(This is a train of thought that started last week, not sure where we’re headed yet…)
I used to make video games, and one of the bug-bears of that industry is the rampant software piracy on PC. Thousands of development hours get spent creating more and more complex forms of software encryption, only to have them broken days if not hours after the games become available. It is a losing strategy as you are always pitting a handful of developers in a single room against a worldwide army whose only interest is breaking your encryption as fast as possible.
In the case of PC-gaming, many developers are moving to fixed hardware like the Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and the Wii. They don’t solve the piracy problem, but they do significantly raise the barrier to entry. The issue of piracy though is a vexing one for software development, I have generally found (and I think most industry folk would agree, whether or not they admit it) there is as much piracy going on within the industry as there is outside it. When developers are as guilty of the crime as the guy on the street, you have to start wondering whose behaviour you’re trying to curb: someone else’s or your own?