As far as I know there are no laws protecting the consumer.This practice sounds all too familiar and similar to today’s mobile apps. You hit a brick wall and the only way to proceed is via micro-transactions. Those annoying in-game purchase you need.
It all sounds a lot like the drug dealers of old, they give you a little for free to get you hooked then get you on the back end.
Besides being an additional revenue stream for software vendors, I can see more of them going to Cloud based services like Adobe Photoshop where there is a monthly fee to use the software. No more need to pay for a one time upgrade when you pay forever to use the product.