I cannot see Disney doing a money grab on the MBs for on-site guests. I can see them having limited options as free ones. But the fact is, their entire infrastructure, including all the meta-data they obtain, relies on as many people as possible using Magic Bands. It helps them save money. If they start charging for them, I think a lot fewer people will end up getting them as they suddenly become “optional”. Sure, plenty will use them, but it jeopardizes the kind of valid data and efficiencies they get with them to do so.
The fact is, it costs them VERY LITTLE to manufacture them, so it isn’t like a huge loss. When they sell special ones for $15 or $20, they are making probably 95% profit on those things. So, the key will be for them to offer more/better options that people would be willing to pay for in upgrading, while keeping the bad band free.
When we were shopping for Magic Bands for our trip, I was kind of disappointed at their choices. Very few of the bands are something we’d really WANT to wear. But I found TONS of these cheap sticker overlays you can buy on Amazon, etc., that are SUPER cool looking. Disney needs to offer more options like that.