All of the retail games I've purchased have been installed with a nocd patch - that's the only way to play! Thank goodness for the cracking groups that add so much value to the original programs.
That's exactly what I used to do until Steam came along. But it irritated me that in order to use a game properly I had to apply a crack just because publishers decided I needed to keep a disc in. It also gets rid of the other thing I can't stand - installers. It just downloads through the Steam client and I don't have to put up with installers that go fullscreen or play music.
Also, apart from supporting developers the one and only thing that keeps me from pirating every single game is being able to touch the box.. open the manual for no reason at all (maybe to smell it?) because no sane person has to read in it.. and have the sense that I actually ACQUIRED something that makes up for the 49 euros out of my wallet.
So you don't really care for gaming but like cheap, flimsy booklets? Yeah, that's not at all irrational.
How can they be "completely anonymous" when they have your CC info?
What? you don't think they correlate the info they collect with your account info?
No, I don't think they do. The hardware survey is opt-in and their business model is based around selling games, so they don't have any need to exploit user data like other companies. Sure it's not impossible that they correlate the data but I'd say it's highly paranoid to assume they do. And even if they do... what harm is there? Oh no, please save me from advertising that is actually relevant to my tastes. Please!