Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Unable to comprehend the Spore DRM controversy

I'm not really surprised that Heartless, being Heartless, uses rather strong language on the announcement that Spore will have some DRM (Digital Rights Management) features to prevent piracy. I was a bit more surprised when Darren, normaly a Common Sense Gamer, chimed in and likewise declared he wouldn't buy Spore just because it had that protection. Both of them happily (or in the case of Heartless unhappily) play MMORPGs all the time, and every MMORPG by its very nature has an even stronger DRM protection than Spore announced. You simply can't play World of Warcraft if you aren't logged in. Why would I object against Spore having to log in every 10 days? My computer is online all the time anyway, and if I had a 10+ day internet outage, Spore stopping to work would be the least of my problems.

Gaming Steve has news from Maxis on Spore DRM, pointing out the obvious advantage of online DRM compared to previous piracy protection methods: You can play Spore without having the DVD in the drive. Woot! Yippee! I find that is a *huge* improvement. I don't see why I should be annoyed about having to authenticate myself when I want to download new content, patches, or online feature. You *can* play Spore offline, and you *can* install it on multiple computers.

I really hope that this new DRM system manages to diminish software piracy a bit. Some people think of piracy as a victimless crime, but that isn't true. There are several good game studios that have gone under or been forced to sell out because while lots of people played their games, less than half of their players had actually paid for them. If you are playing a pirated game, you are effectively stealing the companies development budget for the next game.

Software piracy is also a huge influence on the old "PC games are dying" discussion. Game companies report that the same game sells 4 to 5 times more on consoles than on a PC, just because it is so much harder to pirate a console game. Crysis was pirated so often, that the makers of the game Crytek declared they would stop making PC-only titles. When people say that making PC games is still profitable they automatically cite World of Warcraft, which as I already said above has a DRM which is a lot more stringent than Spore, and installs a lot nastier hidden software on your computer than SecureROM. PC gaming is profitable because of DRM. Yes, DRM can be annoying to legit buyers sometime, but I much rather have a online-based DRM system than a disc-based DRM system.

So I really can't understand people who won't buy a game just because it has DRM. But if they don't buy it, it still doesn't matter, because for every copy of Spore that isn't sold because of DRM protection, there will be 5 copies that are sold because somebody else found that he couldn't pirate the game.
The difference is this:

WoW requires the connection to even function, by its very nature.

The DRM in Spore requires the connection on the assumption that you are a thief.

The network ... is a dongle.
A game that has a limited number of activations cannot easily be resold, and a lot of gamers depend on that in order to afford everything they want.

Take Mass Effect. I'd almost certainly sell it (or trade it) after finishing, but this new activation scheme makes that all but impossible. For me, that represents added cost, since I can no longer recoup any of my money back by reselling it.
They've already announced that they will NOT be using the DRM in question. ( Just another case of the internet backlash causing them to rethink a very poor initial decision.

As far as DRM goes as a whole, I'd point developers to Stardock, and tell them all to learn from their example.
Stardock's provides many patches/updates... which you get online by registering your game.

Spore will provide a lot of content online as well.

I would say they really do not need the DRM though, access to all the online content should be reason enough to buy the game.
The main problem with it was not having to re-register every ten days, but the fact that you only get three activations. What happens to the honest gamer if, say, your hard drive goes out, you upgrade, you need to give Windows it's yearly wipe? Once you activate the game three times, you have to buy a new copy of the game in order to play.

As someone who actually maintains Windows the way it is supposed to be maintained - THAT is what I objected to the most.
I agree with grimmtooth -

Spore is being billed, at least it's been interpreted that way by people I've talked to, as a single player game with additional Internet related gameplay. That means that I could buy this game and play it even if I never have Internet connectivity - which not everyone does. If the game were marketed as an online title only I wouldn't have an issue with this type of of protection.

