Recently there has been a lot of talk about how piracy affects PC gaming. And if you listen to game developers, it apparently is a foregone conclusion - if a high quality PC game doesn't sell as many copies as it should, it must be because of piracy.
Now, I don't like piracy at all. It really bugs me when I see my game up on some torrent site just on the principle of the matter. And piracy certainly does cost sales. But arguing that piracy is the primary factor in lower sales of well made games? I don't think so. People who never buy software aren't lost sales....
When you blame piracy for disappointing sales, you tend to tar the entire market with a broad brush. Piracy isn't evenly distributed in the PC gaming market. And there are far more effective ways of getting people who might buy your product to buy it without inconveniencing them.
Blaming piracy is easy. But it hides other underlying causes. When Sins popped up as the #1 best selling game at retail a couple weeks ago, a game that has no copy protect whatsoever, that should tell you that piracy is not the primary issue.
In the end, the pirates hurt themselves. PC game developers will either slowly migrate to making games that cater to the people who buy PC games or they'll move to platforms where people are more inclined to buy games.
In the meantime, if you want to make profitable
PC games, I'd recommend focusing more effort on satisfying the people willing to spend money on your product and less effort on making what others perceive as hot. But then again, I don't romanticize PC game development. I just want to play cool games and make a profit on games that I work on.