That's exactly what we've seen happen with the F2P boom and bust cycle since it was first introduced. The "whales" don't have long term commitment to the games, which is ironic since they spend the most money on the games. But they get bored easily, hence wanting to play the game on "pay to win" mode rather than do all the work required to win for free. It's the users who spend hours actually playing the F2P portions of the game who have the most emotional investment in it, and they're the ones who are going to get screwed when the game shuts down.
I'll probably be clobbered for saying this, but I put together this handy chart for what I think is going on:
F2P Hardcore - Pays nothing, majority of player base, forms the masses for the impressively geared casual players to feel superior to.
F2P Casual - Pays huge (i.e. the whale), minority of player base, has all the best gear
P2P Hardcore - Pays huge, minority of player base, has all the best gear
P2P Casual - Pays little (drops sub, skips expansions, etc.), majority of player base, forms the masses for the impressively geared hardcore players to feel superior to.