Backlash: Anti-DRM Protesters Trash Spore's Amazon Rating

Spore, the long awaited new game from SimCity creator Will Wright, has been critically well-received, so what’s up with its Amazon.com score? As of this posting, the game, despite being #1 on Amazon, has 1,494 one star ratings from gamers who are upset about the game’s DRM. Here are some excerpts from the angry reviews:

…the game incorporates a draconian DRM system that requires you to activate over the internet, and limits you to a grand total of 3 activations. If you reach that limit, then you’ll have to call EA in order to add one extra activation. That’s not as simple as it sounds, since when you reach that point EA will assume that you, the paying customer, are a filthy pirating thief. You will need to provide proof of purchase, reasons why the limit was reached, etc, etc (it has all happened before with another recent EA product, Mass Effect). EA, of course, is not obligated to grant you that extra activation or even provide that service. In a couple of years they might very well even shut down the general activation servers, because “it’s not financially feasible” to keep them running. What you will be left with is a nice, colorful $50 coaster. And you will be required to pay for another copy/license if you want to continue playing.

And…

The DRM for the game utilizes securom which is essentially a virus that installs itself without warning when you install the game. There is no way to completely remove it without reformatting and it is constantly running in the background if not removed. Sucking up computer resources.

It also is overpriced. This is actually a RENTAL, not a bought game because it only lets you install 3 times.

And…

I logged on to buy this but now no way. I dont care if its the best game in the world, I’m not loading it onto my computer if it has DRM. No thank you, remove it and I’ll buy version 2.0.

And…

I personally feel EA has crossed the line with what is considered an acceptable protection scheme. What they have done is essentially created a rental for the price of the full game, and after 3 activations you have to call up EA and beg them to reactivate the game. I for one am a computer enthusiast and format and upgrade regularly so I’d burn through the 3 install limit in about three months top and I REFUSE to have to call up any company and have to beg and prove that I rightfully am entitled to an install. As a paying customer I expect to be able to install the game infinite amounts of times on MY computer without any DRM disturbances. Whats worse is that this DRM considers any computer upgrade, BIOS update, and some patches as system change and thus requires an additional activation.

And…

Thanks to everyone who warned us about the DRM in this game. I’m interested in the game, but not interested enough to break my computer to play it.

And…

Too bad I can’t play this game because of the horrible copyright protection scheme/malware called SecuROM which locks up my rig. It doesn’t even keep the game from being pirated, so I don’t know why EA treats its paying customers like criminals.

And…

I will not pay EA $50 to rent a game, period. DRM is dying, and its dragging good products down with it. Get a clue EA. The music industry did, now its your turn to face the fire.

And…

I was going to buy this game today but because of the DRM and a few other issues I will skip this game altogether. It’s a shame because I was really looking forward to owning this game. EA is not helping Will Wright in any way.

You get the idea. Have these reviews convinced you to skip this game?

Spore [Amazon via Kotaku]

Comments

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  1. BigBoat says:

    Yep.

  2. B says:

    I’ll just wait till the backlash forces EA to make the DRM less restrictive.

  3. Corydon says:

    Yes. I only buy maybe two or three games a year. The ones I like I may play over and over again for years at a time (for example, I still fire up Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri for a game now and then and that came out in 1999).

    Three installs is not enough. Four installs is not enough. To use SMAC as an example, since buying that game, I’ve bought 4 completely new computers, upgraded my desktops several times, reinstalled and/or upgraded Windows probably at least 10 times.

    If SMAC had had this DRM virus on it, it would have become an expensive coaster a long time ago.

    There’s no way I’m buying Spore, even though it was on my shortlist of games I wanted to buy.

  4. jasezero says:

    I refuse to buy it. As cool as it looks, I ain’t messing up my machine with that crap of a DRM scheme.

  5. axiomatic says:

    I skipped it because of the DRM. As a software developer, my dev tools and SecureROM can not exist on the same machine.

    The only DRM I tolerate anyway is Steam. It plays well with everything else I run and is not all “up in my grill.”

    SecureROM needs to close up shop. They are part of the problem, not part of the solution to piracy.

    • YamiNoSenshi says:

      @axiomatic:
      Steam is almost the opposite of DRM, especially if you buy online. I don’t even need any sort of proof other than my Steam account id/password. I upgrade/reinstall/buy a new PC, get the Steam client, and I can re-get all my games without so much as putting in a single CD. Maybe it’s copy protection, but it’s also awesome for the consumer.

  6. evslin says:

    Actually, college convinced me to skip this one, but the DRM would have been a good reason to hold out too.

  7. headhot says:

    Wow, I hope that gets EA’s attention. Installing a TSR on to someones computer is just evil. Imagine if every program you had, had another program that runs in the back ground to see if you are pirating it. Think of the computing resources you would lose.

  8. fluiddruid says:

    I’m going to wait it out. Either they will become less restrictive, or the game will drop enough in price that I’ll consider it a worthy risk.

    I like to keep games indefinitely and brush them off every few years. This model of ‘renting’ new games – with no option to buy – just doesn’t work for me. Further, I doubt that EA will keep up their end indefinitely and unlock activation at ‘end of life’. They’ll just say, “you got your money’s worth, if you want to keep playing, buy EA Classic Games Vol 1 with Spore, Mass Effect, and Bioshock for $9.95″.

  9. terminalboredom says:

    Yep. I was going to pick it up yesterday after work, but fortunately decided to check the amazon price first…where I was greeted with huge warnings about the DRM. Kudos to amazon for keeping the reviews up and to the people who wrote them.

    No thanks to the game journalists who neglect to mention this in every single review.

  10. Anks329 says:

    I was going to buy spore, but after reading these review there is no way that I’ll buy it. I’ve had my current laptop for about 1.5 years and I’ve already had to reinstall windows three times on it. Before that, I had a desktop and I’ve had even more reinstalls on that. I would have run out Spore installs a long time ago.

    And people wonder why people download games. If I get the downloaded game, I can install it as many times as I want.

  11. sleepydumbdude says:

    This was going to be the first PC game I bought since C&C the first decade was released.
    Won’t be getting now, mainly because of the reviews even without the secure rom. With that I won’t get it even after expansion that make the game worth a damn.

  12. SkokieGuy says:

    Do gamers expect software companies to ‘trust’ them to not buy one copy and equipment themselves, their friends and anyone they choose via file sharing?

    What do these angry gamers propose? Their beef is legitimate, but how does a company permit a buyer to perform unlimited downloads on his personal computer, but prevent file sharing and illegal uses on other computers.

    • ianmac47 says:

      I had been excited by Spore, by lost interest a few months back when I heard they were implementing the DRM. I waited on purchasing it because of the threat of DRM, and now I’m glad I didn’t. I play the old games I’ve purchased years after their shelf life has expired, but with the way EAs DRM system works, you can’t do that, so I’ll wait until Spore is $9.99 in the bargain bin.

    • whitefang2000 says:

      @SkokieGuy: Gamers expect to get what they pay for, simple as that. I don’t think you read the reviews because the gamers make it clear that they do not want Securcom on their computer and they want the ability to re-install the game repeatedly. Hackers have already busted the DRM so they are alienating their customers while the game is being pirated anyways. The worst of both worlds.

      • SkokieGuy says:

        So if I’m a shop owner, and my store is going to be broken into anyhow, I’ll should leave the front door unlocked, so I don’t piss off the robbers?

        • kingmanic says:

          @SkokieGuy: False equivalence. A better analogy is you sell cars but people resell your cars used and share cars between friends. So you make a car that only work for one person for 5 years so in effect your are limiting people to renting your cars but charging full price. Then you are legitimately surprised when no one buys your shitty cars.

        • magic8ball says:

          @SkokieGuy: Actually, that’s an excellent analogy. You’re right – if you leave the door unlocked, thieves will come in and steal your stuff. On the other hand, if you leave the door locked, none of your legitimate customers can get in either. They’d like to buy your stuff, but you’ve made it prohibitively difficult for them to get into the store, so they just move on to someone else whose door isn’t locked.

        • sburnap42 says:

          @SkokieGuy: This is more like strip searching your customers to keep your employees from swiping the merchandise.

