you are maintaining and constantly updating with new levels and content, or a game with a lot of replayability - ad based is very good option, it provides a steady flow of income.
* If you want to keep it "free", but don't want to rely on ads, you have to create some ingame desire to buy more content. - IAP is a good option.
C2's approach with one time fee, can work if they constantly get new developers buying licences all the time, and plan on regular payed version upgrades, like photoshop in the past. Photoshop CS4, CS5, CS6. But they dropped that, since it's pretty hard to maintain several products for old time users still sticking with old software, it probably costs a lot to support old software.
I have some old software I payed licences for in the past. They are not even supported anymore, or some companies don't even exist anymore. I bet they don't even run on a modern computer. It was for windows 95/98. I still own the software but it's pretty useless to me now.
C3's leaves out the one time fee option pretty much, unless they start selling new features similar to how IAP works, or already have C4 and C5 in the pipeline.
It's no conspiracy theory to lure people into a subscription model, it's just basic business 101. It's the approach they chose to be able to continue to develop their product.
They chose to make an online dev tool, with running costs, and subscription makes sense. To me at least... Even if I skipped Business Economics class in school.