Been looking, it's a pain in the ass to find ANYTHING pirate related anymore though. Lot easier to read the stuff in academic journals when it comes out.
In general though it's common sense.
I mean think about it.
A) The cost of piracy is essentially zero. So actually the more expensive the loss is essentially an inverse relationship. As an example, a friend of mine gave almost everybody he knew a copy of Paintshop Pro. A program that is thousands of dollars.
Nobody he gave it to had ANY intention of buying the professional grade program, and only got it because it was "A Cool updated paint".
I mean, assume for a minute you decided "You know what, piracy is fine." Woulda you download every game you had the slightest interest in, even stuff like say... the Ironman movie tie ins, if you liked Ironman, even though you KNOW it's gonna suck? Or maybe a game like Haze or Lair or some other game that's knon for being epically bad?
Shit if I was a pirate, i'd pirate everything from Call of Duty to Barbie games, just to see how Barbie game mechanics work... and neither are games I'd ever buy.
B) A lot of pirates tend to hold MASSIVE libraries, of pirated everything, because why not? If the average person owned 30 albums, the average pirate would usually own 35 albums then have an illegal library of like 300-400 Albums worth of music often with multiple copies of the same thing, just because. Your average pirate is going to have more games then they'll ever play, because essentially they can download everything, and give anything a try.
C) People who are getting copies of games on disc from other people didn't even think the game was worth the effort to download... let alone buy.
D) The highest rates of piracy are in countires like Armenia. Per Capita GDP $6,400.
Essentially when looking at piracy you have to look at pretty much western nations only... and even more so, mostly the United States, if we're going off a "would of bought it anyway" model, then you've got to take out the archivists, the poor, redownloads (A lot more common then you'd think).
I get what you're saying and yes I do get that less popular games will be pirated just because they can and piracy wouldn't affect profit because less people wouldnt buy them at retail anyway. I made that point earlier. What i'm saying is that popular games like the gran turismos and call of dutys are highly popular games and I think a lot of people that got it pirated would of bought a retail copy.
Piracy of games was massive here in the uk from my experience on the ps1(you were the odd one out if you didnt have you ps1 chipped),ps2 and even now on psp and ds. my cousin and a few friends (who aren't archivists, poor or redownloaders) have a card with 20 games on for the ds when i can be 80% sure they would of bought at least 4 of the games on that card. PS3 and the 360 seem to have gotten a grip on piracy so thats good for the industry.
Anyway kasz. I do take on board your opinions and do respect them but without any hard evidence I have to go by my own experience.