You have some excellent points Ryan. Great article.
Studios paint pirates as evil people who want the world for free. They love to harp on the fact that they are losing money, but that very argument always implies that the people getting games for free would have paid for them otherwise. This is rarely the case. $60 is a lot of money for entertainment, and with some of the crap that's being developed, you really have to question how much entertainment you're getting for $60.
I pirate games all of the time. I have a couple of consoles, a powerful PC, and a small collection of legitimate games. I was quite willing to pay for (most of) them, because I honestly wanted and enjoyed them. I also have a pile of pirated games. Most of these I just wanted to try out and few, if any, did I play more than a day or two. I refuse to buy a $60 game just to find out that I don't like it. Sure, sometimes you can rent them and see if you like them, but that's not often a choice with PCs, digital distribution, and subscriptions. Even demos and trials don't work because companies will make the demo good enough to get you to buy, only for the full thing to be sub-par.
As always, the companies miss the big picture: lost sales can't always be made. Your example of a $60 game to a family with a $3400 annual income is perfect proof. It doesn't matter how good that game is, $60 is just not affordable. It's impractical. It's ludicrous, even. Even to an "average American family" $60 is a considerable amount of money. As a university student, and now as a new graduate with several tens of thousands of dollars of debt, $60 is an amount I can only pay for a lasting gaming experience, and only a few times a year. Driving piracy into the ground isn't going to convince me to forgoe student loan payments so that I can buy a new game, it's just going to prevent me from playing the game.
The people the studios really need to hit are the ones who can and would pay for the game, but pirate anyway because it's easy enough and saves them $60. There's no clear way to do that right now, especially because it only takes a crack from a single person to make a piratable by an entire population. This is the demographic the studios spend hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to thwart, and considering the numbers, it seems unlikely that that investement rarely pays off.