So losing access to all your previously purchased content on Steam (if you refused to pay any prospective "maintenance fee") is not a problem for you? Do you think people would be willing to repurchase their Steam-powered software, even if all of it was available elsewhere? If you're a Steam user with a significant quantity of purchases, you're locked into Valve like it or not. Tape copying involved far more than a couple of kids, it was pretty much endemic in most schools (and likely involved millions in total too, even if no-one was able to count it). However since most involved would not have had the money to purchase legitimately, its affect on software sales was probably marginal. The "commercial pirates" likely made a bigger difference since they dealt with adults more, but they've also been the hardest hit by P2P recently too. Steam (and other online activation systems) don't make software harder to pirate. The code performing an online check is no more of a challenge to remove than the disk checks that no-cd patches deal with. What such systems do accomplish is to: kill off the second-hand market (while legitimate and legal, software publishers still equate it to piracy since they don't proft from it); bypass the existing distributor/retailer system and the margins it involves; provides publishers with more data and control over software usage - which can then be (ab)used by forcing adware/spyware installation or monthly subscription fees. PC Games are cheap, even new ones can often be had at a 40-50% discount at launch, far more so than 4-5 years ago. I now expect to spend around £15-25 compared to £25-35 back then, so I fail to see where the "piracy premium" is coming from. Now people buying through Steam certainly are paying through the nose with Valve charging full retail prices (especially since they don't incur the manufacturing, transport, warehousing and other costs that physical retailers do), but that is their responsibility for not shopping around (see Digital distribution rip-off suspected for some comparisons). I'd agree with the lack of PC games in stores, but let's face it, who in their right minds is going to pay £35-40 for a game in-store when the likes of Amazon, Play.com or DVD.co.uk sell it for £25-30? The last game I ever purchased from a game store was in 2004 and when I checked my nearest shop, even their second-hand section had higher prices than new software elsewhere (specifically, they were charging £18 for a second-hand copy of The Witcher original when a new copy of the extended version is retailing for £16-17 online). I would disagree about the number of releases though - compared to 5-10 years ago, we seem to have 2-3 times the number of titles. Indeed I would argue that many of the industry's problems are due to too many releases, leading to retailers discounting anything older than 1-2 months in order to make room for new stock. Console sales aren't likely to remain a panacea for long - as the volume of releases goes up, retail discounting and smaller market shares are likely to take a similar toll as with PCs. In terms of number of games released, the pure-MMO (as opposed to standalone games with an online play option) seems a pretty small minority. In addition, you need get (and maintain) a critical mass of players for MMO worlds to be viable, making it harder for new MMOs to compete with established leaders. And while piracy is not such a problem for MMOs (ignoring the possibility of pirate servers), they do have other issues (spam, gold farming, account hacking) increasing the cost of supporting them, compared to standalone games. Fighting piracy, to the extent of inconveniencing legitmate customers, is a losing strategy for the gaming industry (and systems like StarForce and SecuROM do affect principally if not exclusively legitimate purchasers). A better strategy is to maximise sales by eliminating any inconvenience to users and encouraging "non-legitimate" users to purchase via extra content and services (as the old saying goes, "You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar"). When developers and publishers take piracy personally (suggestion to developers: pirates are at least showing some interest in your software, so look on them as "potential customers" and "free publicity"), it is legitimate purchasers that get caught in the crossfire. And piracy is not theft. This isn't just an opinion, it is based on the legal definition of theft as laid out in the Theft Act 1968, to quote: (1) A person is guilty of theft if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it; and “thief” and “steal” shall be construed accordingly. When someone makes a copy of software, no appropriation of property occurs. "Unauthorised duplication" would be a more accurate description of software piracy. It's the legitimate purchasers that suffer the most at the moment. Currently, they have to deal with disk-checks that may prevent their game working if their drive isn't "suitable" or they have "objectionable software" running. They have the risk of losing access to their software if the publisher goes out of business with online activation and being subject to unfair changes in EULAs if they don't. Game purchasing should be a simple process, yet we have an industry that seems to go out of its way to make things difficult. When I have to check GameCopyWorld for a no-cd patch prior to purchase, fiddle around with Daemon Tools or double check a game description for any mention of online activation (yes, my gaming PC is not Internet-connected since it allows me to minimise the security software installed), I keep wondering why I shouldn't just fire up BitTorrent instead. Being a legitimate customer of the games industry is increasingly like being in a relationship with an abusive spouse. Don't you think that charging, say, £5/month on each Steam account wouldn't be more of a cash cow? Sure, they'd put off new customers, but any successful business is going to reach a position where new customer numbers drop off - at which point the only way to expand further is to "monetise" their existing customer base. Your example of eBay is rather ironic too, given that they did just this by increasing listing and final sale fees (sellers are locked into their system more than buyers are).