On initial reading I was very impressed, however I did note several reasons that lead me to doubt your conclusions and/or sources.
Firstly, you claim that DRM clearly works by preventing day zero piracy, and it's not disputable how it does prevent day zero. How on earth do you reconcile that with your own picture of massive rampant piracy driving developers away? Clearly, if it does work, then this wouldn't be an issue.
Secondly, you dealt very, very poorly with the example of companies like Stardock. This would suggest that your "niche" is not quite so niche. The development costs of Sins were less than a million dollars, and sold over half a million copies. It seems logical to me that the no-DRM Sins made quite the profit. You can, as you referenced Starforce kindly pointing out, still pirate Stardock games, and patch it up to 1.05 (not latest, admi ttedly). Stardock is now a pretty major player, and their titles were always DRM-free. No pirate updates his game anyway, it's always just retail or cracked exe, unless the uploader pre-patches his ISO.
Thirdly, It's also valid to point out that your example of Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory is redundant, since a more recent example of the legendary Spore had a crack and keygen available the day before first release, and a full .ISO up on the day. That is only a private tracker that I use personally, hardly the world wide internet.
Fourthly, you also ignored the issues of not being able to make backups. I personally lost my System Shock 2 disc. What did I do? www.piratebay.org.
Fifthly, you ignored the catastrophes of such things as Sony's music DRM issues, and I personally had a big issue with Windows when buying XP... yes, there may not be any issues NOW, but that's not valid when at it's release, there were big problems. It's not irrational at all to be more than cautious about DRM when faced with these.
Sixthly, when you talk about the Pirate Bay and how it makes millions, I think you are under-representing The Pirate Bay. Firstly, you don't seem to actually have produced any real evidence, only associations and accusations. Also, when you talk about a server that only loads text, it also serves as the world's biggest (or close to) tracker, which has got to use up bandwidth that you didn't allocate for, and additionally it conflicts with the massive deal you made about how popular the site is. If it's massively popular, doesn't that kind of imply that they use a lot of bandwidth? Text only isn't really relevant if you consider the sheer volume of visits. Then you also have to add in the fact that TPB has to run several backups in place at all times, including some that are physically in the process of being moved, as part of their backup plan in case the main servers get taken down again.
When dealing with PC vs consoles, you failed also to account for the BIGGEST thing that consoles have against PCs, which is immediate sociability. If I want to play Left 4 Dead with two friends and my brother, I have to move all our desktops into one room. What a hassle. Then add to that all the technical issues associated with being able to operate a gaming PC, which is not particularly reputable. If I want to play Goldeneye 64, it's just the same as single player, with a couple more controllers. Perhaps people simply find console gaming more socially acceptable, because it's a more sociable activity. You'd never see a product like Guitar Hero or Rock Band for the PC. Or rather, technically it does exist, but realistically I have never heard or seen of someone doing it, and even if so, that would be one. You can't play four-player Crysis on one desktop, but you can with the appropriate controllers for Gears of War on one 360. People who buy consoles also have lower initial costs and therefore more to spend on the resultant games. I can buy an entire 360 for the price of just my graphics card here in the UK. Take all that saving for the rest of my quad-core gaming rig, and spend it on games. That's a lot of extra sales.
Oh, and add in the fact that you can return most console games (some exceptions noted) whereas you cannot return a PC game.. ironically, due to the CD-key DRM. I put a lot of thought into whether I wanted to buy Left 4 Dead, but I returned some old 360 kit to (the equivalent of GameStop) and paid 70p for it. But of course, I can't return my old copies of Total Annihilation or Deus Ex. My copy of BioShock was a complete waste of cash, and I would return it if I could. Some PC games have also hit the fan in terms of the internet, because it's a lot easier to get additional feedback about the game. As noted about BioShock, whenever anybody asks about the game, I immediately tell everybody how it was a waste of money for me. That's a lot wider audience than just a couple of friends.
I'm not claiming that any one of these is major issues, but you failed to account for them, and there's plenty here to make me feel that your article seems one-sided.
