Yesterday, Blue's News posted a story about a lecture id Software CEO Todd Hollenshead gave at GDC. It was a lecture about piracy and along with several other points, he alluded in the lecture that one of the main reason PC gaming is in decline and many previously PC-only franchises are going to consoles as well is because of piracy.
The thread has quickly grown into one of the largest in that site's history. Anyone who is a veteran of Blue's News will know the caliber of conversation that fills it but there is also a number of good point-counterpoint discussions about piracy's true impact and why it may or may not be hurting the industry as much as they claim. It's worth checking out if you've got some time to read through it all.
Personally, I don't believe piracy is nearly the problem the publishers and developers claim it is. I don't pirate games but believe that those who do on a large basis are people who never would have bought the games anyway so there are no potential sales or revenue lost to the developers. I also think developers and publishers have none but themselves to blame for piracy's rise since the number of titles that are coming out in buggy, broken, unfinished states is on the rise and they've seen to it that stores will not accept returns on games, even if they just plain don't work. I'm also getting frustrated with game prices going up and yet the quality, innovation and in particular length of most titles is dropping. That's why I rent most of my console games now and why I don't buy any PC game without reading a lot of reviews and getting a lot of community opinion. Don't even get me started on publishers bloating their budgets by buying expensive copy-protection mechanisms which only hurt the paying customers while doing nothing to stop dedicated pirates.
At any rate, I don't think the game development community can lay the entire problem on piracy but they'll certainly try. What do you guys think?