Anyway, I believe they've backtracked already and said they will only check with the game updates - which to me is acceptable because it doesn't lock out those without constant Internet connection.
Not everyone objecting to DRM is an Ebil Pir8.

Personally I'm absolutely sick of having perfectly good games, which I'd paid good money for, simply stop working the next time I do anything unforeseen with my PC (New/Different CD drive, upgraded/reinstalled OS, etc, etc)

These swish DRM companies really don't give a toss about long-term after-sales support, and why would they? It's no new money for them.

Off the top of my head; Thief: Deadly Shadows, Spellforce, Wizardy 8, both NWN1 expansions and Dawn of War - all games I used to enjoy playing, and now cannot without going off to find a CD crack or similar - essentially pirating my own games! (Granted, some of those aren't especially any good, but that's not the point!)

Little wonder I'm skipping Bioshock, Mass Effect and Spore - I don't *rent* games.

DRM done in a half-arsed fashion, ("We don't care..that game is over a year old and we want to sell something else now!") is worse than no DRM at all.
/tinfoil hat on
/begin rant

One of the things I like least about DRM that requires continual "re-activation" is that it makes your ability to play a game you bought reliant on the vendor's continued active permission. If the vendor goes out of business, is bought out by another company, or simply makes a business decision to stop providing activation you lose the ability to play your game.

Don't believe companies would leave you high and dry? Just take a look at Microsoft and its turning off of the Playsure music service. Their solution for loyal customers -- just keep your music on your existing hard drives forever -- never upgrade hardware, never reformat -- and the music you paid for should keep working.

I'm not a software pirate and I'm happy to autheticate my software before using it and again whenever I want to get patches o updates or use any option that requires Internet connectivity.

I think the Spore DRM goes unreasonably beyond that and I'm glad to see they did comprehend why it was controversial and changing their plans. We'll see if the new solution is better...
Tobold, your view is a bit myopic on this case.

You would rather connect every 10 days to re-validate the game license and continue playing. You play WoW and understand MMO's.

However, not everyone is able to easily connect every 10 days. Spore is not an MMO. The single-player nature of the game is such that it is a good option for those without connectivity.

Consider this backlash from someone traveling without broadband or living in a rural area with awful dialup:

"Wow, I'd love to play WoW, but I can't. I know, I'll grab a copy of Spore so I can play it any time I want, no matter where I am!"

10 days go by, game stops. What you have there is a very angry customer.
Why not distribute the game on Steam? I rather buy my games on Steam than going to the store.
Tobold, I'm not much of a computer geek, so please elaborate a little more with respect to this sentence of yours: "World of Warcraft, which as I already said above has a DRM which is a lot more stringent than Spore, and installs a lot nastier hidden software on your computer than SecureROM."

What nasty hidden software are we talking about here?
With a console, if a game company goes under I can still play their game for years to come. With many DRM'ed PC titles, if the parent company goes under and doesn't put out a fix, my game could stop working because it is not supported anymore. Like Van Hemlock said, "I don't rent games". I will buy Mass Effect though. Damn them.
Capn John, perhaps he refers to WARDEN.
"While the game is running, Warden uses API function calls to collect data on open programs on the user's computer and sends it back to Blizzard servers as hash values to be compared to those of known cheating programs" (wikipedia)
Warden, the WoW pre-launch software.

It basically performs a scan of all WoW related files to make sure you did not edit them. It works well, but in a lot of ways it goes a lot further in it's search than most DRM software.

I agree with Tobold here, I can't believe people get this upset over a simple internet check. I find the 'insert cd' method ten times more annoying than a simple online check.
What nasty hidden software are we talking about here?

Warden, a piece of spyware that makes WoW stop working if it finds third party software it doesn't like on your harddrive.

I don't rent games

You do. You rent EVE, WoW, and every other MMORPG. With online features such a big part of the Spore attraction, why should I consider Spore to be different than WoW?

Once you activate the game three times, you have to buy a new copy of the game in order to play.

