Ah, yes, the old "the industry is getting it's just deserts" uneducated bullshit. Tell me, why are all the good, hyped games being pirated so heavily, such as Demigod, and the unpopular games not being pirated to the same degree? If your argument were true wouldn't it, in fact, be the other way around?
No, my argument is that overbudgeted, shiny-wrapping-but-no-substance games feel the impact of piracy a lot more than games which were produced on a modest budget and which equal the so-called AAA titles in quality simply because what they lack in graphics they make up in gameplay. This is because an AAA title has a lot of investment to pay off. Every copy which is illegally distributed is felt by sweaty-palmed managers and their Schwartz powers. While on the other hand, game developers which manage to pay off their budgets in the first week of release even when sales are going a bit slow do not worry so much about the fictional "income drain" piracy is blamed for, simply because once you pay off your budget, the rest is pure profit. In other words, AAA titles actually earn fewer bucks than less known titles per copy sold.
And the reason why all "good" (I tend to make a difference between a good game and a hyped game) games are so readily available for illegal obtainement, is because they're hyped - and pirate groups just love to cater to the crowds. The bigger the name, the better. Nevermind that nine times out of ten its a piece of crap of a game with no substance and multimillion dollar visuals and voiceovers. Crowds like cheap (as in unworthy, not actually cheap) entertainment.
What were the original people who founded the pirate scene - you know, the people who actually know how to remove copy protection from games rather than google the name of the game plus the word "crack" - attempting to do?
That depends. Some were trying to see if they can do it. Other were doing it so they can show everyone they can do it better than the other guys. Some just wanted to be cool hackers. There were probably those who wanted to "stick it to the man". And some were just bored. There are probably a million more reasons.
Why were games like Doom, which shipped with no copy protection of any kind besides the discs themselves, were and are heavily pirated besides being industry changing landmark games that in no hindered the user from using it in any way they so chose?
Because they were popular and not everyone is willing to fork over cash for a game they can get for free. And here's the catch - those people won't buy your games if you magically cut off their local pirate's head. They simply won't play games. So even if you somehow managed to shut down content sharing over the internet, a task which is pretty much impossible, your profits would only marginally rise. Is that worth the other consequences, such as the disruption of the free flow of data, is another question.
Copy protection is a result of piracy, not the other way around.
No, its a result of a poorly thought out attempt to control the data flow in a society. It doesn't work, never will. People will literally share games physically, and unless you can rig every computer to arrest someone if it detects that someone other than the buyer is playing a game, you have no way of preventing that.
Data does not register to the human mind as "property". We usualy have no problems with the idea of copying a book, but most of us do have a problem with the idea of stealing that book from a shelf in a bookstore.
Instead it falls into the same domain as knowledge, information, and other such abstract, non-physical things. Most people who pirate games do not consider themselves thieves, no matter how much you scream at them. This is a part of the human psyche, and instead of trying to supress it, game developers and publishers need to learn how to work with that.
I'm guessing you weren't around when websites were text based and pirating games actually involved mailing discs to people you knew and trusted because internet speeds were too slow to realistically transfer games to one PC to another compared to the time required for the physical package to get to the same location.
I was around when Internet was not the option at all and very few people had computers, which were not called PCs back then. And yeah, some of my first games were copies I got from a friend... not that there was a single game store in my country back then, so the only way to get games was "from a friend who got it from a friend..."
I suggest that instead of indignantly frothing at the mouth at what I consider perfectly normal human behaviour when it comes to abstract property, game developers and publishers need to adapt to the circumstances - instead of trying to force the circumstances to adapt to their needs.
1. Lower the budgets. We don't need shiny, vacant titles. Hollywood caters enough of that crap already.
2. Lower the prices. Yes, you can do that if you are not:
a) a greedy basturd
heavily laden with debt with impatient investors on the side
3. Have quality customer support. Customers which are treated right tend to generate more customers.
4. Have quality community relations. People for some reason find it harder to steal from the company they know and love, than from a faceless behemoth.
And last but not least... forget about pirates. They will always be there to sample your stuff. You can't stop them. They're not actually stealing from you - deny them their free booty and they will look for it elsewhere, not actually start buying your games. And you'll miss out on a lot of word-of-mouth advertising which often lands on honest ears as well as pirate ones.