I'll be replying to @hellstorm901 here:
Well if you want a different contribution then in my honest opinion all copies of this game should indeed be destroyed and not allowed to be spread throughout Ebay and Amazon at ridiculous prices drawing in unsuspecting people and their money on the thought of "Surely it can't be that bad." I would much rather people bought a Call of Duty game or even Alien Colonial Marines Singleplayer than this game which damn near nearly destroyed the entire industry I find so much enjoyment from.
I disagree. The games buried and dug up are, for the most part, completely unplayable and in all but appearance "destroyed". A lot of them are flattened and physically broken anyway.
The game, as I said in my posts, is still cheap (10 bucks and less on ebay) to get a hold of. People buying it at this point are doing so to own a piece of gaming history, and no piece of history deserves to be completely destroyed. I'd rather have people buying up copies of the game to be able to add it to their collections of significant titles in gaming, than get rid of the truckload entirely. Destroying a constant reminder is a bad idea.
In the worst case scenario we could have seen a very different world had Nintendo not come to the rescue.
Nintendo didn't so much come to the rescue, as they tried to sell their own product. Their product succeeded where Atari's failed: It was fun and not entirely broken, something people were asking for.
But the whole centralised idea does bring about a new fear that we very much may be heading back into that same direction. We are still quite centralised in the video game industry with most of the AAA titles being under the usual suspects. If one of these businesses were to collapse it would cause some problems to the industry as a whole just look at the fall of Relic. Relic was bought up by SEGA which means SEGA now has another asset it stands to lose if their business were to collapse and unless someone bought up SEGA's assets then they would be lost for good.
Relic is a studio, not a publisher. THQ was the publisher, and THQ's assets are now with Ubisoft (South Park), SEGA (Relic / their games), Nordic Games (Darksiders, Red Faction) and Deep Silver (Volition, Saints Row, Metro).
If anything, this has decentralized THQ's franchises, giving them chances elsewhere. I know Nordic isn't rich, but they are still looking into ways to utilize THQ's IPs well. Deep Silver has done a LOT for Saints Row and Metro. Ubisoft did a lot of dumb stuff with South Park, but allowed the developers to polish it further than rushing it out to save a failing company.
SEGA has not proven jack shit as of yet. They released Company of Heroes 2, which suffers from the same problems it would have under THQ - a lot of unnecessary DLC. SEGA at least had Relic migrate Company of Heroes 1 to Steamworks instead of using the Relic servers. The question is if they'll make the switch from GfWL to Steamworks with the 40k games, not to forget Gamespy for the first Dawn of War series.
SEGA is a thorn for very different reasons than Atari, however, and I think it is counterproductive to put all the blame onto them when it comes to Aliens: Colonial Marines. That trainwreck was handed down from developer to developer, and Gearbox, who "developed" it last for SEGA, misused their funding to make Borderlands 2 instead. SEGA has been pursuing them legally for that already, as Gearbox has lied time and again about the project.
Yes, we do have a lot of big publishers out there. But we have FAR MORE small studios and teams now. We have relative newcomers like Devolver Digital, who are supporting indies left and right. We have Double Fine who, for all their failings, are trying to expand and also help indies in various ways. We have a LOT more good publishers now than just 5 years ago, and the Indie Boom is to blame for that.
If Activision goes bankrupt (which won't happen, as they have far too many successful products for that, constantly breaking records), their assets get sold off. In fact, Activision has been trying to free themselves of their parent company for a while now, as they were leeching off Activision's success and holding them down.
If EA goes down, people will cheer for sure. But fact of the matter is, their products are popular as fuck, so they will be picked up by others. It wouldn't even surprise me if, for example, Crytek themselves were to buy up their Crysis franchise. I'd be surprised if DICE wouldn't make it without EA. There are a lot of studios under EA that could do very well regardless of their publisher, if they'd scale down their projects to fit with their budget.
Also what would happen if Steam or Origin suddenly disappeared, many people buy games in the digital format now and loads of developers, including indie ones, all heavily rely on platforms like Steam to sell their games as Retail production is expensive as is operating your own digital download service on your website.
They won't go down. Origin is a rebranded service we've had for what, 5 years and more? People may hate it, but that hate is not based on actual reason for most. A lot of it is fanboyism for Steam, which has far more problems than Origin now.
Steam won't go down either. Valve takes a THIRTY PERCENT CUT of sales. 30%. They can do this shit for as long as they'd like, and their slowness when it comes to making improvements should tell you a LOT about how comfortable they are with their position. Just reading the Steam forums should say a lot for how safe they are.
And there are more than just Steam or Origin. Uplay, GOG, Greenman Gaming, Gamersgate, the list goes on. Amazon is a big player now as well. Humble has been trying to get big AAA publishers on board. There are more than enough storefronts ready to pick up where Steam fails.
I dislike the reliance on Steam, but Steam is a safe bet to survive for many many years to come. It won't simply go down. The attachment rate on Steam is too high, and people won't leave their libraries behind. There is no reason for people to move off Steam, and the fact that Valve can host big tournaments for Dota 2 now without even paying for them on their own and instead basing them solely on the community's funding should tell you how safe their position at the top is.