(re: Older games?) I’m not sure what I would do if I was running Sierra. My guess is that I would not officially authorize the products as “abandonware”, but would look the other way as people download them and pass them around.
Sierra made a lot of money (like $20 million a year during my day), selling obsolete products as compilations on CD. We would put 10-20 products on a CD and sell it for $9.95. Selling old games at a reduced cost was a material part of our revenue, and a huge chunk of our profit. Plus, it’s a win for everyone. Those who bought the cheap CDs got a lot of value for what they paid.
That said, the old 286/386 games don’t even run on most computers. But, who knows what the future holds? Perhaps a 286 based cell phone will release someday, or a PDA. It’s difficult for a company to “turn off” a potential source of future revenue.
Anyway … my sense is that most game company management teams would like to make these public domain, but can’t really if there is a chance they represent future revenue. Therefore, they ignore the piracy, but would clamp down if suddenly a way were found to monetize the older products.