No, pirates don't
get to decide how much the lost sales are. They lie, cheat, and steal.
Determination of the lost sales due to piracy is a proper matter for the legislature and the courts.
And if "Jimmy has only $50 for games", why should the selfish little git think he is entitled to $500 worth of games? Because that's all he is, somebody who thinks he's entitled to something he hasn't earned. And nobody has any reason at all to listen to him, except when he becomes entitled to his day in court as a defendant.
Actually, consumers who choose to use the internet as a distribution method (your "pirates") *DO* get to decide a lot of things regarding media consumption. If not, we wouldn't be talking about it. It would be a non issue.
What you people don't understand, and is not getting nearly enough talk regarding this issue is the plain old "What Is and Never Should Be" of the matter. Peer to peer distribution exists, and is never going away. Control over distribution of digital media is 100% in the hands of the consumer, and *ANY* attempt to revert this back to the dark ages of content being completely controlled by wholesale/retail will be both a thermodynamic and economical failure.
Many of you keep talking about the individual, the consumer, as if they should modify their behavior to allow a market to flourish as intended. Individuals *ARE* the market. Serving the market is an economic ventures sole duty. Those that serve the market the best get rich, those that don't are a footnote.
This reminds me of Japan and the Samurai in the 15th century, outlawing guns because it upset their social structure too much, as it wrested control away from the samurai, and gave it to the people. You can keep your moral/legal opinions to yourself. The fact remains that there will NEVER come a time in the digital age where content consumtion is not done primarily via peer to peer downloading. Many politicians and business leaders have failed trying to shape the market. The market is a largely autonomous creature. It consists of autonomous consumers acting in their own self interest.
"Piracy" is in the consumers self interest. Even if the fine for copyright infringement was $1,000,000 or even death, the market would still function as it does now. There would be an increased focus on anonymity via proxies, etc, but the basic function would be the same.
So, let's stop demonizing the user. It's inefficient, delusional, and irrelevant. Pandoras box is open.
The increased cost of media consumption is troubling. Never before has there been so many blockbuster games being pumped out yearly, and of course a fan is going to have a desire to keep up. At $60 a pop, with DRM, day one DLC, ridiculously priced DLC, etc, I am suprised "piracy" isn't more rampant than it is.
The only legitimate focus to take in an attempt to synchronize the market/producer relationship is to focus on the business model of the producers. Any sort of fear or honor system based demand put on the market will simply fail.
The producers need to tell a story to the consumer, to show them the merits of continued support. Great examples are the Stalker series, Humble Bundle, and even Disney. The stalker series are cheaper on Steam for each other Stalker game you have. This is a great idea. The humble Bundle's choose your own pricing has been very successful, and Disney's Bluray/DVD/Digital copy combopacks are a great deal.
The market will not be controlled. It must be catered to. A producer can cease production, or they can change. A failure to realize this leads to a major strain on the bottom line, and industry in general.
PS, I have not "pirated" a single computer game since I created a Steam account 7 years ago.