        • Micromegas says:

          @SkokieGuy: A better analogy than yours is if the shopowner locked the door to keep thieves out, which also keeps out regular customers, but then the thieves simply used devices that let them walk through the door, take whatever they want, then leave. You’ll still be losing money for stolen goods and your legit customers aren’t able to buy and use your products either.

          Same way with DRM. No matter how restrictive you make DRM, pirates will always break it very quickly, usually before the game’s release date. Spore, for example, was up on bittorrent days before it was released in stores. So, people who weren’t going to buy the game anyway can still get it as freely as ever, yet paying customers are hit with the ridiculous restriction on the number of times they can install the game. The DRM only hurts paying customers and noes NOTHING to stop piracy.

          • madog says:

            @Micromegas: Maybe, but piracy does NOT equal theft.

            When you steal something, that item is taken and is gone “forever”.

            When you pirate something, you’re just making a copy of that item.

            Circumventing DRM is another issue though this definition applies to all general music/movie/software piracy. The original still exists and the owner still has possession of it.

    • kingmanic says:

      @SkokieGuy:
      “Do gamers expect software companies to ‘trust’ them to not buy one copy and equipment themselves, their friends and anyone they choose via file sharing?”

      Bnet. Doesn’t matter how many copies you pass to your friends the #1 application of that software restricts you to one user at a time per major gateway. Using positive controls versus negatives. Legit copies are enabled to play online on Bnet. Illegitimate copies will have to cope with Lan and Single Player. It seems to work well for blizzard (War 3, SC, WoW, D2).

      They even removed the CD check recently. So long as the CD key is unique and not banned they allow you to use the game. Pirate copy or not. Not invasive programs. No limited installs. This scheme has been around for ages but only works if you provide enough of an incentive (Bnet) to buy it legitimately. EA has problems producing games with that sort of value.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      What do these angry gamers propose?
      @SkokieGuy: The onus is on the company to come up with a reasonable solution to this, not the gamers.

      • SkokieGuy says:

        @godai: The analogy game is fun! And no software required.

        Okay, I have a club, I charge a membership good for three admissions. Someone is letting people in through the back door.

        Do I:
        A: Hire a security guard to reduce the number of illegal entries?
        B: Stop charging membership, go bankrupt and close the club.

        • notme93 says:

          @SkokieGuy: Your analogy is flawed. First of all, the consumer isn’t alerted to the fact that they only have 3 activations on the box or in advertisements. Secondly, this is a purchased item not a limited amount of time at a club.

          There is a difference between renting and owning.

          A better analogy would be:
          You purchase a new car, but in order for the car not to be stolen they only allow you to turn it on three times. After your three times is up you have to go back to the dealership and beg them to let you use your car again (more activations).

          But if you are a hacker, you don’t have to worry about this because your hack makes it so the car doesn’t have that limit.

          These limits are only hurting the customer. The hackers don’t care about any sort of protection, they just disable it.

          Hell, the hacked version is better then the real version.

        • dwneylonsr says:

          @SkokieGuy:

          The problem is not the membership fee, but the fact that charging the same fee as another club that lets you have unlimited visits and only allowing 3 visits for that price. Then after your 3 visits are used requiring a driver’s license, passport, birth certificate, and utility bill as proof that you haven’t moved since you joined.

    • OminousG says:

      @SkokieGuy:
      I’m going to take this as an honest question, and not sarcasm. So I’ll reply with a short response that should point you in the right research direction:

      Sins of a Solar Empire

    • lannister80 says:

      @SkokieGuy: Well, yes. What else can they do? Price of doing business and all that. CDs are still being sold 10 years after Napster came out. They’ll deal.

    • Corydon says:

      @SkokieGuy: I think I’m a reasonably honest guy. I don’t pirate music or games or any other digital content. I’ve bought all the software on my computer (aside from the open source stuff that’s free).

      Please explain why my rights as a consumer should be infringed because of the actions of another.

      Your argument (and EA’s) sounds suspiciously close to “the floggings will continue until morale improves”.

      • cerbie says:

        No, the reviews did not get me to skip the game. Knowledge that it would use this same crap, well before any reviews, caused me to skip the game. I haven’t read a single review, or otherwise paid any attention to it since I found out it was going to be like that. Saves me having to install Windows, on the bright side :).

        @Corydon: well? Improve your morale, already! :P

    • mac-phisto says:

      @SkokieGuy: galciv2 –> [www.boingboing.net] (hey, we all knew someone was going to say it eventually).

      there’s a very interesting rant by blair fraser (the game’s producer) somewhere on the net about how DRM is a complete waste of time & resources. wish i could find it…

    • sburnap42 says:

      @SkokieGuy: This DRM doesn’t prevent sharing. Spore was up on the bittorrent networks before Spore was even available for sale.

    • Inglix_the_Mad says:

      @SkokieGuy:

      You’re always going to have piracy. It’s not pretty, but it’s true. Spore was on the torrents at least 24hrs before release (in stores). All you’re doing with DRM this restrictive is punishing legitimate users that are buying the game. It’s zero sum really, and the Ironclad gent made a better case against copy protection / drm than I ever could. Sins of a Solar Empire is by far one of the best RTS games I’ve played in forever. No copy protection on the game at all. You want the updates? You have to register the key, but that’s no biggie.

      Ways to cut down on piracy:

      1) Good demos widely available. Why would you pay 50 bucks for a game you can’t return and might not like?

      2) Bang for buck. Sins may not be the prettiest game, but you felt like you get your freakin’ money’s worth out of it.

      3) Realistic system requirements. Nothing sucks more than finding out the game will run like crap on the minimum system. Oh, and you can’t return it either.

      4) Gameplay is king. Good games focus on gameplay (SMAC, SoaSE, Civ, Q, UT2K4, RTCW:ET, WoW, Omega, Battletech: CHI, et al.) Why should anyone pay to play a sucky game? (too many to list) Especially one that crashes all the time.

      • Dyscord says:

        @Inglix_the_Mad: 1) Good demos widely available. Why would you pay 50 bucks for a game you can’t return and might not like?

        This is a problem with videogames in general and in my opinion is the main reason piracy is so rampant. In this day and age, you pay around 50 for a game and if you don’t like it then tough. You’re stuck with it unless you trade it in for store credit. Game reviewers don’t help either. Plenty of sites will hype up a game and then when it comes out will say that it’s shit. Plenty of games have also been hyped to the moon only to suck.

        Most games should have a demo. With all of the consoles online, this shouldn’t be a problem.

    • dakotad555 says:

      @SkokieGuy:

      The other point is that DRM does NOT prevent pirating, it only makes it more likely. The reason is simple: people who might normally buy a legitimate copy, when faced with draconian DRM that will literally infest their computer, will choose a ‘hacked’ version from bit torrent or the like. These DRM schemes do NOT prevent pirating, (Mass Effect was hacked 4 days after being released, despite the same DRM scheme). This garbage treats gamers as thieves, and only hurts legitimate consumers. The pirates will always download a free copy. The only people EA is hurting is the honest folks like myself and others.

    • Dyscord says:

      @SkokieGuy: The companies should just suck it up until they have a way of countering piracy that doesn’t screw up ones computer.

      Piracy sucks, plain and simple, but in this case the solution is worse than the problem. This is actually keeping people from buying the game. So you have pirates who get the game without buying it and you have people who actually don’t bother buying it due to the DRM.

    • Jabberkaty says:

      Grr. This toasts my cookies. I love PC gaming, but Securom and its ilk are the death knell of PC gaming. Not to mention the hassle it causes those of us in rural areas that only have dial-up internet (I won’t be seeing fiber rolled out on my street anytime soon).

      If company rewarded paying customers rather than ostracizing them PC games wouldn’t be in the pinch they’re in. Crap. I wanted to play Spore, now I won’t be able to.

    • Difdi says:

      @SkokieGuy:

      Do gamers expect software companies to ‘trust’ them to not buy one copy and equipment themselves, their friends and anyone they choose via file sharing?

      If I, as a ordinary citizen, were to distribute a disk that installed a DRM scheme without the usual software it might otherwise protect, without disclosing that the disk would do so to the user (such as SecuROM, the SONY rootkit, etc), I would be guilty of a felony. Why is it ok for a corporation to covertly install what amounts to a viral payload on my computer? If I did to their computers, what they do to mine, I’d end up spending a great deal of time in jail.

