"Unfortunately, the truth is that due to recent findings of illegal copying and online distribution (piracy) of our products, Wizards of the Coast has decided to cease the sales of online PDFs. We are exploring other options for digitial distribution of our content and as soon as we have any more information I'll get it to you."
That's great, except that the PDFs sold are mostly out-of-print game guides of previous editions. If you are not aware, WoTC is the current owner of the popular Dungeons & Dragons tabletop and role-playing game, among other things, and D&D have at the time of writing four editions. That means books on the previous three editions are out of print. Many gamers prefer to play an edition of their choice (each edition has a different set of rules and such) and therefore, for many of them, legal digital PDF files from places like RPG Now, RPG Drivethrough, and Paizo are a way to get the out-of-print books without coughing up expensive amounts of dough on eBay.
And now WoTC decides to ban all PDF sales altogether as they "explore other options"? Hmm.
I'm confused. Are they trying to cut down piracy or are they cutting off completely all legal options available and forcing people to resort to piracy to get those out of print books?
Piracy is especially rampant when it comes to gaming because those books are not cheap. I am not involved in the scene, but my second son is, and I have seen players buying a player's handbook and then photocopying it so that five or six people can have access to the rules in order to play. And these are adults. I can only imagine college students resorting to getting pirated versions of these books from their favorite P2P portals because the cost of these books is, frankly, high.
I can't help thinking that perhaps a better way to combat piracy in this particular genre is to issue cost-effective, affordable versions of those handbooks and what not. Perhaps a paperback version, with either black-and-white images or even no images, just bare crunch and fluff? That way, people can choose between purchasing the "collector's item" style expensive hardcover with its gorgeous (if merely ornamental) illustrations or the "economy edition" with just crunch and fluff without the expensive pretty. Of course, this doesn't mean piracy will automatically disappear, but this method will also allow people an alternative to piracy.
PS: If you want to comment to say, "If you can't afford it, you don't deserve to own it!", can you please not do so? Such argument serves no purpose other than to accuse people of being criminals and such, and in turn causes other people to show up to defend the practice, and the whole thing turns into another e-peen competition on who gets the last word. When it comes to issues like piracy, I personally believe that if we are to have a reasonable discussion about it, we should talk about solutions rather than accuse people who participate in it as villains, criminals, perverts, deviants, or whatever.