I can only talk about my own view on this and unless you were willing to test it somehow and knew a way where a statistical relevant test could be made I would help. Obviously a true 1:1 test would be impossible as we can not test with 2 identical games that have 2 identical target groups and release at the same time to the same stores....
All it would take to quantify it however, was if Keith or x4000 look in their stats how demo adoption rates vs update download numbers for Tidalis changed after 4th December 2010 (when the keygen was released for that) or how AVWW sales changed (if at all) after 23rd April 2012, which is when the AVWW keygen released. However I have the looming feeling there are no statistics for this because non were kept or properly collected and collated. (Which would be a huge mistake but for an Indy I don't expect this to be a priority)
And by the way, it took me less time to find the exact dates of these releases than to type the post.. so excuse me while I had to giggle at your notion that there is a "exhaustion" that could set in
Pirate releases for niche games are VERY rare and small scope in spread and often don't spread far beyond the file hoster share hubs.
The only way I could back my claim up is from my own viewpoint so no.. unless you invent a time travel machine you are just gonna assume that pirates are gamers who not just pirate but also buy games. Because if they weren't they wouldn't be pirating yo games, piracy for established pirates is EASIER than buying games, FAR easier. Only very few have the patience to wait out a 2 or 3 week wait for a new working keygen or leaked serial. Especially when there are sales on Steam or GMG in between. But how would I prove that?
Point being, that is not what I am willing to argue about. Because it'd be pointless. I just know that developers who berate pirates as "not being our customers anyway" have found to regret this very
quickly. Because it is wrong. I can guarantee you pirates are reading this and laughing their backsides off. I am ok with that, and hey, if Arcengames doesn't do anything against piracy then I have a hard time condemning pirates for pirating. It is so easy that it is more hassle to buy games than to pirate them, and at that point morals are the only thing in the way.. and not for long.
Or you know, you could just read stuff like this which is, i thought, common knowledge by now...http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110727/16233815292/another-day-another-study-that-says-pirates-are-best-customers-this-time-hadopi.shtml
Nevertheless. A better secured serial system is mainly to annoy, not to protect your game against any serious attempt to crack it. And I don't content this. If that is not a viable thing to spend dev time with that's OK. Yet that people are against this mild improvement of serial security is dazzling to me, because I don't understand it.
If you don't believe my opinion on this to be something you take serious that is ok too. After all, i can hardly legally proof that I have a clue about what I am talking about. Apart from the fact that I do have a clue how to code a secure serial check system that has a bit more security, at least in theory.
And keith surely will agree that the system described is sound and if done right, transparent. (You would never know it's there). And that alone should imo tell you that I know what I am talking about. That said, I understand when a developer does not want to go that far (which is not really far at all, but for some it may be..).
The reason I am even beating this dead horse is that I am 90% sure that because all games got keygenned with valid steam reggable serials this has pissed Steam off very badly and now they give us the stick with AVWW and registering serials. I am not buying that they are "busy".. previously this was happening within a week.