      What do these angry gamers propose? Their beef is legitimate, but how does a company permit a buyer to perform unlimited downloads on his personal computer, but prevent file sharing and illegal uses on other computers.

      Nobody pirates World of Warcraft. Or Anarchy Online. Or EVE. Why? Because what they sell is an account key, not the software itself. Nobody cares how many copies of the software you install, or burn to disk and pass to your friends. Because they have a working DRM scheme that doesn’t harm the paying customers, compliments their business model, and actually makes their product resistant to piracy. Contrast this to Spore, which is essentially the most expensive game rental I’ve ever seen, coupled to a DRM scheme that does more to damage a computer than the last virus my computer caught.

    • Trai_Dep says:

      @SkokieGuy: Actually, both Steam and Blizzard have an optimal “copy protection scheme”. They make the online aspects so tantalizing that consumers feel guilty for only paying once yet being showered with incremental goodies and competitive modes.
      Even single player games can benefit from schemes like this: reasonably priced new chapters, new objects, new modes…
      I think of it as a Honey approach and us as their happily gluttonous flies.
      Eww: flies.

    • EA has actually created a situation here where not just thieves (which are few), but NORMAL RATIONAL CONSUMERS (which are many!) are tempted to pirate their product!

      Most people would simply buy it, but thanks to EA, the only way to get a copy that doesn’t destroy your computer IS to steal it, since only pirated copies come without the virus/DRM bullshit.

      I do know some morally exceptional folks who pirated the game and THEN bought it, so that EA got their money and the customer got a working copy…but I think if the product’s so bad that you have to pirate it in order to have a good copy, they don’t really deserve that money anyway.

      If EA wants to get paid, EA will stop producing crippled products that nobody in their right mind would buy.

      If they want to prevent piracy, they’ll produce reasonably-priced games and treat their employees and customers well, so that people will want to pay them. (That’s all they have the right to do to prevent piracy, but thankfully it seems to work very well, as other companies like Stardock demonstrate.)

      My husband really, really wanted this game…but no. No WAY. Our computers are too important to us, as is our time and our self-respect. F U E A.

  13. m4ximusprim3 says:

    I was worried about the piracy protection screwing up my system, so I just pirated it.

    Works like a charm!

  14. warf0x0r says:

    It was sold out where I went to go buy it. I went through this with bioshock, once they put it on steam I got it, plus they made it much more easy to get another activation.

  15. Josh_G says:

    What sums up the stupidity of the DRM is that you could download a cracked version of Spore two days before it was released.

    As far as I could tell all the online stuff still worked (assuming you use a real CD key during install), it just removed the activation crap somehow.

    /second-hand info

  16. deadandy says:

    My experience with EA is that they rarely if ever listen to consumers. They have released many software titles (e.g. Battlefield 2142) that are borderline unplayable due to serious defects and customer complaints are forwarded to /dev/null.

    Unfortunately for EA, customers didn’t discover the bugs in BF2142 until EA already had their money. Not so with Spore.

  17. This was the one(1) PC game I was going to buy this year. However, I most definitely shan’t be until they take the DRM off, or at least return it to the standard level of stupidity that I can add a No-Disk patch to. I think there really is a principal at stake here.

  18. DeleteThisAccount says:

    Wow.. I was looking forward to buying that after an NPR story on it last week. I guess I’ll skip it now.

  19. shimsham says:

    I was planning to but Spore, but not now.

    And like terminalboredom, I am upset with the loosely-labeled industry journalists who neglected to mention this in their reviews. That just shows how out of touch they are with their readership.

  20. Corydon says:

    One more point: EA’s killing the resale market (probably deliberately) with this DRM virus. Who’s going to buy a second-hand game if there’s no guarantee that it can be installed?

    No doubt EA expects that this will result in more retail sales at the expense of the secondhand market.

    Just more proof that Digital Rights Management has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with legitimate consumer rights.

    • adamsummers says:

      @Corydon: You couldn’t be more correct. This DRM method has no chance of stopping pirates, but rather casual copying, and more importantly the secondhand market. It’s already been reported that you need to fax over receipts, IDs, etc to get more than 3 activations. Good luck doing that with a used copy. This is yet another example of DRM screwing over the paying customer.

      • howie_in_az says:

        I hope all of you that aren’t buying the game are emailing EA and stating why you’re avoiding it. iirc the same issue happened with BioShock on the PeeCee, and the devs there eventually pulled SecureROM after public outcry.

        • Josh_G says:

          @howie_in_az:

          I guess these are still good, anyone is free to try and guess other ones.

          Partnerships and Biz Dev: onstage_bizdev@ea.com
          Media Inquiries: onstage_pr@ea.com
          Copyright Inquiry: onstage_copyrightagent@ea.com

          • Consumerist-Moderator-Roz says:

            @Josh_G: Please don’t organize any campaign to contact the company in comments. If people want to do that, it’s fine, but we don’t need to organize that in a comment thread. Thank you.

            • jimconsumer says:

              @Consumerist-Moderator-Roz: Sorry, I’ll be the first to say it because I don’t care if you ban me: What’s with you? I’ve seen this same post from you in several threads recently. The guy wasn’t organizing anything. He was just sharing contact information. Is it a crime to share contact information in Consumerist threads now? You guys share them on the front page, but we can’t share them here? That’s the most backwards, asinine policy I’ve ever heard of.

              Go ahead, ban me and continue to make up bullshit rules and watch your membership decline. I’ve seen my share of excellent forums destroyed by the moderator gestapo, if you continue down this path Consumerist will be no different.

              • whitefang2000 says:

                @jimconsumer: Amen. Its easy to start a new account if they ban yours.

                • jimconsumer says:

                  @whitefang2000: Amen. Its easy to start a new account if they ban yours.

                  I wouldn’t go to the trouble. If Consumerist wants to employ moderators who threaten and ban people on a whim and accuse them of “organizing” when any idiot can clearly see they did no such thing, I can point my browser elsewhere along with whatever ad revenue I may have generated.

                  When I see the gestapo, I call them out. If they get heavy handed with me, they lose my “business.” Eventually, such activities will result in the death of an otherwise excellent site. I’ve seen it time and time again. A forum I used to frequent had over 100,000 active members and was pulling in huge ad revenue. They hired a bunch of gestapo to police the place, myself and hundreds of others were banned for daring to call them to the carpet, and everyone else just got tired of the BS. Today the forum is a shadow of it’s former self with less than 10% of the activity it once had. So sad, but that’s what you get when you fuck with people to fuel your ego.

              • Ass_Cobra says:

                @jimconsumer:

                I probably would have put this differently but I agree with some of the spirit. As someone who has read and commented on this site since its inception I’ve found the quality of discourse has gone down, not up. I don’t know who’s the chicken and who’s the egg, but it seems like a lack of screening on potential commenters is part of the problem. This necessitates a response from the comment cops to something that I thought would be encouraged here, a way to get across to people at a company a consumer has a problem with. My cynical side says that the infraction is not organizing anything but taking a subject out of the EECB pool which could be written as a post and generate page views.

                • jimconsumer says:

                  @Ass_Cobra: Don’t get me wrong – I do agree with you that the quality of comments has gone down over the years. I think moderation is a good thing and has improved the comments, but said moderation needs to be used in, well, moderation. :) Certainly, let’s moderate to stop the personal attacks and general filth, but preventing people from posting contact information is going too far. Moderation becomes a major problem when it is used to control dialog and satisfy the whims of a few. It should be used only when absolutely necessary to prevent general filth from infecting the forums, not to steer and direct otherwise acceptable dialog.

  21. Garbanzo says:

    I was pretty excited about this game when it was first announced, but I’ll sit this one out unless they eliminate the DRM.

  22. Starfury says:

    I’m waiting for Diablo III.

  23. axiomatic says:

    BTW all, a little Google searching shows that this version of SecureROM kills the ability to burn Blu-Ray disc’s is you were silly enough to buy a Blu-Ray burner.

  24. Carso says:

    The game showed up on the torrent sites as a top five search on friday, and I finished downloading it Sunday morning, the same day it was released in North America. Probably would have purchased it except for the DRM. Thanks, EA!