Firstly there is only so much I can address in a single article. The article is already 10 pages long and people are whining about that fact almost everywhere I read feedback on the article, plus of course the bulk of the feedback is based on people who have indeed not read the entire article. I dealt with Stardock fine in the space allowed. 500,000 sales is niche compared to 3 million or 11 or 17 million sales. Stardock's model is explained very clearly, and stardock's position on DRM - the fact that they believe it is a necessary compromise for most publishers - is also explained clearly using their own words, a fact which you seem to conveniently ignore.
You also seem to ignore the several examples I provide of recent games where DRM has worked to prevent day-zero piracy and simply focus on one where it was less successful (Spore). A few exceptions don't make other examples 'redundant', despite your wishes to the contrary.
In terms of backups, can you backup physical books which you've bought? What if you spill coffee all over your favorite book, or lose it? Do you get to make a backup of it? What about backing up other items? What generally happens is that we need to be careful not to damage or lose our own goods, it's not an automatic right to backup digital media just because we can.
I won't cover all your other issues, however the rest of your email goes into exactly the same sort of unsubstantiated speculation and sensationalism which my article discusses. "Disastrous" DRM issues?. Please. Any actual proof beyond peoples' wild stories? I've been involved in gaming and PC tech for years and yet to see any "disastrous" issues once the hype is pushed aside and the facts are examined properly. Speculating about TPB and excusing their lies, coming up with theories about consoles vs. PCs with no evidence etc. My article dealt with the information I found during my research, and the picture is quite clear that piracy is hurting PC gaming. Probably the best info is that virtually every major developer says it's hurting them, and given the choice between listening to developers or pirates and uninformed forumgoers for example, I'm quite sure the developers are both better informed and have less reason to lie about the impact of piracy on the business.
Spore is definitely the most relevant, because it's the one where cracking groups are actually going to care. What are the sales figures for Splinter Cell? You also didn't explain how your view of so much piracy happens and it's clearly hurting the game industry, reconciles with how DRM is effective and is worth keeping. You also didn't cover the fact that every example you gave of games which weren't cracked on day zero, also had a console release, where Mass Effect and GTA IV's console versions were out well before the PC version. I might also add that GTA IV has a fantastic reputation for being even worse than Halo 2 as a PC port and if I were a cracker, it sure wouldn't be worth my time to crack it. BioShock is the only one in there that's even remotely comparable. You quote thirteen days, I see ten days on my tracker and The Pirate Bay too.
For every claim made by pirates, you go digging it all up. Did you actually check the thirteen days, or just accept it?
Aug 31, 10 days after it's release in US on Aug 21.
Just because one form of media doesn't allow it, doesn't mean another shouldn't. Equally though, I could just download an e-book of it. And, the disc is not inherently required to play. It is by default that this is not necessary to require a disc, except for the DVD check. The book is required to read it.
11 million sales for a game running with several expansion packs over four years and is the single biggest game pretty much ever developed by one of the most popular developers at the time, or 17 million for an entire series of games published by one of the biggest publishers, compared to Sin's relatively zero development cost from a new no-name developer by a second time publisher.
Having to recall every product that used it and being sued repeatedly doesn't count as a disaster? I mean, people get sued all the time, but Sony BMG actually had to recall all their products and settle instead of just ignore the lawsuits and complaints. What is your definition of disaster if not that?
By speculation, what you really mean is that neither of us have any actual figures at all. Your source references a raid that is two and a half years old as if it were current (as in, this year, since they didn't bother to give the year), and contains the police and prosecution accusing, which they should do, a couple of undefined associations, and The Pirate Bay not saying anything. Hardly conclusive. Your other source says that the Swedish government estimates 3m, which is not exactly complementary with the 9m, and at that rate they'll be at a loss next year.
Yeah... it's just a theory that you can't play four player Left4Dead with one PC, but you can play splitscreen Gears of War with one 360, and it's also crap that my graphics card costs as much as the console, and it's at least a year old and midrange then. Totally rubbish. Where do I come up with these things? Equally, there's nothing you can do, no stats you can pull, to say that any of the things I said are insignificant.
I think, this wouldn't be such a killer, if I could clearly see both sides had such things happening. But they don't. All of this is poor representation on the side of the pirates, and none on the side of developers and publishers.
This guy is full of dismissive crap. He doesn't even try to deal with it. All he has is "Capitalism means that you should pay otherwise people will stop producing", and "OMG Spore got pirated 500,000 times, but DRM is still effective!"