Hmm....fascinating. So your saying that they release games unfinished on purpose as a weapon in the war against piracy.
That is not exactly what I am saying. They do release unfinished games, and only unfinished games. The primary reason for this is because they believe in providing ongoing support and updates for games for years after release, so their games are basically never finished.
The games they do release are complete games, playable games, games that can be played and won or lost without a single update or patch on most systems (there will always be bugs on some systems with any game). So the game is "fully playable", but not "finished" on release.
That's one I've never heard before. Do you have any links to them saying that?
I don't believe they have ever said it that directly, but if I recall correctly Brad has made statements about the fact that you can only get updates if you have a valid Impulse copy of the game and an Impulse account, and that the ongoing updates for their games are part of the way they encourage people to purchase them rather than just pirate. I am having trouble finding specific quotes right now, but I am sure I can find them in a little while if I look around.
I would also say that all this is not 100% intentional, and not 100% for the purpose of dealing with piracy. I think Stardock feels comfortable releasing a game as soon as it is fully playable in part for the reasons I mentioned, and in part because they believe that their customers, the ones that they know will buy the game, know that they provide support and improvements for years to come and will stick with them for the long haul. So they are willing to go "gold" knowing they will have a massive day 0 patch that will greatly improve the game, and then day 5, 12, 30, 48, 70, etc. patches to make the game far better still.
I would think that this would be a very short term solution at best as pirates could just wait for the final version to come out and pirate that. Plus it carries with it all of the bad PR from reviews of an unfinished game.
Since the final version is a couple years away at best they really can't wait that long. Basically games tend to get pirated in the first month, then the pirates move on. So if a major update comes down 6 months from now and you want it you are probably going to have to pirate it yourself or just buy the game.
As to PR, the games they release aren't unfinished, and are only minimally buggy. They are playable, and should return decent reviews. Also, since they don't get the massive attention of a game like Starcraft II, or even Mafia II, they don't have to send out a lot of pre-release version for review. They tend to get a fair number of reviews based on the post-day 0 versions, which results in better reviews.