    • kingmanic says:

      @Carso: If you want to stop DRM simply don’t buy DRM’ed games. don’t play, don’t pirate, don’t buy. If you pirate it then it says to EA “people would have bought this if they didn’t pirate”, if you don’t buy or play it, it says “DRM hurts sales”. So do the following:

      1- Don’t buy DRM’ed games
      2- Buy DRM-lite or DRM-free games

      That will convey the message a lot better then just pirating shit.

  25. BoomerFive says:

    I refuse to buy a game with DRM.

  26. Betcha Amazon deletes all those ratings very soon.

    Jeff Bezos bending over for EA in 3… 2… 1…

  27. radiochief says:

    I was going to buy Spore since I already bought SCC. But not now.

    Good lord, I hate EA. You think this is bad, what about when you do buy something through there EA Download Manager, you have to pay an $6.00 to keep that registration on file more than 2 years.

    Man, when Steam came out. I was not happy. But boy, I have been a convert. Nothing to worry about just need my SteamID and password. All games I own tied to me, not my particular hardware. Plus nifty sales of favorites (old and new) all time. I bought BioShock for $14.99 about a month ago!

    EA is always an also-ran when it comes to these issues.

    EA just copy what Steam does.

  28. British Benzene says:

    Try and lock down customers and violate first sale doctrine and you’ll get no dollars from me. If I buy a disk, I should be able to move the media/program as often as I wish and then sell it to whomever I please.

  29. mike says:

    Curious, what would be a better way for companies to protect their product while still making things easy for the customer?

    I’ve never really ask any gamers this because I rarely play computer games.

  30. Josh_G says:

    Of course they are to another game, but it does get you inside EA.

    /shrugs

  31. AvWuff says:

    I don’t really understand why people are getting pissy about this. Sure, I hate DRM, but this type of DRM is hardly new in the video game world. Observe Half-Life 2 or any other games distributed on the Steam platform:

    Steam requires you to activate online, only lets you activate ONCE (not three times), and you can’t transfer the games you bought to a friend or another account. You also can’t even play the game without an internet connection, unless you go “offline”, but you need to have an internet connection in order to activate “offline mode”. So if you’ve got your laptop somewhere with no internet and you want to play some Half Life, you can’t without first going online.

    • kingmanic says:

      @AvWuff: Steams lets you install the game anywhere you account is installed on. So in effect you still have to activate but it enables unlimited activations.

    • Suttin says:

      @AvWuff:

      Wrong, if you have no internet connection when you start up steam, it starts into offline mode automatically.

    • endless says:

      @AvWuff:

      as long as ive had my steam account, i havent had to re activate games, despite being on multiple systems ive had, and even logging in on my brothers computer (while mine was off)

      never had any issues like that.

      thats probably why the 3 times issue is big.

    • @AvWuff: Well, you just outlined why I will never, ever buy a single full priced game from Steam.

      If I don’t get a physical copy that I can resell as I please, you are not going to sell me a single game.

      If I buy something, I expect to own it outright, not just have a license to use it.

  32. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot says:

    I was going to get this too, but after reading all the reviews I’m going to give it a wide berth.

  33. mantari says:

    I have been looking forward for years now to buy this game. It is a shame, but I just can’t support more DRM.

    also: @Skokieguy, if your were EA, your solution would be to install monitoring devices on everyone that came into your store and if they (over time) changed their outfits or did their hair a different way (they could be disguising themselves to rob the store!), you’d have the police drag them in for interrogation. Silly, I know. As was the original analogy.

  34. godai says:

    @skokieGuy:

    No say you are a dance club owner.
    Now you charge a membership to get into the club.

    But that membership only lasts until you change your hair cut/clothes 3 times. Then you have to buy the membership again.

    Meanwhile there’s a guy in the back alley letting everyone in through the back door and giving everyone a free membership.

    The people wanting to steal the game, are still stealinging. The DRM was busted before the game was even released. So the DRM is not stopping piracy.
    It is simply annoying people who actually pay for the game.

  35. Suttin says:

    I cant see why they just don’t do it like WoW, where you have to login to authenticate your account to play.

    Shit, there are even links on the WoW site to download the full game no questions asked.

  36. krom says:

    Yeah, I might have idly picked up this game at some point, but now I won’t bother. I suppose companies don’t worry about non-hardcore fans or casual gamers like me, but that’s probably a dumb move. Actually they probably expect the average casual gamer won’t give a damn about DRM.

  37. ct_price says:

    I met Mr. Wright at Pop!tech in 2006 when he demo’d Spore. He was certainly excited to see this type of game experience come to life. Too bad the protection on this fantastic game will make it a classic for being unpopular amongst gamers due to DRM and not for the fact that it is a leap ahead in gaming experiences.

  38. Quatre707 says:

    Proof DRM does nothing more irritate legitimate owners of games: Spore’s DRM was cracked before the game was even on the shelves, and the DRM-free image file is now being downloaded by over 100,000 people at this very moment.

  39. Coyote says:

    Guess I’ll be the first to say I did buy this game. However that does not mean I have to put up with their additional crap. As a rule of thumb every game I own I have a CD crack for, no swapping discs, no DRM malware running in the background, and I can reinstall anytime I want from an ISO image I keep on an external HDD.

    More game companies need to look at the example Stardock is setting([forums.galciv2.com]), and realize pissing off your paying customers while fruitlessly trying to stop piracy is hurting only the paying customer. Given enough time all DRM is cracked (apparently not alot of time… as I spotted torrents for Spore a week before release).

  40. Circumvent the DRM by turning your ‘net connection off then playing. Boom.

    • Suttin says:

      @Vincent Voltaire:

      But the check doesn’t happen when you play the game, the check happens when you install. No internet connection, no installation.

    • jpmoney says:

      @Vincent Voltaire: Its not that easy – it wont run if you’re not connected to begin with.

      @Suttin: WoW and other MMOs can only be played online (not just authenticate). Many resources are on the server only and the whole point of the game is to interact with others (be it through talking or simply “being” in the same world, etc).

      Which leads to another reason that this DRM is horrible. One of the big draws of Spore is the interaction between players online. Do the random authentication then so that playing the long-term-attractive-part of the game builds in the DRM. Don’t do stupid things with the CD or limit installs. The pirates still get their game (which they have now) but people buy the game for the value-add online component. Others here have compared it to battle.net.

      I’m not buying the game either. I buy games and expect to be able to play them down the line.

  41. EOr says:

    I bought the game as soon as it hit the shelves (for my son). And EA’s other DRMed game, Mass Effect, as well (for me!). No I don’t like DRM. OTOH, I don’t like software piracy either.

    While I won’t be contributing to the crummy Amazon rating, I wouldn’t mind if it had some effect on EA’s pretty draconian policy about 3 installations of a game.

  42. TetraNitroCubane says:

    “Have these reviews convinced you to skip this game?”

    Yes.

  43. endless says:

    and as a side note:

    people need to stop buying madden, and NCAA and any other sports game EA makes.

    EA is my least favorite publisher by far. *points at the battlefield games*

    *points at crysis*

    that company has a firm hold of buy the next version of said game to get a patch for a bug that has been in since the original launch. and never releasing a patch for older games. horrible.

  44. DrLiquid says:

    Count me in as another $50 lost for EA. While I’ve already been infected with SecuROM from other games and haven’t had any problems yet, I refuse to buy software that I can only install three times without submitting a blood sample to EA or shelling out another $50.

    The most pathetic part about all of this is the complete ineffectiveness of SecuROM to prevent this (and every other “protected” game I’m aware of) from being pirated. I understand their need to protect their intellectual property and I have no intention of pirating it, but I will not pay for a copy either. No Spore for me until this gets sorted out.

  45. xsmasher says:

    Will’s last game, the Sims, sold 16 million copies, reaching only .2% of the earths population… so obviously this game needs extra copy protection or it’ll never make a profit.

    Also, DRM has a secondary, rarely-mentioned – to damped the used market. When someone ebays their copy of the game, the publisher doesn’t get diddly. Adding restrictive DRM can keep a second, third, etc. player from playing that same copy. In other words, the publisher is effectively skirting the first-sale doctrine.

    [en.wikipedia.org]

  46. tspack says:

    Bummer. I was actually planning on getting this. Guess I won’t after all. How disappointing.

