Right now, paying Blizzard $15 would allow me to increase my WoW minipet collection by 3. Well, technically only 2, but they claim that they're going to fix the bug with the third. How is this bargain - half the price of the $10 minipet store - possible?
It's Children's Week in Azeroth, which means that it's time to escort orphans around the world in exchange for minipets. There are three sightseeing tours currently, one for the old world, one for TBC, and one for Wrath. (The latter is bugged and has not reset since its introduction late last year - I wonder if there's something specific about world event quests that makes them so hard to code, because Blizzard repeats this particular mistake every single time new once per holiday content is added.) With a flying mount, the entire tour takes less than an hour.
The $15 in question is, of course, WoW's monthly fee, which I am not paying at the moment. Most players don't think of this as a microtransaction - the nigh trivial amount of time that it takes to obtain these items in-game is still somehow enough to say that these pets are earned through gameplay, rather than a reward for subscribing to the game on a specific week in May. Even so, it costs real money for subscriptions and expansion packs to obtain these pets, just as it costs real money to click the purchase button in the Blizzard store.
As the old quip goes, we have already established the nature of the transaction, now we're just arguing over price.
P.S. This is the type of scenario I was referring to when discussing the EQ2 $5/3 day pass - good deal for the player, but perhaps less good for the studio in question.