Or you simply call customer service to reactivate the authentication key.
In those cases, I'm knowingly entering into a service contract then? Whichever - you know what I mean.

I wouldn't object to online verification so much if I knew the thing would still be there, three, four years down the road. I still have an Asheron's Call 2 shaped paperweight that I keep for glaring at purposes!

It's the casual disregard for people who might possibly want to *gasp* play an old game they already have, rather than buy a brand new one, that gets my goat.
While I don't think it's needed to validate yourself over and over --forever, many of the complaints most of you are making, are for things that are already being done in other types of software, Adobe for example, and have been for quite some time now. Itunes, anyone?

Sucks for someone who is rural, sure -- but most things are going this way, like it or not.
Other folks have mentioned the fact that you're effectively leasing the game, not truly purchasing it and that the game is over when the producer decides to pull the plug.

I'd challenge the notion that DRM would force a significant number of people to pay for the game who otherwise wouldn't. Someone who's playing the game for free isn't a lost sale.. it's someone who didn't think your game is worth the price you're charging. That's a huuuge difference: if you give them the ultimatum of "pay up or don't play" and they pick "don't play", you still won't have their money. Worse, you'll be nerfing your own marketing dollars if the excluded players decide to feel sore about it and start a meme on game sites talking about how much your game sucked anyway and how they're all looking forward to SOME_COMPETITORS_GAME coming out in 3 months.

I'd also point out that WoW is still at least technically playable (although not according to the ToS) via private servers even after Blizzard has shutdown their clusters and moved on to World of StarCraft.
It's so easy to blame piracy for everything. I actually searched through my bookmarks to see if I had saved a link to a really good page that gave something like the 10 most used excuses why piracy is the fault for everything and said what was wrong with it. Unfortunately I apparently didn't bookmark it. I did however find another good link.

I like this quote the most:

Blaming piracy is easy. But it hides other underlying causes. When Sins popped up as the #1 best selling game at retail a couple weeks ago, a game that has no copy protect whatsoever, that should tell you that piracy is not the primary issue.

And on a personal level, I didn't buy Sins but I certainly would have if the game had been something for me. I will definitely support those that think more about the customers that pay than those that don't.
Actually tobold I think you are wrong. All the piracy numbers that corporations throw out are world wide. Do you really think all the people in china, india and africa that don't buy 50 dollar games and instead pirate them will buy the games?

No. This whole discussion is and always has been one of those things that make people take thier eyes off the real ball.

Remember when the music industry was going to die because tape recorders were made available (by sony....oh the irony) to the general consumer. Then CD's saved them but OH NO! the cd burner was the end of the world. Now it's MP3 downloads. The dumb thing about it is MP3 downloads are almost free distribution. They can cut thier price and still make a fortune.

And games are no different. good games will keep selling and bad games won't. Most pirates will not buy the game if they can't hack it. They'll just move on to the one they can. Because some of them are poor, some of them are greedy, and some of them are just plain unethical and aren't ever going to buy a game retail anyway.

But it sounds good in the board room when sales are off to tell the stockholders how the evil pirates are destroying your business model and that its not your fault for losing your feel for your customer.

And tobold I can see a couple of reasons right off the bat. Only about 30 or 40 percent of the world has broadband. Guess they are screwed. I'm a tech I upgrade and rebuild my computers all the time how may times do I get to reinstall it before I have to buy another copy.

And as Grimmtooth pointed out. The suits are assuming I'm a thief and they have to treat me the guy that actually bought the box as one.

I'll just let all those devs go broke and give up gaming first. I'm with heartless on this one. And I've watched this same sad song play out several times over my life and the industry screaming its doomed always keeps making more money but manages to fudge the statistics to show you why they aren't making enough.
In general I think most PC games need to be kept as a "product" instead of the "service" model that DRM tries to enforce. While MMOs are sucessful service models most people can't afford to play more then one or two. If all PC games start using DRM to switch over to a service model then I'm sure it wouldn't be long before the concept of fees for additional installs or patch content would appear.

