Spore’s Big Mistake: EA’s Brush with DRM

Posted by | September 23, 2008

With almost 3,000 reviews, the nearly 2,500 negative 1-star reviews have crushed the rating of this game to the floor, causing it to plummet from whatever it might have rested had EA not created this blunder by providing security what many users are touting as, “Draconian.”

DRM, Digital Rights Management, is the currently battleground between consumers and producers in the software sphere (and other places) but in few places is it as heartfelt as in the vein of video gaming. Gamers are a staunch bunch who come in many varieties, almost all diehard fans of the media, Internet savvy, and capable of understanding how to speak their minds in a crisis.

When news of the DRM on Spore spread to the Internet like wildfire fans of Spore and enemies of DRM alike descended upon the hapless video game’s Amazon.com review page and gave unto it a proper thrashing that EA will probably not long forget. Even as of the posting of this article—more than two weeks after it’s release—Spore has only crept up to 1.5 stars from where it was at 1 even before it’s release.

EA walked directly into a minefield with their use of DRM in Spore creating a watershed event of upset and anger from users who argue that their policies do little to stop piracy—in fact a cracked version of the game arrived zero-day—and does more to punish the actual consumers who paid lawfully for the game. At the crux of the matter is EA’s only-3-installs policy which the DRM enforces, causing users who commonly remove and add video games to suddenly be unable to play the game again after the 3rd install without calling a help line and jumping through tedious hoops (no mention of how they’ll play the game lawfully should EA go out of business.)

Others are equally bothered by the long term sight that DRM such as this will make it impossible for them to put the game up for resale should they tire of it.

Worse, it has been discovered that the DRM software that Spore runs can sabotage certain computers and DVD burners, rendering them unusable until the offending software is removed. Although we haven’t been able to verify this from any primary gaming news site. There has also been mention that in order for the DRM to do its buisness it bypasses much of the security of the OS and it does not get removed when the game is removed. These two problems are common to a lot of DRM schemes so may exist in this one or may have been conflated from other schemes into this one by opponents.

Amazon.com User Response to Spore DRM

Amazon.com User Response to Spore DRM


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