Maxis Addressing Spore Account Outcry

By Chris Faylor, Sep 19, 2008 7:33am PDT Responding to fan outcry that legitimate owners of Spore (PC) could only create one online account for the evolution simulator, developer Maxis has announced plans to implement a new system that will allow multiple screen names per account.

In essence, the move allows each account to have up to five sub-accounts, dubbed screen names. Each screen name has almost all the perks of an individual account, including proper accreditation for created creatures in the Sporepedia.

The one flaw in the system lies with achievements. Until an update for the game is released, achievements may be improperly awarded to the wrong screen name.

"If I'm logged and play for 99 hours, and then I log off and my sister logs in and plays for 1 hour, she'll get the honor of the 100 hours achievement, and I won't," representative maxislucky explained on the game's official forum. "We know that this is not the ideal solution and will work on improvements to this feature in the future."

No timeline for the implementation of the screen name system was provided, though the company noted that it is currently testing the change, which will come in the form of an update to the game's web site.

Maxis' response to the issue comes days after publisher and studio Electronic Arts announced it would be loosening, but not removing, the game's controversial DRM.

Faylor's Take: Some have asked why Maxis simply isn't allowing new accounts, and I have a theory that it's tied to the inevitable game expansions.

If those expansions are sold as downloads, then they'll likely be tied to the account that purchased it. And unless you have a series of sub-accounts somehow tied to the purchasing account, then those other accounts on your computer wouldn't have the authorization to access that content while online. They'd probably have to buy it again.

Of course, that's assuming a) that the expansions will be sold online and b) that the expansions will use some sort of copy protection or online authentication, but I don't think either of those ideas are that far-fetched, especially given the controversy surrounding Spore's existing copy protection.

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