How funny would it be if you got a new computer and couldn't install Spore on it until you added another install credit to your Spore account? Plus no matter what types of online verification SecuRom requires there is going to be a pirated hack pretty soon after it releases. In the end only the paying customers are effected by the troubles of DRM.

Also I bought Sins of the Solar Empire a couple months ago and I'm glad it made companies that scream about piracy eat humble pie.
I believe the Blizzard v. MDY case might make a good case for using DRM to protect copyright. As I understand it, Blizzard’s major challenge in that case is connecting Warden to Copyright protection. If you circumvent a technological measure, the measure has to be protecting someone from infringing an exclusive right under the copyright act (Warden and Scan.dll do not). Otherwise, there must be some malicious intent to harm Blizzard by MDY and simply wanting to make a profit by creating a product that interferes with a contract is not malicious. People are allowed to interfere with contracts.

In other words, Blizzard stands a good shot at losing that case because Warden simply protects a contract rather than actual copyright. If Warden also acted as DRM to protect copyright, then they would have a MUCH stronger legal position against anyone circumventing it. I made the point on both Keen’s and Darren’s blogs that the use of DRM might be a bit less about pirating and more about ensuring they have legal protection against Glider-like products.

For whatever reason, everyone seems to think it’s ok when our privacy is trampled on when it protects us from cheaters. It’s only when it prevents us from stealing that people get upset about it. I think it’s ludicrous to get upset about DRM when Warden is a far far more sinister, nasty and blatant violation of your rights than any copy protection ever invented. Even worse, there is no transparency into what Warden actual does on your computer and no one has any clue what it does and doesn’t do. Greg Hoglund, for example, hasn’t looked at it in over a year and wouldn’t find anything out in about the current iteration even if he did. A malcontent Blizzard employee could use Warden to distribute a nasty piece of code that collected personal information and no one in any online community would be any wiser for it. And yet… In Blizzard we trust. Save us from the Bots!

Of course, we still have bots and Warden can be circumvented by anyone who does a Google search in under an hour. Hmm. I guess our privacy is just being violated for no reason at all.
that's a good point sid but the main difference is this. Wow is an online game and warden is there to prevent cheating in the game. I knew about it in advance and it only works when I launch the progam and connect to the internet. It's not there to prevent Piracy thats done server side with accounts.

Drm that restricts my use of a single player game is a different animal all together. Are they going to gaurrantee they'll provide a patch when they shut down their system so I can keep using It?

And as others have stated and history has shown. it'll still be cracked. It reminds me of when I worked for the state of texas. All the criminals knew that if you photocopied a legal document and altered it, that they'd only commited a misdomeaner. The only people that actually got caught forging government documents were the silly uniformed people who'd never tried it before.

Criminals will break every system you come up with. Most non criminals (the majority believe it or not) will buy the game if they want to play it. Assuming they can afford it. And adding the people who can't afford it, (mainly in develooping countries) to piracy loss statistics is like inflating body counts in war zones by adding in all the dead animals, and makes about as much sense.

But as we all know statistics can say whatever you want them too.
This really has nothing to do with Warden or MDY.

My take-away from this whole episode is that we all need to remember not everyone is like us. Not everyone has broadband, not everyone has an epic flying mount, not everyone is fine with software phoning home and reporting its usage (privacy issues? nawww). Not everyone is the same.

It's very easy to look at something like this and just say, "Aww, it's no biggie, deal with it". But then when you can't play Spore because your 'net is broken (which is why you're playing it instead of WoW!), you'll have a better understanding of what other people have to deal with regularly.
SecuROM has done really nasty draconian shit in the past like fuck up your DVD-ROM (for ALL uses). I believe this political protest aspect went over your head. It's mostly about SecuROM, not DRM per se. Plus the "checking back every 10 days no matter what" and limiting installs sounded big brotherish. Simply checking when logging into their online stuff is far less weird.
Or you simply call customer service to reactivate the authentication key.