  47. I bought it because I wanted to play it and I don’t really care what a bunch of churlish geeks think.

  48. Gokuhouse says:

    Yeah, I wouldn’t buy a game I can only activate 3 times. Kinda crazy. I still get out StarCraft and play it every now and then. I do not however leave it installed on my computer all the time. Once or twice a year I get the urge to play it for a couple weeks and uninstall it again. I might go through all 3 activations in the first year. Stupid EA.

  49. Xmar says:

    The DRM it comes with sounds like malware.

    Rumor is that the game was cracked & up for download on release. The people that download a cracked version are using a version that isn’t loaded down malware, while the people who paid money & bought it legit have to deal with third party malware on their system.

    10 years ago, you were hesitant to download pirated software because there was a good chance it was loaded with viruses/malware. Getting a clean copy of the software was a big incentive to buy a legit copy from the store.

    I don’t have the answer to the pirate question, but something is very wrong when the cracked copy has become the only way to get a ‘clean’ copy of software.

    • jook says:

      Seems to me that it’s issues like this that drive some people to piracy. When the only working version of a game is the cracked version, something is wrong. I’ve already downloaded it, but I’ll probably buy a copy (and not install that version) because I think this is a genuinely good game and I want to support it. The DRM EA has chosen to implement really is terrible and I won’t let the official copy of the game anywhere near my DVD drive.

  50. BrianDaBrain says:

    I have a generally nasty taste in my mouth whenever I purchase an EA game, but let’s face it, they do have SOME quality developers. But DRM, no way. I draw the line right there. I will never, EVER purchase a game that comes with silly third-party monitoring software. The thing that gets me about Spore (and Bioshock and Mass Effect for that matter) is that nowhere on the bos or in the license agreement does it tell you that the game is going to secretly install this software on your computer. That’s beyond shady, imo. Sadly, the game looked good.

  51. Khuluna says:

    Too bad I read this AFTER my boyfriend went out and bought it. (A few minutes ago) I’ll have him take it back, unopened, though.

  52. PinkBox says:

    I agree with the negative reviews. DRM is one of the reasons I’m also not buying Spore, even though it is a game I’ve been looking forward to for years.

    That, and the fact that they DID choose to dumb the game down for more of a “Sims 2″ audience.

  53. Jachim says:

    The DRM horror stories have absolutely convinced me not to buy Spore. I don’t even know if I’ll get Origins (or whatever it’s called) on the iPhone.

  54. Lithium542 says:

    WHy am I going to spend $50 to be treated like a pirate, when I can pirate, and be treated like an honest person?

    They’re going to have hacked copies of Spore showing up on torrent, and it will only be EA’s loss. With this many outrage people, you’re going to see a ton of downloads.

  55. Doofio says:

    The most ironic part of all this is the fact that the main purpose of the DRM is to prevent pirating, and yet the game was cracked and leaked almost a week before the game came out. Good game.

  56. Necoras says:

    I bought it and I’ve quite enjoyed it. Wil Wright is a talented designer and the Maxis team deserves my support. However, the second I have any issue with the DRM I’ll find a cracked version and play it that way. I’ll also probably go for a cracked version of any future EA games I want, assuming I have issues.

  57. darkstarX says:

    So is it possible to buy a legitimate copy of the game and install it using a patch to bypass the SecuRom, or does one have to download a pirated copy entirely in order to keep SecuRom off of their system and try Spore? As a terribly disorganized person who loses discs and CD-Keys within days of buying a new game, I usually just download a nocd patch anyway for my legally purchased games and avoid the hassle of finding the CD every time I want to play.

  58. TaviRider says:

    I work in the game industry, so I never pirate games. Now I’m torn… pirate Spore or skip it? Buying it isn’t an option for me.

  59. JiminyChristmas says:

    Unless DRM of this type is killed in the market by consumers, be prepared for a lot more of it. The truth is that every trade association involved with digital media: music, movies, software; would love to do away with the business model where you own an unlimited use physical copy of their product.

    They would much rather you ‘license the rights’ to use something, i.e.: rent it. Failing that, they would like to push people into proprietary formats so they can make you pay more for the versatility you currently enjoy under the fair use provisions of copyright law. Looking around my house, I have CDs that over 10 years old and I’m still working off of Microsoft Office 2000. I’m sure media corporations would love it if I had to re-purchase those things.

  60. SpearXXI says:

    I was interested in the game, but alas I too do not want to deal with the DRM. I have skipped a couple titles because of this, and will do so until it goes away. Luckily, there are versions of games on the 360 that I get instead. lol

  61. sonicanatidae says:

    The DRM is causing all kinds of issues for legitimate customers, but the RIPs running around on Torrent sites work perfectly. Also no immovable garbage on your PC and no SecurRom to trash your other legitimately licensed products.

    Ironic that the draconian DRM has actually helped the game get pirated more..

    Nice work EA.

  62. Segador says:

    IMHO, the people complaining are fairly uniformed whiners. DRM is simply the nature of the PC software industry, where companies shut down every day because of rampant piracy. I’m also having trouble imagining a situation that would require more than 3 activations, and even if you do, you can simply call EA, as I have in the past, and they assigned me THREE more activations. Try getting three more activations from MS, or any other large software company. Also, installing the game does not “break” your computer. If you don’t care enough to educate yourself about the software you buy, then don’t buy it. Trashing it on Amazon’s rating system simply demonstrates your amazing willingness to go along with a knee-jerk crown reaction.

    • cerbie says:

      @Segador: no, it is the nature of this particular sector of PC software industry. Nothing on my computer has DRM, and it is full of software.

      If they used a scheme which did not make pirated copies superior, it might end up a good compromise. As it is, it’s a waste.

  63. OnceWasCool says:

    They DRM will keep my money in my pocket for sure. Besides, EA’s customer service is in India or somewhere and a NIGHTMARE to deal with. They did an “Auto-Billed” my credit card for my pogo account renewal. According to the guy that was poorly speaking English, there wasn’t anyway to get the charge reversed. All he could do is close the account, which I did. Lesson learned.

    Since then I have avoided buying EA games and I buy about 3-4 games per year. Spore had me ready to buy. I was going to break down and play the game know customer service would be useless.

    DRM stopped that cold! I hope all the games get returned for credit. Shame on EA!

  64. sonicanatidae says:

    To the idiots saying the 3 installations is no biggie.

    Are you aware that changing your Harddrive or your Video card or your network card or a number of other normal changes burns an activation.

    This DRM scheme is junk and the game should be panned for it.

    You’re welcome to call EA all week, but I’ll stick to games that assume I’m innocent, rather than assume I’m guilty until I convince them I’m not..

  65. RedSonSuperDave says:

    SecuROM is no better than a virus, in my book. I’m thankful to Consumerist for drawing my attention to this nonsense, as I had been looking forward to playing Spore. I’d heard a lot of good things about it. Oh well, I’ll just have to cross Spore off my list.

    Typical EA bullshit. Hey, Consumerist, can we get some coverage of Mercenaries 2? Leaving out all the things that they promised and didn’t deliver, including the official forum’s administrator Alastor making false claims about the game as recently as three weeks ago, Pandemic released an utterly BROKEN game that apparently didn’t go through beta testing at all: it’s a glitchy mess on the consoles and utterly unplayable for many PC users.

  66. revmatty says:

    I don’t even play computer games, but this makes me want to start just so I can tell EA I’m not going to buy Spore because of the DRM.

  67. wickedpixel says:

    I’m waiting for the Wii version.

  68. digitalgimpus says:

    I really wish people wouldn’t buy it. Leave a rating, and move on. If it were organized so it were a commercial failure, EA would learn something.

  69. Overheal says:

    I’ve been looking forward to this game for 2 years. But being EA, I guess I should have known they were going to screw this up somehow. I’m going to give it a complete miss, tragically.

  70. mrkniceguy says:

    “Have these reviews convinced you to skip this game?”

    Yup.

  71. coren says:

    So rather than not buying it, they’re rating it poorly as some sort of revenge – or if they didn’t buy it, protesting something that has no effect on them? Awesome!

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      @coren: I doubt the game packaging warned anyone about the DRM. They probably didn’t find out about it until after they bought it.

    • dakotad555 says:

      @coren: You’re missing the point. The point is not to wantonly bash a game because we don’t like the DRM.

