I am not convinced it was possible for the majority to be serious gamers in the 80s and early 90s without pirating. Games were an expensive luxury. My family must have purchased around three legitimate games per year, and the rest of the time made do with less legal copies and hundreds upon hundreds of demo disks.
These days I can afford a couple of games a month (much more if I use the Steam sales or online shops). It's very difficult to justify piracy once the price concerns have been stripped away, though plenty'll cite some moral reason - DRM, or another unpopular change, or maybe the developer did something bad which had nothing to do with the game at all. Makes little difference to me. As far as I'm concerned, if you're morally outraged then you should have all the willpower you need to ignore the game entirely. Reasoning that you shouldn't be punished for boycotting a game by not being able to play said game speaks of a worrying sense of entitlement.