EA Revamping Spore, Crysis Warhead DRM

By Blake Ellison, Sep 19, 2008 12:42pm PDT EA Games president Frank Gibeau promised to revamp and further loosen the controversial DRM requirements in recent releases Spore (PC) and Crysis Warhead (PC). His statement was not without a few backhanded comments in the direction of the very vocal anti-DRM community.

"We're extremely pleased with the reception Spore has received from critics and consumers but we're disappointed by the misunderstanding surrounding the use of DRM software," Gibeau wrote in the statement on MTV Multiplayer. He also announced that Spore would soon gain the ability to be authorized on five computers instead of three.

Gibeau reminded Multiplayer that the coming deactivation capability is still in the works. It was separately announced today that Crytek's EA-published Crysis Warhead would get the same deactivation program.

"We assumed that consumers understand piracy is a huge problem," continued Gibeau. "We felt that limiting the number of machine authorizations to three wouldn't be a problem ... [and] we assured consumers that if special circumstances warranted more than three machines, they could contact our customer service team."

"And while it's easy to discount the noise from those who only want to post or transfer thousands of copies of the game on the Internet, I believe we need to adapt our policy to accommodate our legitimate consumers," he concluded.

Gibeau's complete statement, reproduced from Multiplayer, follows:

Two weeks ago EA launched SPORE - one of the most innovative games in the history of our industry. We're extremely pleased with the reception SPORE has received from critics and consumers but we're disappointed by the misunderstanding surrounding the use of DRM software and the limitation on the number of machines that are authorized to play a single a copy of the game.

We felt that limiting the number of machine authorizations to three wouldn't be a problem.

- We assumed that consumers understand piracy is a huge problem - and that if games that take 1-4 years to develop are effectively stolen the day they launch, developers and publishers will simply stop investing in PC games.

- We have found that 75 percent of our consumers install and play any particular game on only one machine and less than 1 percent every try to play on more than three different machines.

- We assured consumers that if special circumstances warranted more than three machines, they could contact our customer service team and request additional authorizations.

But we've received complaints from a lot of customers who we recognize and respect. And while it's easy to discount the noise from those who only want to post or transfer thousands of copies of the game on the Internet, I believe we need to adapt our policy to accommodate our legitimate consumers.

Going forward, we will amend the DRM policy on Spore to:

  • Expand the number of eligible machines from three to five.
  • Continue to offer channels to request additional activations where warranted.
  • Expedite our development of a system that will allow consumers to de-authorize machines and move authorizations to new machines. When this system goes online, it will effectively give players direct control to manage their authorizations between an unlimited number of machines.
We're willing to evolve our policy to accommodate our consumers. But we're hoping that everyone understands that DRM policy is essential to the economic structure we use to fund our games and as well as to the rights of people who create them. Without the ability to protect our work from piracy, developers across the entire game industry will eventually stop investing time and money in PC titles.

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Comments

34 Threads* | 108 Comments


  • The one HUGE point that's missing from Frank's statement is the fact that their DRM scheme they place onto their products DO NOT WORK. Sometimes they might prevent zero day piracy, but in the example of Spore, the DRM restrictions placed on people that went out an bought the game were only realized by legit paying customers, not the thiefs who chose to download the game, non-customers.

    EA needs to understand that they simply aren't preventing people from obtaining their games illegally, period. Customers are being left with the restrictive system and that's a real injustice. If Frank believes that people won't invest in PC Gaming without DRM, then they need an education and an understanding that the DRM implementation's premise is flawed, flawed absolutely. The real attitude of Frank and most others in his position? They have a distrust for their own customers and they want to eliminate the secondary market altogether, as well as keep their own customers "in check" at the expense of our convenience, period.

    EA needs to patch these restrictive DRM systems out of their titles in the coming months after their sales matrix has settled down, and when legit customers start to call in droves looking to play their paid for games. The people that get hurt the most here is the base of PC Gaming, the people that go out and buy every PC Game they look forward too despite even mediocre reviews, the hardcore PC Gamer that upgrades consistently, the gamers that help fuel this portion of the industry, these are the people, myself included as well as many of you all, that have to deal with these anit-consumer measures.

    This is a terrible climate right now, and I'm more then concerned that the state of PC Gaming is going to be hindered further by these decisions. EA needs to understand that there is a segment of the world's population that just doesn't take part in the economy and will never purchase games, period. What EA and company need to do is heavily target market the base, as well as make their games as user friendly and complete as possible to attract new customers. One of PC Gaming's biggest problems is advertising and educating the consumer about the basics of gaming on the PC as a platform. Lastly, the hardware companies that benefit extremely from the gaming software companies need to step up in the PCGA and take initiative to help with the development costs of the PC Versions of games, not only for multiplatform versions, but for any sort of PC exclusives in the future. It's time that Nvidia, AMD, Intel, Asus, etc...etc..and the rest start doing their part for the platform as a whole. This combined with building strong communities like STEAM and Impulse and whatever MS has up their sleeves is what is going to make being a "legit" PC Gamer something people are going to want to do. STEAM has done an excellent job on the DD side of things, adding excellent community features that bring a cohesive online community together, this needs to keep moving forward as well as Impulse, which I feel has a very strong chance of making a huge impact on the industry. There's many fronts to attack this issue, and we all need to come together and start coming up with ideas until exhaustion.

    I'm done.

  • As an example, we all know that clothing lines are ripped off. (Piracy). What would be our impression of Levi's or another clothing line if they started making us register our clothes before we could wear them? Or, if they only allowed 5 people to wear the clothes. If we wanted to sell them at a garage sale, we would be violating copyright.

    Based on today's version of "intellectual property", what is the difference in using one's talent to create a game and creating artwork or even designer jeans?

    Is it fair to blame and harass buying customers for piracy?

    How come we have let ourselves get to the point where we are leasing software when we buy it, but can still buy books, albums, artwork, and clothing?

    We have been forced by the courts to WATCH commercials on our DVRs instead of automatically skipping over them. We have been forced to live with copyright protections of FREE and over-the-air PUBLIC broadcasts of television shows. How far we have let our freedoms be ripped away by corporations.


















  • "We assumed that consumers understand piracy is a huge problem... "

    LOL, that is like assuming that content providers understand the fact that every pirated or copyright infringing copy of an IP is a loss of a sale.

    Yes, there are lost sales due to piracy, but not every downloaded game is a lost sale.


    I want to play spore, I want to pay for good games. I am unwilling to download it, but since the cracked copy is superior to the store purchased one, I am tempted to purchase a copy ... then download the game so I can avoid the silly DRM. I doubt I will do that, more then likely I'll just put it off long enough for the hype to die and I will never play the game.