Skiing is a lot like that isn't it?
Ignoring equipment and lift tickets for a moment, since those are bare bone essentials, akin to having a computer or phone. Everybody is free to ski, but lessons is the "mium" part. A beginner can just jump on a pair of skis, and figure out things himself. Getting lessons certainly helps at this stage, but not absolutely required for progress. However they soon hit a plateau, some further up the ladder than others, but it always happens (very few exceptions, perhaps). Progress grind to a halt, and the person isn't sure how can he continue improving, aside from step into the premium group of users by taking lessons. And at this point, cheap lessons at local mole hill probably isn't useful anymore, it'll have to be an expensive one at a larger place, or super expensive private. Thus like the gamer, the skier face the dilemma, stay free and mediocre, pay for the premium option (that he may or may not be able to afford, or willing to pay for), or quit and go play something else.
I don't know about skiing, but for games, people taking the first and third option far outranks the second.
Anyway, it's just some random rambling relating to personal experience when I should really be sleeping.