Last night, I made a post about Sony putting out fake
downloads of Black Ice
in an attempt to prevent piracy. It was only today that I realized the best way any company could prevent piracy of games, CDs or even movies. It won't be 100% effective, and it will
cost some money, but it will also make some would-be pirates buy the game. It might even cut down on second-hand ownership. This is also something companies have been doing for a while, but it's not something that has been done by every company or with every game.
Reward us for buying the game.
Remember, that word was reward. Not punish. Do not punish pirates or second-hand owners. That will only make your company look bad. Instead, you must be extra kind to people who bought the game new. Something as simple as throwing in a t-shirt could be the difference between $0 and $50, and since I think it'll be a while before t-shirts can be downloaded, it could prove to be damn effective. Any die-hard fan would kill for that t-shirt, and if it's only available with the game, you can bet your ass they'll buy it.
The problem is, most of the time when companies do this, it's only during the time of pre-orders. These incentives should stay with the game at least 2-3 months after release (forever is a better option for gamers, but I can understand cutting it off after 2 months. This IS a business, and since you're not charging extra for the buyers' reward - or else you're doing it wrong - you probably have to end that some time).
Remember, something as simple as that worthless coin that came with Super Mario Galaxy
pre-orders could be enough to turn some pirates into buyers. But if you keep the swag with the game for an extra 2-3 months, it could do wonders.