C'mon, Slashdot. You need to retract that editorial - and Timothy needs to have a think about his credentials.
But it's actually legit - you can follow the link from the OP to get there as well.
The biggest drawback, as I see it, is longer term not being able to pass the games on to family/friends to play. Perhaps an option is to have a higher tiered pricing which gives you the ability to resell the game later?
(Even the nuclear bomb research probably helped spur nuclear power, which in turn staved off climate change. And, of course, views are divided on whether more or less lives were lost due to the bombs. So yes, I definitely meant broad generalisation rather than absolute statement
Another issue though is that all of humanity benefits from scientific advances. If government funding were to reduce and be replaced by fund raising drives, then (in the simplest case) those who don't contribute would be getting all the benefits (alternatives to fossil fuels, medical advances, etc) but with none of the upfront cost. Of course, we already have some fund raising for breast cancer/prostate cancer/MS/other specific disease but I would imagine this makes up a fairly small portion of their research budgets (and in some cases genuinely represents an investment in their personal future).
The obvious way around this is through a Kickstarter style reward system, where people who contribute get some specific rewards. But what would you offer? You get a share of the profits? (Well, now you're actually a corporation.) You get early access to the treatment? (That's not going to fly politically.) You get your name on the side of the particle accelerator? (That might work.)
Obviously, people are welcome to do whatever they want with their money, but I think government funding of science for the common good is the fairest scenario, and what we should be encouraging.
E.g., will we have colonies on other planets? Other star systems? Will we have robots/AI/cyborgs? Will we have a high tech world? Low tech? Nox tech?
If not, what do you think this means for long term space exploration and/or colonisation?
(I say implicitly/explicitly to allow for both actually exceeding the speed of light and for using some sort of clever multi-dimensional/space bending/startrekkian technique
On the other hand, these are also the most tech savvy users who might actually be swayed by a convenient and cheap (and legal) movie downloading system. Certainly I used to buy music from a certain Russian site because the cost was worth the convenience of high quality music on demand.
Research is to see what everybody else has seen, and think what nobody else has thought.