"Simply" is not a description I'd use for calling EA - they're notorious for the poor quality and long response times of their customer service, and in this case they've refused to state any conditions for reactivating an authentication key, only that it will be done on a case-by-case basis.

This means the licensing contract (which is apparently how they prefer to view buying things now) for Spore and Mass Effect contains no guarantees I'll be able to play these games once my three activations are up. Given the frequency with which I reinstall Windows or upgrade my system, I'm guessing I have a year before I get to play the EA customer service lottery.

No, thanks. Until they come up with a more reasonable DRM scheme, (one that doesn't involve vague promises that they'll consider letting me play longer if they feel like it) I won't be giving them money. Too bad, I was looking forward to both Mass Effect and Spore.
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Aufero nailed it. I'm not a console owner, so maybe someone can answer this for me - do console games have these same schemes, or can you sell a console game once you finish?
furthermore, by developing or licensing DRM features, game makers are increasing the cost of the game to the consumer. If you're someone who was already going to buy the game, you're now paying more money for a feature you don't want or need. If the game now costs more than what you would normally pay for a game, the maker has lost a customer. And people who pirate for the sake of piracy are either going to go-around DRM or not play at all.

DRM in WoW makes sense because the enjoyment of the game can be affected by "cheaters" (imagine PVP with even more hacks than there already are); and you have less "rights" since you're playing on Blizzard's servers and not your own. But why should my machine and my play experience be affected due to what AnonymousSporeUser is doing with their version of the game?
Game companies report that the same game sells 4 to 5 times more on consoles than on a PC

Games companies exaggerate wildly. The quote is from Crytek, and Crysis sold a million; the only console shooters selling 4-5 times more than that are the Halo series (which are aberrations in much the same way as WoW is an aberration in MMO subscriber terms), and maybe Call of Duty 4.

for every copy of Spore that isn't sold because of DRM protection, there will be 5 copies that are sold because somebody else found that he couldn't pirate the game.

Mmm. Or perhaps another 0.0005 copies sold, if holds for bigger games.
While requiring the DVD to be in to play a game is very irritating, it's nothing compared to not being able to play the single player game I purchased. I am in the US Navy, and often I'm out to sea for more than 10 days. I'd be really pissed off if I had to stop playing after 10 days for no good reason. Playing games with a huge scope like CIV4 and NWN is one of the things that keeps me sane when I've been out to sea for a few weeks without WoW, I would be quite disappointed if I couldn't play this game I have really been looking forward too because of a truly arbitrary authentication process.
DRM doesn't solve anything, it simply defers accountability for low sales. "We put in DRM, but they cracked it anyway, it's not our fault sales were low!!"

Or there's this opinion:
1) DRM doesn't work. Every game is cracked shortly after it's released.

2) DRM adds no value to the paying customer. In fact, it adds negative value, very often making it harder for the paying customer to play the game.

2a) A person who pirates the game gets a higher quality product than a person who pays for it. The pirated copy has 0 irritations and in the case of Securom, often performs much better.

3) Comparing MMOs to single player games is an apples-to-oranges comparison. For an MMO, I am paying a monthly fee to access the servers that are hosted by the company. The servers and online content *are* the game, and without them the product is worthless. In a single player game, I have purchased the product to run on *my* hardware, no further interaction with the company is necessary.

4) I expect the single player games I purchase to work for as long as I choose. For a game that requires periodic "authentication" with a company's servers, there is no reason to believe this will be the case in 5-10 years. I still play games like System Shock, and if it had a DRM system like Mass Effect/Spore had, I would be unable to play it today.

