Wandering in...actually, the licensing of PC games fits in with the discussion, I think.
If I had an intellectual properties lawyer at my beck and call, I'd consider weighing in on the licensing thing, but unfortunately I don't, so I'm clueless about it.
Hmmm. Maybe I'm clueless about the rest of these issues too!
It seems to me that when a portion of a business's customers are trying to steal their product, it is natural for the business to try to limit what is stolen from them. Here in the US, large clothing stores, for instance, still put those "sense-o-matic" tags on clothing. They don't do it because they think all their customers are thieves, and they know that some of the customers who ARE thieves have figured out a way around the tags. Stores do it because if they didn't, even more of their stock would be stolen.
Copy protection and key codes strike me as similar efforts. Yes, they are annoying, and it would be great if the legitimate customer didn't have to put up with them, but the majority of the business who make PC games have deemed them a necessity.
I suppose the question we're getting down to here is if the efforts to reduce theft for downloaded games are significantly more annoying than the efforts to reduce theft for games on disk.
Personally, I haven't found them to be more annoying, as I haven't yet downloaded a game and deleted it and then found that I couldn't download it again. Maybe I'll feel differently a few years down the road, but for now I'm pleased as punch to be able to download a game months before it's available on disk!
I would hazard a (somewhat educated) guess that about 70 percent of GameBoomers have broadband. This makes downloading an option for the vast majority of us, and I think that's why we're seeing more games offered as downloads.
We've worked at GameBoomers to support the developers and the publishers of PC adventure games because we want them to keep making and publishing games. It's disheartening to see adventure developers go out of business or switch over to making non-adventure console games (which don't seem to have nearly the same piracy problem).