      The point is to make folks who are considering buying the game very aware of what the DRM consists of, something EA has been unwilling to do.

      EA has not adequately informed buyers of the game of their limited installs, the viral nature of the DRM, and the implications of ‘renting’ what they thought they were buying. That is simply not acceptable. At least now, anyone buying the game from Amazon, will be able to make an informed decision about buying/not buying the game.

  72. PhiTauBill says:

    What these companies fail to appreciate is that the average person willing to play the pirated version of 15 games is NEVER going to pony up for those 15 games if paying the tab… they’d probably only buy 3 or 4 of them… and therefore, they piss off the paying customers who crave convenience over price, and do NOTHING to prevent the very pirates they want to go after…

  73. NilzXX says:

    It’s true. All these annoying anti-piracy schemes only hurt people, who bought the game. It does not prevent piracy at all. It actually makes people pirate games, as those versions are free of those stupid protections.

  74. Irashtar says:

    I got this game hours after it was put on the torrent sites, mainly because I wanted to play it ASAP. I would have bought it to get the internet features, but guess what, Suckurom games won’t play on a computer with CD/DVD emulation programs, eg. daemon tools. So now I don’t even have a reason to buy it, even though I want to. Maybe EA will learn by the time Spore’s expansion comes out.

  75. Brine says:

    If you are against pirating, you could purchase a retail copy and leave it unopened, then just torrent a DRM-free version to install. You paid for the product, and you get it DRM-free.

    • P_Smith says:

      @Brine: If you are against pirating, you could purchase a retail copy and leave it unopened, then just torrent a DRM-free version to install. You paid for the product, and you get it DRM-free.

      Wrong. That puts money in EA’s pocket and only encourages them to continue using Sucker-rom and other DRM bullshit.

      The only way EA is going to smarten up is to hit them where it hurts the most: in the wallet. If people don’t buy the game, tell others not to buy it and give bad reviews, and tell EA about the bad reviews and lost sales, eventually they’ll get a clue if they lose enough revenue. And that means not playing pirated versions too – played games means more word of mouth for the product.

  76. marsneedsrabbits says:

    You ask: Have these reviews convinced you to skip this game?

    Actually, yes.

    We purchased the creature creator and we’ve played with that all summer, but if installs garbage on my machine, We simply won’t be purchasing it.

    I don’t pirate, so surely the game makers can understand why I don’t like to be treated like a criminal.

  77. marsneedsrabbits says:

    The only reason we hadn’t bought it yet is because we were waiting for the new memory hubby ordered to arrive. I figured the game might need a little more than I have.

    We really wanted to purchase Spore. Glad we read this before we bought it.

  78. vastrightwing says:

    If you’re a store owner, make sure to lock the store and board it up so no one can come in. Don’t bother filling your store with merchandise so no one can pilfer anything. Don’t advertise so thieves can find your store. Buy lots of insurance and put cameras everywhere. Hire security guards to monitor everything. Assume that everyone is a thief waiting to take everything from your store. This is how you can lower your risk of theft.

  79. L33tminion says:

    Yup, I like to own my games. I can take a pass on Spore.

  80. describe_one says:

    We all know EA sucks…they only thing they make good is sports games…because nobody can compete with their licenses for real team names and player names.

    Everything else is a cutting edge gaming studio that they took over to suck all of the profit from them and spit them out.

  81. SabyneWired says:

    Yup, SecuROM has made me skip tons of games I would otherwise have purchased. Off the top of my head, I can think of not buying:

    Mass Effect
    Spore
    Any and All of the Sims 2 EPs and Stuff packs since Open for Business
    Sims 3 (if it has DRM, I ain’t buying it. No matter how awesome the game is.)

    Seriously, stop treating honest customers like we’re wannabe criminals and they might help these companies turn a profit.

  82. Thanatos says:

    As long as EA has this type of DRM in their games i will not buy them, so far they have lost $200 of my money and as much as a fan of the Red Alert Series that i am i will not be buying RA3 because of SecuROM, yet another $50 they wont be getting from me.

  83. Corydon says:

    @Brine: Circumventing copy-protection is a violation of the DMCA. Buying the game and then downloading a DRM-virus-free version may be ethical, but it’s still illegal.

    Just skip the game altogether and go with something that doesn’t violate your rights as a consumer.

    • Brine says:

      @Corydon: Driving 26 MPH in a 25 MPH zone is also illegal. My post was aimed at people who wanted the game but don’t want to pirate it and also don’t want the DRM. It’s a workable solution within most peoples’ ethical boundaries.

  84. quirkyrachel says:

    Yes; for now until they make it user-friendly. I’m less concerned about the 3-install limit (though that’s definitely a negative), as I am with DRM in general, and how it tends to act like a virus on users’ computers (to avoid being hacked by users avoiding the 3-install limit).

  85. RedSonSuperDave says:

    Screw the DMCA. The DCMA violates American copyright law itself, specifically the “fair use” section, and is unethical as well as immoral.

    I don’t buy licenses, I buy games, and I have the utmost sympathy for anybody who decides to pirate a game that is published by a company that treats its customers like criminals.

    Breaking immoral laws is the American way. Stand up for what’s right, and don’t let yourself be bullied by soulless corporate tools. No real human being ever said, “You know what would make this software BETTER? If it included a bunch of restrictions telling me how and when I can use it, and made me prove that I own it every time I want to use it, and if it disabled legal and legitimate functions of my computer because they might conceivably be used to pirate this program.”

    • Corydon says:

      @RedSonSuperDave:
      @Brine:

      I certainly appreciate the distinction between unethical and illegal. I also abhor the DMCA, and as I pointed out above, I believe that buying the game and downloading a DRM-free version would be ethical.

      If you want to send a message to EA about this kind of crap, but you’re not amoral enough to just download the game without paying for it, then I don’t really see any reasonable alternative to not playing the game at all.

      IMO, buying the game, even if you circumvent the DRM in some way, just rewards EA’s bad behavior, which is something I personally refuse to do.

      • RedSonSuperDave says:

        @Corydon: I agree. Heck, I won’t even buy a product that’s infected with Steam since my bad experience with Half-Life 2. I’m glad we’re all on the same page here.

        Heck, I hear that the Orange Box kicks ass, but it’s infected with Steam, so I’m not going to touch it. I still bear a grudge against Steam for the way it handled my dialup connection when HL2 came out, and the way it took it upon itself to Steamify the copy of Half-Life 1 on my computer. I don’t care for uppity inanimate objects deciding to make changes to my computer against my wishes.

        I’m ashamed to say that I bought Mercenaries 2 (for the 360), but after the half-assed responses we’re getting over at the official forums, I’m starting to move into the “I will never buy another EA product ever again, ever” camp. I can hardly wait for WIF mode to be released as a 108k download that costs 1600 Microsoft Points. (That last sentence was pure supposition based on EA’s track record.)

      • Brine says:

        @Corydon: Yes, I agree as well, EA needs to learn its lesson. However there are the casual players out there that just want to play a game, that’s all. :)

  86. BrooklynKnight says:

    According to MAXConsoles.net Amazon has been deleting some of the 1 star DRM reviews….

  87. G0dS4v3tehQu33n says:

    I bought the game, DRM or not. I got it to enjoy it, because that’s what games are for.I know I won’t be able to access everything about a game, since A) if it’s allowed to be accessed it’d be unlockable and B) if it’s not, it’s something like the source code. You buy any other game without this DRM and they don’t just give you the source code anyway, so these arguments about “not getting the whole game” are faulty. And if it comes down to the three installs, there’s more than enough tools online to bypass that, so it’s not that big of a deal.

  88. chibixleon says:

    bioshock used to have this sort’ve restrictive DRM. i bought the game when it was eventually removed, albeit the game was a bit old by then.

    im expecting the same to happen to spore a few months down the road.

  89. tricky69 says:

    Was going to buy it but first the wife said no, and then the DRM made it not even reasonable. Remove the DRM and I’ll deal with the angry wife.

  90. DrGirlfriend says:

    I read about this a few days ago. I dont want SecurCom on my computer and I don’t want to buy DRM’ed games. I’ve avoided game patches in the past because they downloaded SecurCom along with the patch. So yeah, this decision will keep me from buying this game. Which is a shame, because I already have the Spore Creature Creater. Good thing that SCC satisfies my God complex enough on its own.