5) I'm a customer, not a criminal. Treat me as such and I will gladly buy your products. Video games are a luxury item and I can happily live my life without a DRM-infested game. There are plenty of other ways to spend by disposable income and free time.
I wonder what type of protection scheme Fallout 3 will have.
What actually happens is that the game gets cracked and the pirates can use it with no restriction while the paying customer with a poorer experience than the pirate.

Ask the people who purchased music from MSN Music how well DRM has worked out for them.

The people who write these games deserve to get paid but DRM is not the answer.
As a side note, I personally am unlikely to buy Spore or any other game that has DRM.

The fact that I'm anonymous is the point, there's a lot of us out here who won't and will never say anything.
It's the "3" activations part that is the deal breaker for me. It seems like EA is taking this opportunity to "renegotiate" what owning a game means.

I won't fork out 60 bucks unless for "3 installs". I was actually ok with the "phoning home" part.

It's the "3" activations part that is the deal breaker for me. It seems like EA is taking this opportunity to "renegotiate" what owning a game means.

Well said. A lot of good points in this thread.
1) DRM doesn't work. Every game is cracked shortly after it's released.

2) DRM adds no value to the paying customer. In fact, it adds negative value, very often making it harder for the paying customer to play the game.

So you don't have a lock at the door of your house / appartment? Because everyone knows that any good burglar can crack a lock, and the lock adds no value to the house owner. In fact, it adds negative value, making it harder for the house owner to enter his own house.

But the lock at your house door isn't designed to keep a master burglar out. It is designed to keep the petty thief out. And so is DRM. If the DRM system prevents little Timmy from passing his copy of Spore to all his buddies at school, and so some of them are forced to buy the game for themselves, the DRM program easily pays for itself. Plus it puts more money in the pocket of the game company to develop the next game.
>But the lock at your house door
>isn't designed to keep a master
>burglar out. It is designed to keep
>the petty thief out.

Except that these DRM locks don't even keep the pretty thief out. Even relatively inept users can download a cracked game and be up and running.

While we're doing silly analogies...

With phone home DRM it's like giving the keys to your bank and asking them to open the house for you every time you want to get in. After all they own your house. They should be able to control when you can make use of it.

After all it worked well for Microsoft when they shut out all their users from the music they paid for. What you paid for that AND you expect to have the right to use it forever? Crazy!
So you don't have a lock at the door of your house / appartment? Because everyone knows that any good burglar can crack a lock, and the lock adds no value to the house owner. In fact, it adds negative value, making it harder for the house owner to enter his own house.

But the lock at your house door isn't designed to keep a master burglar out. It is designed to keep the petty thief out. And so is DRM. If the DRM system prevents little Timmy from passing his copy of Spore to all his buddies at school, and so some of them are forced to buy the game for themselves, the DRM program easily pays for itself. Plus it puts more money in the pocket of the game company to develop the next game.

True enough but it also inconviences Little Tommies parents who pay the bills and buy the game. Every gamer has had the nightmare of a bad protection scheme at least once and probably more than that. The play disc that doesn't work, the secure rom DVD mess. SONY"s rootkit that made everyone's system vulnerable to hackers.

Part of selling the game is customer service. And all of the DRM solutions are cumbersome or worse on the "good Paying" customers you want to keep.

And I've stated earlier. A huge huge chunk of those piracey numbers come from Asia, Africa, and india. I'd like to see the piracy numbers only in the first world countries. Because till we see those numbers we are mixing apples and oranges to justify the pear harvest.
We all know that games are going to be cracked. The point of DRM isn't solely to prevent/delay this from happening (although that's certainly a concern).

In the past, almost all of the games you bought came on physical media (CDs, DVDs, etc...). In order to play the game, you needed to have the disk in the drive. We all agree that this was annoying. But this restriction was necessary to prevent what I like to call "casual piracy" -- that is, buying a game and then giving it to your immediate friends. Consider what would happen if you bought a game and gave it to just one of your friends -- if everyone did this, the sales of the game would be halved!

