Dragon Age 2 was unplayable for 4 days recently, this being the second time in a few months that a server outage has caused this game to be unavailable for those who had purchased it.
This is my opinion:
I feel that no matter how hard companies try to lock down their content, someone will figure out a way around it. I have been playing PC games for over a decade and I can't think of one that has been completely safe from being cracked, hacked, or otherwise circumvented. My theory is that they wouldn't see any more piracy if they made games without any type of prevention, and may even increase sales if they focused the effort and resources in a different direction. People who are going to pirate or benefit from pirated games are going to continue to do that. There is no argument that gaming companies can make to prevent them - it is a choice these gamers have made.
People who want to support a company will do that as well. There are many people who will pirate a game to make sure they like it, and purchase it if they do. This is because the market does not allow for the return of video games (one of the original moves to curb piracy of games). If you can't try it before you buy it, what guarantee do you have that your $20-60 purchase is going to be worth while?
There are other people who are too poor to buy the games in the first place. These people wouldn't be buying games anyway, so they aren't really a drain on the system either - they may actually be a benefit to the system because if they enjoy the game they will tell their friends about it, who may actually purchase the game (unless they are poor as well, and then it won't matter either).
I would say that game manufacturers are pushing people towards piracy. If you had a pirated version of Dragon Age II, it is likely that you wouldn't have been effected by this outage. I have personally downloaded no-CD cracks for games that I have purchased in the past, just so that I didn't have to change the CD every time I wanted to play a different game. That has to be one of the more annoying anti-piracy moves that companies have made over time. Don't get me wrong though, the most annoying is to demand that you have an internet connection to play a single player game so that it can authorize you to play every time. That takes the cake.
I think the people who are punished the most by anti-piracy are the people who actually buy the games. You have to endure whatever crazy thing they want you to prove that you actually own the software. I spend an hour on the phone with Microsoft when I moved a harddrive with windows XP from one set of hardware to another. I didn't clone it, or do anything crazy, I just wanted to use my new motherboard with software that I received when I purchased a Dell computer. I was told that this was a breach of the EULA and that I would have to purchase another copy. Eventually I got them to do it, but it was a pain that took way too long. If I were installing a cracked version of Windows, there is a high likely hood that I wouldn't even have to type in a license code.
Who has the better experience?