Bruce Shelley at Ensemble has reported that at least 500 people have contacted technical support trying to get online using a pirated copy of "Age of Empires III."
Our customer service people say that in the last several months they have received over 500 email inquiries from people trying to get online with pirated copies. The strength of the Age online multiplayer experience is what saves our business and our jobs, and keeps us going so we can make more games. You can’t play Age online without a legitimate copy, and that helps the game remain in the list of top twenty best-selling PC games for the fourth year. It may be that PC games without a strong online component requiring a legitimate copy are doomed to modest success at best.All I can say is that I wish the number of people who contacted me back at Ritual for support (and since I've been laid off) were only in the three digit territory. I received five hundred requests for support for the pirated version of "SiN Episodes" last year...after I was off the payroll.
Mind you, he's only talking about people who were trying to get online with their pirated copies. It's quite possible that the number of people contacting support for other reasons could be higher. However, I love how eloquently he put his closing comment on the topic...
A bigger question for me is whether game piracy and its cousins (music piracy and online game cheating, for example) are becoming so socially acceptable and widespread that they are changing our culture. Will a society that finds it increasingly okay to steal and cheat online find it similarly acceptable to lie, cheat, and steal in all aspects of offline life?