Enter the internet age. Let's face it -- digital downloads are the way of the future. In 5-10 years, nobody is going to go to Best Buy to get games unless they want the in-box swag. Instead, people are going to download games from home. You can already do this with most (all?) of EA's recent titles at the EA store. One important thing to note: digital download = no disc.

So how does one prevent casual piracy with a digital download? One answer is exactly what you've seen -- take a profile of the computer the game was installed on and save that in a database, then do authentication. In this sense, having 3 activations is quite generous -- you could buy a game and give it to 2 of your friends and you could all play it! That's a lot of potential lost sales for a company.

That said, as gamers, we're all worried about what happens when our machines change. If you need more activations, you can always get in contact with EA customer service and request more.

In the future, as these kinds of authentication schemes mature, customers will be able to actively manage their activations (eg. see a list of which machines have been authenticated for use and explicitly deauthenticate them so you can perform an install on a new machine) -- but the systems aren't quite there yet.

One point I definitely agree with is the "lifespan problem". What happens when the authentication backend is taken down because it is no longer economically feasible for the company to maintain it? Then how will players be able to authenticate? One obvious solution is to release a patch that removes the need to authenticate. By the time this happens the game will likely be old enough that it simply won't matter any more.

Another solution is to move away from an activation model to a revocation model. Instead of having to activate every X days, the game checks every X days to see whether your license should be revoked. No internet access? Play as long as you want. This fixes the issue of those who want to play the game offline for extended periods of time (eg. US troops stationed in Iraq). It also fixes the problem of the authentication server lifespan problem -- when the revocation server is taken down, no more games will ever be revoked, so anybody with a working copy could install/play forever. I suspect we'll begin to see this one crop up more often in the near future.

Let's face the facts -- despite games like Stardock's Sins of a Solar Empire (DRM free) selling well, one of the reasons gaming companies LOVE consoles because piracy issues aren't near as prevalent there. As long as casual and non-casual piracy is an issue on the PC, gaming companies will continue to view PC gaming as secondary to console gaming. And that would be a shame.
I have mass effect on pc and have had no trouble playing it
From my point of veiw it appears that you just have 2 regester your game on the net if u want downloadable content.
I have just bought a new pc and will not need an upgrade for ages so i will be buying spore despite the limited activations.

Ps: dont like Drm dont download the contenr
Well the DRM sure as heck didn't slow down the pirates. They had it before it came out in the store.

It's like building a car with locks on the doors, and then including a button underneath to unlock it.
You can't play Spore without the disc. And, as of posting this, I still can't get online in Spore. Thousands have posted on the EA forums, having the same problem. The DRM is broken.
EAs dracoian DRM garbage has driven many, many users to simply pirating the game.

Think about it. The pirated version doesnt try to wtfpwn your system and you can install it as many times as you like.

Thanks EA, for making the torrent so active that a user can pull in the entire DVD in just a few hours..
Gaming Steve isn't even a real person just a PR device for marketing the sites customers titles.
Don´t talk about piracy, it don´t stop it. I can get a pirate copy of Mass effect easily on a pirate vendor near my house. And this game uses the same DRM as Spore. Spore was out in torrent sites before it was out in the stores. I like the cd requirement thing rather than have to spent 30 minutes in the phone in working time to get another activation, IF the service is still avaible when I need it. This DRM is about stoping the Second hand market, but they ignore that second hand exists beacuse people don´t want to pay the full price for it. If it´s over, they won´t pay the full price ANYWAY. Get it?
OK, here's an additional issue with Spore's DRM that you folks might not have heard of yet, but is lighting up the EA boards and the negative Amazon reviews. Page 52 of the Spore manual plainly states: "You may have multiple Spore accounts for each installation of the game." As someone who LEGALLY BOUGHT this game, I can tell you this is a bald-faced lie. In order for my wife to have her own character on the game (get her own achievements, make progress through the game, etc) we are forced to buy another copy of the game! This is not like any MMO under the sun, that lets you have multiple, independent characters, or any other single-player game that lets you have multiple profiles to play the game under. You can't even go back to a previous game save and have someone else play your same character differently. It flat out won't let you. You are only allowed 1 game save, which is your current game. If you try to log onto the sporopedia with a different account, it assumes you're a pirate and says the authentication code is already attached to a different account. The exact opposite to the manual quote above. Yes, you can play offline, but that defeats the purpose of Spore's main selling point because you have no access to the (6 million and counting) content everybody is putting online!

