However, how would Quake, Doom, Starcraft, Counter-Strike, or Half-Life have been able to grow widespread brand recognition without a widespread network of gamers openly sharing these games.
Those games didn't become famous because of piracy. They are famous and incredibly successful because they were revolutionary. For example, people weren't hesistant to buy doom and needed to pirate it to make sure it was good, they knew
it was good because they saw the absolutely awesome screenshots online or in the news or on the box. Or they played the shareware.
That future-paying-thief mentality is irrational. If a person steals a carton of ice cream from the grocery store and really enjoys the taste, they don't go back the next time and buy the ice cream-- they go back and steal it again!