Just because DRM has not been an effective method to stopping piracy does not mean that its purpose is to screw customers over.
It is not exactly a big secret here, they admit it!
I would think simply not releasing patches except through in game menus or some other online way that would involve you registering your game would be sufficient and much more preferred than any conventional form of DRM.
I agree, stardock for example uses DRM, technically... however stardock DRM is meant to be unobtrusive and prevent piracy, not to screw over the consumer... this is why it is designed in such a vastly different way than traditional DRM.
I'm going to say that I don't think this is a giant conspiracy to make players rebuy games...
How can it be conspiracy when the CEOs of various companies and organizations have given public statements and press quotes saying exactly that.
Sony BGM CEO said his goal is to have people repurchase music every 6 months. The RIAA said they consider libraries to be piracy. Bill gates championed trusted computing, having said "at first we were looking at using it to stop piracy, but then we realized that documents and emails are much more valuable" in regards to the big brother tech of trusted computing.
Activation limits (EA) has only one purpose, to screw the customer. And speaking of EA, the day 0 release of separate "add ons" for dragon age which you get for free if you bought the game new and registered with their spyware program that must be running and connected to the internet while you are playing is targeted at the second hand market. (all the "extras" from dragon age are available with cracked copies)
as for consoles having no piracy... it is a bold faced lie. The consoles get modded and then you can duplicate any game from blockbuster / friend / downloaded / whatever without even needing a crack, you crack the console so you don't have to crack individual games. The current mod chips even allow stealth... recently MS banned, was it 10,000 consoles?, from playing online because they all were playing a game days before it was actually released (meaning they had all pirated it before release, and decided to go play it online days before release) that is the ONLY way for MS to catch them right now... as long as you wait until actual release, or if you don't care about your console being banned from multiplayer (which never works on cracked PC games btw) then you are golden for console piracy.
A holocaust survivor had this to say "when a man tells you he wants to kill you, believe him". I am not trying to draw holocaust parallels here... but when the major players in the DRM scene say that their purpose is to have short term lease on content that expires and needs to be repurchased, I believe them.
I think you'll find that if a service ever closed down, its licenced games would received patches that allow the player to play without the use of the service's platform. I believe Gabe Newell, from VALVe, has already stated that if Steam were ever to close - and it wouldn't be a blink-and-you'll-miss-it shut down either - then all of the games available on your Steam account would be unlocked before the shutdown.
Many have made this promise, but many companies have closed authentification servers for DRM and left their customers to rot.