Stealing and Video Game piracy isn't the same thing so your analogue is incorrect.
By stealing you are actually taking something away, depriving someone of something they have. By Video Game piracy, you are taking a POTENTIAL sale away, so a more correct analogue would be to buy or make your own Ferrari kit car clone than to buy an actual Ferrari.
Ferrari has lost the potential sale and you have a /similar/ product.
Its not perfect, but its more correct than yours.
Are you familiar with the term "intellectual property"? It doesn't matter in the eyes of the law whether a ferrari or a line of code. You are stealing. Period. There is no other way to define it. Unless the IP owner grants you specific permission to use their property free (and it is property) you have stolen it regardless of whether or not you would have bought it otherwise. There is no other way to define it unless you implicitly condone piracy.
Uhh, no, and if you'd read my post you'd understand why. There is another way to define it, copyright infringement. If the law doesn't need to differentiate between the two then why bother with a Copyright Act?
Since you suggest there is no other way to define it unless you condone it, I guess many legal systems condone piracy.
Edit: And again Morgyn beats me to the punch
I understand your post completely. If you read my post as well, you'll notice that I'm not focusing on copyright infringment vs. larceny. They are different laws primarily because of the english common law roots of larceny having little in its language to support intellectual property because of the whole issue of "deprivation". IP laws, alothough varying in great degrees worldwide, were put in place to protect property of the mind in the same manner that tangible, physical property is protected. My point is that whether it is larceny or copyright infringment, if the user gains any benefit whatsoever from pirating (and they will get some amount of benefit, even if they play the game for 1 minute and decide they don't like it and delete it) it is still theft. Period. Again, in the eyes of the law, you have "stolen" and are punishable in a court of law. We are splitting hairs here as you well know, but boil it down to the basics and don't overthink it. We all know why IP laws exist...
But it isn't theft or stealing, you are just wanting to give it that name to make it sound worse (exactly how the RIAA and MPAA use it in their ads against piracy). I'll give a better example. Up until a few years ago it was illegal to format shift in Australia (and for some things it still is). So if I bought a CD and wanted to put it on my MP3 player, legally I couldn't (ignore the fact that literally millions of Australians would have been classed as criminals too). Now I don't think there are many people who would agree that me copying music I have purchased to another format so I can listen would class that as theft. Yet I still have commited copyright infringement.
In another example, what about people who backup their media in duristications that do not allow it? In Australia there are some pretty backwards laws regarding this which actually makes a lot of backups illegal. Yet once again I would be hard pressed to define this as theft.
What about items that are no longer for sale? If they aren't being sold then it is hard to put a value on them. What exactly has the producer lost when they aren't even selling their product? Sure I should go an get a 2nd hand copy, if that is even possible thanks to DRM, but that doesn't deliver money to the producer either.
As for boiling down to the basics, in the eyes of the law (at least in the US) it definitely doesn't. From the Dowling vs. United States case which has become rather famous due to peer to peer and its possible application to set precident (although no case has needed to do this yet):
"The infringer invades a statutorily defined province guaranteed to the copyright holder alone. But he does not assume physical control over the copyright; nor does he wholly deprive its owner of its use. While one may colloquially link infringement with some general notion of wrongful appropriation, infringement plainly implicates a more complex set of property interests than does run-of-the-mill theft, conversion, or fraud." link
Exactly as you said, the laws of larceny did not have enough support in its language to cover IP infringement. This is the exact reason we have a lot of words which while they mean similar things, imply different meanings.
Your points are exactly why the big companies get very little respect when the go citing numbers for loses in piracy. They always work the numbers to be as big as possible, reporting even possible case as a largest value loss. Add onto the fact they never take in other factor too. Long story short, from 1999 to 2001, the RIAA's members reduced the number of albums produced and the enonomy fell. So over that period of time, they reduced their catalog by 25% and only suffered a 4% loss in sales. That actually sounds like an increase in sales to me from a relative point of view. Linky for those interested further.
In regards to having access to pirated material and the 'time and value' in which they are worth you are perfectly right that you play less. A pirated games worth to you is close to 0. You might have invested some time or a small amount of money in getting it, but it is significantly less than the monetary loss (and even possibly time) you would have if you had gone to the store. Therefore, if I only get an hour or two (or don't even like the game at all) I haven't lost much. Whereas a game I've put $50+ dollars on (for us Australian who are suffering with US$80+ dollar games right now) I want to invest much more into because I have invested more money.
In regards to the DS and other systems that have smaller (byte wise) games, it is very easy to collect a massive collection. Looking this morning I see there are 1298 'scene acknowledge' DS roms 'available'. Now that entire set of roms, even uncompressed, would easily fit on any hard disk bought today. This bring the value of each game in the collection down even further because there is only so much time to allocate to each release.
Funnily enough, as you get older you have less and less time for gaming anyway. I'm only in my mid twenties and I already lack the time to play all the games I want. I have 5 GC games, 2 DS and 1 Wii game which I've purchased that the only reason the disc has been in the console was to check that it works. At least one of these I bought close to three years ago too. I keep saying I'll get to them at my next holidays, but I just never get around to them...