Many software publishers and developers like to blame piracy for everything, from less-than-expected sales to the reason for DRM, but this is a new one. Sony America's Senior VP of Public Relations Rob Dyer gave an interview to Gamasutra recently. In the interview, Gamasutra brought up the lagging sales of the PSP handheld consoles. Dyer's response:
… And we also believe that there's a way that you will be able to, not stop, but slow down the piracy in the first 30 to 60 days from a tech perspective. There's some code that you can embed that we've been helping developers implement in order to get people at least to see a 60-day shelf life before it gets hacked and it shows up on BitTorrent.
That's been the biggest problem, no question about it. It's become a very difficult proposition to be profitable, given the piracy right now. And the fact that the category shrunk inside of retail.
It's true; you can't hit any torrent tracker site without seeing thousands of download links for a Sony PSP.
Last time I checked, you can't download hardware. And if pirates are actively seeking out games to download and play, it stands to reason they'd need a piece of hardware to play them on. So, rampant piracy of games, if anything, should have an increase of hardware sales, no? Heck, I'd be more inclined to buy a PSP if I knew I could easily hack it and get a bunch of free games for it (if I did that sort of thing).
Piracy may have an impact on the revenue the entire division brings in, when you combine hardware and software; but until we can hook up a replicator to BitTorrent, you'll have a hard time convincing me that the failure to move hardware is a fault of piracy.