Spore DRM Controversy Spawns Protest Creatures

By Nick Breckon, Sep 15, 2008 8:16pm PDT Consumers upset over the anti-piracy measures imposed on Maxis' Spore by publisher Electronic Arts are now fighting back using the game's creature creator.

Several DRM-themed, anti-EA creatures were found in the Sporepedia by GameCulture. Many make reference to Spore's use of SecuROM technology, which limits users from installing the game more than three times before having to contact Electronic Arts for further installs.

Last week, the Spore product page on Amazon.com was flooded with hundreds of negative reviews of the game, nearly all citing the title's install-limiting DRM.

In response, Electronic Arts downplayed the controversy by stating that fewer than 25 percent of users will ever install the game on more than one machine, with less than 1 percent installing on more than three computers.

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12 Threads | 70 Comments

  • Firstly, let me say this: A company that provides good customer service recognizes that the customer's PERCEPTION of the company doing wrong is just as bad as the company doing wrong. As far as customer response and his/her future action is concerned, negative perception yields the same end result for the company whether the customer is correct or not.

    Because of this, it is outright stupid to not do something about it from a company standpoint. Put aside the argument that it is correct or not. Customer perception is customer reality, and if the reality for many of your customers is poor business and service, you do something about it.

    I'm not running around grabbing statistics or taking polls on what people feel, but I've never seen backlash like I've seen now. As far as I'm concerned, the perception in a lot of customers out there is that they're being screwed. I for one have not purchased the game, although I would like to, in hopes they're going to fix the single profile per copy problem. Won't buy it until then though.

    So that's my opinion on the reality of the situation. As far as my take on whether the practice is correct or not:

    I've reinstalled my most coveted games more than 3 times. This is after owning them for over a year or so though. Maybe they'll patch it in the future to allow unlimited installs? I guess that's my problem. It's only a maybe, which also means I may be screwed down the road.

    I'm not so much turned off by this as much as the one account per cd-key issue, though. Just allow us more than one profile per copy, even if it is on one account, and I'll probably buy it! You can kiss my sweet ass though if you think I'm buying four copies for everyone in my household. I'll buy ONE copy, if and when this is resolved, although the 3 install rule will still leave a voice in the back of my head saying "you're gonna get screwed" when I go to buy it. I'm not willing to buy four copies, and I'm not willing to choose who gets the profile in my house, so I can't buy one either. Oh well.

    Maybe this is a good thing (for me). I instead spent my money on Assassin's Creed and I'm freaking LOVING it. The roof jumping is crazy fun. I didn't think I'd like it, but I finally caved and gave it a chance when I found out I'm not buying Spore. All that time I could've been playing it... wasted :(

    Achievements seem pretty easy to get too, although that could be bad for replay.

  • This is great, I love that the gaming communitty has refused to just accept the heavy handed brute force of a major publisher. I am proud of my fellow gamers that they managed to organize a consumer protest and humiliate the largest publisher on the planet on one of the greatest flagship launches. As an industry professional it gives me great comfort and hope that gamers are willing and able to strike back at publishers who deliver low quality games with intrucive DRMs. The internet is a great liberator and vehicle for democracy. For those who complain that these "pirates" are hurting the developer, they are wrong. This only hurts EA the publisher, who gets the lions share of the profits from the game. The developers have already been paid, so they dont lose a dime. Last time I checked EA (or any developer) doesnt have a profit sharing scheme (a serious one anyways). I personally dont believe that 1 pirated copy = 1 lost sale. That is pure fantasy.