  91. RandomMutterings says:

    I bought the game and am playing on a Mac. There is no DRM “issue” for me. It’s a great game (4-5 stars).

    I can’t blame software makers for using some kind of DRM, but I do agree that the DRM better not interfere with normal computer usage. Apparently the technology used in the Windows version creates some problems — and that’s not OK. They should just require registration and occasional checks via on-line access — the game is really only good online anyhow.

  92. tozmervo says:

    I hadn’t heard about this, and as I rebuild my computer every 6 months, I believe I won’t be buying Spore like I had been planning to.

  93. JackAshley says:

    Went out and bought spore. Kept getting errors when trying to play it. Bittorrent + crack = now I can play the game I bought. Wondering why I paid for something that I had to pirate to make work correctly…

  94. guice says:

    It actually did convince me to hold off even longer. I was about to buy it release day, but Fry’s didn’t have any on the self. Now this? Yeah, I’m gonna wait to see if they fix this issue. I play on a Mac, laptop. An internet connection shouldn’t be required to run a single player game.

  95. The biggest issue with the DRM in question that some people (SkokieGuy being one of them) are ignoring is that it does not only stop you from copying the game. SecuROM tends to be setup to install several potentially nasty things on machines that are not going aware without a reinstallation of the operating system.

    There is no good reason to install a virus on a paying customer’s machine to protect your copyright.

  96. Segador says:

    Okay, say I’m a club owner, and I want to let Captain Duvel Moneycat into my establishment, but I hire 3 security guards to let him in 3 times for each oatmeal he brings. However, on the way to the club, the guards each meet a man with seven wives. These wives all have 3 activation codes, but they also have a sack of kittens, all having their own activations. Do I let Moneycat in, or just keep posting for trolls?

    • RedSonSuperDave says:

      @Segador: The answer, of course, is onions.

    • doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

      @Segador: That’s just silly. What kind of club charges people oatmeal to get in? And wouldn’t the cats eat the oatmeal first?
      What….what were we talking about?

      Oh, yeah. The WoW model works a lot better, folks. But this is EA, after all, whose answer to viable competition (ESPN NFL2K5), instead of improving their (Madden) product, is to pay more to the NFL for an ‘exclusive’ license.

      So go ahead, buy this, and let them put spyware on your PC or you cannot play the game.

    • Logan26 says:

      @Segador:

      You must be an EA plant to try and calm down the fire. SecuROM is spyware people, do not buy anything infected with it.

      @Jesse:

      Your sympathitic to a company who would sneak spyware/malware/viruses on to your machine without your consent or knowledge? You should work in DC.

      • Jesse says:

        @Logan26:

        I’m not a lawyer, but the EULA paragraph governing technical protection measures seems to imply that there is a software component, since it tells you in plain English that “If you disable or otherwise tamper with the technical protection measures, the Software will not function properly.”

  97. The_IT_Crone says:

    I refuse to buy videogames with DRM on it. I will just do without.

    I love videogames. But if the next Zelda came out with DRM, I would skip that too.

    Maybe rent. But not buy.

  98. hc130radio says:

    cant you just bypass the DRM with a black sharpie marker?

  99. Tzepish says:

    The reviews didn’t convince me to skip the game, but the DRM itself did.

  100. I purchased it, knowing of the DRM. I’m running it on a Macintosh and I know the OS inside and outside, so I’m not worried about ‘malware’ messing things up. But the DRM does really piss me off. I really hope this message gets through loud and clear. The hack to run the pirated version is stupid simple and the game download is very accessible. I think there are a lot of angry people, in addition to the usual pirates, downloading this game.

    When I thought of my fourth install, if needed (probably not seeing as how game installs have survived on my Mac for more than a decade, moving between computers and copies of my OS, without trouble) I’m just going to crack it. I paid for the game, they can suck it.

    This reminds me of Adobe CS3. I pay crap loads of money for the opportunity to suffer through DRM that illegitimate buyers don’t even have to stress over. I wish these inbred companies would wake up…

  101. dorianh49 says:

    Based on EA’s track record, they will release a statement in a few days defending their choice of DRM with an explation containing mostly half-truths, and will only address 1 or 2 of the dozen or so issues that have been raised by consumers, and will finally be forced to reduce their DRM a few weeks later. You read it here first! (but you’ve seen it countless times before, so, no biggie)

  102. yagisencho says:

    Yes, the DRM convinced me to hold onto my money. So far, that’s Spore and Mass Effect that I haven’t bought for the PC.

    How many more times does EA need to shoot itself in the foot before gangrene sets in?

  103. PegCrazy says:

    Sadly, I had already ordered Spore before I heard about the DRM. I had been
    planning to buy it for over two years so I didn’t do my due diligence in
    pre-purchase research since I thought I had already made a decision.
    Fortunately, I ordered a physical copy from Newegg. Hopefully I can just
    RMA it for credit at newegg.

    Does anyone know of any repositories that list programs known to use DRM
    like this? It would be nice to have a simple way to check anything before
    purchasing.

  104. azntg says:

    I was going to buy Spore (one of the few things on the “to buy” list, but I refuse to purchase DRM laden games and software.

    Put up a CLEAN copy of Spore and I (along with a bunch of other gamers) might consider purchasing Spore, EA.

  105. TMurphy says:

    I added to the Amazon comment count. Ever since I heard that Spore would likely have this DRM, I was hoping for a boycott. Now I’ve been following this for a day and will until it ends. Heck, this may be more fun than playing Spore itself.

  106. animeredith says:

    I’m not much of a PC gamer, but Spore would have been one of the very few I would actually make the commitment of purchasing. I was so excited when I first heard about its production ages ago. How disappointing that it turned out this way!

    Who do I e-mail to tell EA exactly how I feel about this? Hopefully we can get both the DRM and Securom removed, and EA won’t try this shit with The Sims 3. (Crossing fingers here)

    • nforcer says:

      @animeredith: I completely agree. I don’t play on the PC much, and this would be the second PC game that I’ve ever bought. I don’t need any more of my resources eaten up by an extra eye that makes sure I’m playing nice with the manufacturer’s product. EA isn’t getting my money after this.

  107. Vastarien202 says:

    I play EverQuest 2, and I never have any problems with them asking me to authenticate on login. All I have to do is give my password and I’m back in Norrath.
    I DO have a problem with DRM that’s as invasive and crippling as Spore’s is. I must agree, this kind of crap is the very reason I won’t buy anything anymore without a damn close eyeballing. Stop putting out over-priced crap, stop treating me like a felon, and stop treating me like I’m stupid. Most folks will have zero problem paying for something if A. they are treated with respect, and B. the product isn’t garbage. Something EA’s management should think about.

  108. redspectre says:

    EA and all of the backers of DRM think that it is like a cure all. I prefer slysoft’s game jackal to get rid of DRM but getting rid of DRM is still a pain

  109. Con Seannery says:

    Well, I really wanted this game, but not anymore…

  110. dakotad555 says:

    Amazon is up to 1,800+ 1 star reviews. That is simply awesome. I really hope EA is watching.

  111. 1,800 ratings but it is still #2 in sales rank.

  112. Trickery says:

    How does one return the game to EA if you already bought it? I don’t want to use this software if it’s using this crappy DRM, and I doubt I can return open software to the vendor.

  113. bwcbwc says:

    Maybe install it in a virtual PC environment, then take an image of the virtual environment. That way you a) Keep the TSR out of your main OS and b) avoid using up activation cycles due to HW changes/upgrades.

    Of course there are a couple of drawbacks: a) You’re rewarding EA for their lousy choice of DRM, and b) you’ll need a helluva hot system to run this game virtually.

  114. dragonfire81 says:

    Well I was considering picking this game up and I hardly ever buy PC games, but after reading this article, I’m going to pass on it.

    Hopefully someone at EA will realized how many sales they’ve screwed themselves out of and be wiser with future releases.

  115. Nofsdad says:

    EA has ruined more games and busted up more good game studios than the rest of the corporate gaming industry put together. Every time I have gotten settled in with any good games franchise, it has wound up being usurped by EA who then proceeds to market to it’s basically 12-18 year old audience from then on.