As someone who payed good money for the game I can attest that all this does is drive honest customers to pirate games. I might as well start trolling the warez sites to find some way to crack this. Give me a fucking break, EA!!
wow, i see you posted this article a few months back, but even that shouldn't be an excuse.

imagine if your car had a 40 mile long range tied into the engine. granted, somewhere around 80% of all trips taken in the USA are under that 40 mile limit, but what about the other 20% of the time?

only allowing three installs is total bullshit and everyone who actually plays games {and doesn't just sit online talking about them all day} understands that three installs is a paltry number.

as to the pirating issue... drm will never, never, never stop pirating. if someone wrote a code to create drm, someone out there can figure out the code to crack the drm.

look around on any torrent site. spore was leaked, fully functional {without the EA downloads} days before you could buy it in stores.
Spore was successfully pirated days before the official release of the game. The pirated version although missing the online content sharing features basically rips the full SecuROM DRM out of Spore.

With this fact in mind you should reformat your statment that "for every 1 not sold because of DRM 5 will be sold because it cant be pirated" too

"for every 1 not due to DRM, one more pirated version will be downloaded instead due to DRM."

And this is the opinion of someone who has nothing against the EULA or DRM that Spore comes with, given that working in the industry I see it as standard.

The only losers here are EA.
Why is everyone MISSING THE POINT.

Its not the authentication that most of us have a problem with.


I have a gaming laptop, I installed spore. It crashed alot on vista. I installed it on my desktop and it's running like a dream in low graphic version. I figured out the problem with my laptop and got the harddrive fixed. Now if I install spore back on it so it'll use all the graphics settings on max and look like it should I'll have used up my 3 installs and have to contact EA's support for 1 more unlock when I need it again who knows when in the future. AT THAT TIME they might not even have the system working anymore. Thus I'm renting a game that I can't make a backup copy of, that I can't install more then 3 times without giving a tech on the phone a ton of personal info so they know I'm not stealing a product I already own.
I must be the only person who plays "vintage" computer games. Try enabling this game to play in 15 years. Oh wait, will they even be supporting (or remember) this product then? How many computer games do you have from 1990 that you can no longer install? I have quite a few.
Do you work in the industry? That is the only possible explanation I can come up with from this column.
Like someone else had mentioned, it's not so much the authentication check that is required every 10 days but the 3 install limitations it has.

The Original Author of this blog said that it's no big deal to call customer support afterwards to get another license key. I find this quite a hassle.

For example, I bought Fallout 1 and 2 in the late 90's. In the last decade, I've reinstalled Fallout 2 roughly a dozen times and Fallout 1 about just the same. That means, over the course of about 7 years, I would have had to call Interplay 18 times to get it re-licensed.

You see, though WoW requires that be connected to the net - that IS the nature of the game and ON TOP of that, I can reinstall WoW a hundred times and it will NEVER need me to re-license the game EVER.
I don't like paying money for a program only to have the makers of that program assume I'm a thief. EA is basically saying "We have to use DRM, because if we don't, you're all going to pirate it!"

The fact is, someone who is going to pirate the game, will do so anyways. People who will legitimately buy the game, will do so anyways. How long did the DRM on this game last before it was cracked, a day? Guess what that means... anyone who wants to pirate the game can. Meanwhile legitimate users are punished by completely unnecessary and unwarranted restrictions.

DRM doesn't work, period!
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