Consider the use cases for the game player:
1. I buy the game. I go to a physical brick&mortar store, I locate the game, pay for it and bring it home. I infest my computer with DRM software I didn't ask for, click through horrible install processes that are actually pointless, enter a 40+ digit entry code and then can play the game - that I never played so far. If I didn't like it, I'm essentially screwed.
2. I download the game. I don't even have to get dressed, it's delivered at high speed into my bedroom. I install it, which is an easy process that does not install outside of the target directory. No nagware, no infestation, no DRM. No CD required, I can use it for another CD. No Cd key required, or I can copy/paste it from some other tool. If I like the game I can send money their way, but that's a conscious "I like it" choice. If I don't like it, I don't lose my money and I don't get to go through a lengthy process to return it.
Can you imagine anybody considering pirating games?
- Make it easy to install
- Make it painless to use
- Make it simple to remove completely
- Make it easy to return for full refund within X days (>= 8)
- Make it run properly on my PC
- Make it so cheap that I can fit it in the cracks of my budget (like $10-20).
In that category, I recently bought Portal. It fits all except for the easy install and the full refund. It's still annoying because it's on Steam which is a load of shit (that already corrupted its install once) and I can't give the CD to somebody else and expect them to use it like I do with my car (for instance).