  116. Chrome says:

    Like others have said, I was EAGERLY awaiting Spore. I logged on to Amazon and saw the reviews. I’m 100% against DRM, SecuROM, and the ideas both present. I’ll be waiting for the Wii version. As long as that doesn’t suck…which it probably will.

    Later,
    Chrome…

  117. fisherstudios says:

    The game itself does not deserve a 1 rating solely based on the fact that it has DRM protection on it, it is a really well designed and thought out, ambitious title from Will Wright.

    I’m sure there are many spore fans out there that would not mind paying a fixed amount of dollars for extra downloadable content (ex. new limb and leg parts, etc)

  118. fisherstudios says:

    Well, I preordered spore, but it turns out that my G4 Macbook can’t even play it.

    Time to buy a new computer!

  119. Quill2006 says:

    @darkstarX – yes, it’s perfectly possible to buy a legit copy of the game and then use the cracked version, as far as I can tell. I don’t have it myself but have been following discussion on a forum and several people there have done that.

    I believe the method is to install the game, DON’T run it, download the crack (just the “crack only” file, not the whole game) and then copy the cracked file where the download directions tell you to. And, supposedly, it’ll work perfectly and allow you to connect to the internet, which the downloaded game won’t do without a registration key.

    Some people aren’t willing to do this because it puts $ in EA’s pocket, but it’s the closest thing I can think of to being legal without having to use Securom.

    Also, I’ve heard that (and seen confirmation of, on someone’s machine) the game has a fairly serious security leak, which hasn’t yet been exploited by anyone but alarmed several people on a private forum I read. I’d love to post the discussion but it would really piss the mods there off! Feel free to take this with a grain of salt, as I can’t provide direct evidence.

    According to the computer wizards on this forum, when you create content (which the game is all about) and aren’t logged in using your EA username, the game takes your computer account name (at least in Windows) as your creator name for your creature. This is a real problem for one of my friends, who created some things and then realized the game was putting his unusual real first name (which is the name of his account on the computer) as the creator name. It supposedly is embedded into the .png files the game uses to store and share the creature data. The data is actually part of the picture itself, which makes it almost impossible to remove, at least right now.

    I don’t know about everyone else, but I don’t want much I post on the internet to be labeled with my name.

    Once again, I’m going off of a bit of hearsay on this, but I did see my friend’s name showing up on his creations, which is a big red flag to me.

  120. No, I didn’t skip the game – I just downloaded the torrent with all of the DRM and activation garbage removed.

    What publishers don’t realize is that by implementing all of these anti-pirating schemes they are forcing people to pirate the games. SecureROM, web-based activation, all of these can be easily bypassed and/or removed from the game – you are doing nothing more than emptying your own coffers by using them.

  121. manus manum lavat says:

    Actually, allow me to rephrase that: The lecture explains not only why DRM doesn’t work, but why DRM is bad for everyone – bad for business, bad for consumers, and bad for society. It’s a very entertaining lecture, as well.

  122. loslosbaby says:

    Yeah…this is lame. The game is a ‘half-a-concept’ and nothing new. I was interested, but, I’ll skip it and play the “lite” version on the iphone….speaking of which, its takes a lot to make Draconian look Nazi-like.

  123. Tansis says:

    DRM, and I was really tempted in buying it, thanks for the warning.

  124. aka Cat says:

    I was about to buy the game, but this has changed my mind. Thanks for posting these reviews.

  125. ViperBorg says:

    Skipping that game. DRM sucks. Period.

  126. aikoto says:

    It’s sad. EA was convinced to buy and use DRM for this product based on a giant lie.

    [www.jeremyduffy.com]

  127. Skipweasel says:

    A friend’s comment:

    “I’ll just wait till someone cracks it then download it.”

    He will, too. He buys plenty of games but won’t buy ones with offensive DRM.

  128. Livardo says:

    I was in line to buy the game at Wal*Mart but the line was taking too long. I decided to break for a second and on a whim I did search on Spore at one of their display laptops. I dropped the box and left Sporeless.

  129. KittensRCute! says:

    I was SOOOO excited about this game. I am actually emotionally SAD. I have skipped buying many many many other games in order to have the time + money + interest saved up for what was supposed to be one of the best games ever. Now i wont even play it.

    way to go EA

  130. sonneillon says:

    There are ways to do DRM that reduce piracy by a significant amount and will not piss off the people who bought the game very much.

  131. AMetamorphosis says:

    Thank you for this incite.
    I don’t like paying 50 bucks for a game BUT, I was ready to buy this until I read this article.

    EA can keep their DRM … and Spore with it.

  132. Sparkstalker says:

    I hate to say it, but this is the sort of thing that’s going to kill PC gaming, at least as far as the major publishers are concerned.

  133. Jesse says:

    This is causing more hoopla in my opinion than its worth. I see the downfalls to the DRM technology, notably the three activations allowed per license. However, many users need to realize that your $50 is paying for a license, the right to use the software, not ownership of that software. You technically don’t own anything but maybe a $.10 piece of plastic. EA has the right to do anything they want to in order to protect their content and this is what they have chosen.

    A vast majority of the users will not even notice the DRM restrictions. I don’t like the idea of having to call up EA on the fourth install and ask for that counter to be reset either, but I am sympathetic to what they are doing.

    • RedSonSuperDave says:

      @Jesse: However, many users need to realize that your $50 is paying for a license, the right to use the software, not ownership of that software. You technically don’t own anything but maybe a $.10 piece of plastic.

      No. I’ve got a fairly substantial essay on this topic on the forums (if you’re interested in reading it, search for “Surely EULA Jest”), but I’ll summarize it here:

      I don’t buy licenses, I buy games, regardless of what the game companies might like American consumers to think. When I buy a game, the transaction is NOT between me and the game company, the transaction is between me and the store. The EULA is NOT a legally-enforceable contract. To use the common legal term, a EULA is a “contract of adhesion” and is therefore unenforceable digital wind worth no more than the paper it’s printed on.

      They don’t get to say, “Oh, well, when you buy our game, you’re bound by this contract that you can’t even read until after you’ve opened the box” any more than I get to say, “EA, you can use my fifty bucks for food or gasoline but not booze or transvestite hookers”. The interactions between me and a software company are not governed by the so-called “license agreement”, but by the laws of our state and country, specifically Copyright Law, which can be found here:

      [www.copyright.gov]

      Legally, a EULA is the same thing as me saying, “By reading this comment, you hereby agree to donate 50% of your paycheck for the rest of your life to RedSonSuperDave. If you do not agree with this condition, you may travel back in time and not have read this comment.” That is, utter horseshit that nobody should take seriously. You have just as much chance to travel back in time and not read my comment as you have to take an opened package of software back to the store and get a refund because you don’t agree with the terms of the EULA.

      Unfortunately, a lot more American consumers don’t realize this, and yet I don’t get shares of anybody’s paycheck. What an unjust world we live in.

    • cerbie says:

      @Jesse: No, EA wants to say that. They also want to install software which you cannot easily remove, and do not clearly disclose that said software is even being installed, nor what its function is. That is wrong.

  134. Werrick says:

    I agree with the rental remarks.

    Furthermore, I extend that comment to some of the D2D distributors who, after you pay FULL PRICE for the game, cut off your access to download the game after six months. So, basically, you’re paying to rent access time, of all things.

    But, don’t worry, EA and others have your best interests at heart, and therefore offer you, out of the goodness of their hearts, the opportunity to pay them another 6 dollars over and obove the cost of the game to gain an additional 18 months of download access to the game.

    Nmever mind the fact that if you want to play the game again a couple years from now you won’t be able to… unless you buy the full version again.

    Fucking rip-off artists… I’m so tired of that D2D scam.

  135. Real Cheese Flavor says:

    The thing that sealed it for me was the reviewer who said that the evolution was dumbed down to the point that essentially any species you create will survive.

    Also, several acquaintances who got the game said that it gets boring after a few hours, probably because there’s no challenge to it.

    The whole DRM crap is just extra incentive not to bother.

  136. Spotpuff says:

    Meanwhile, pirates are playing completely unrestricted copies of the game.

    Good work EA. Alienate some more people.

  137. dorianh49 says:

    To all those touting the WoW model: I may be wrong, since I’ve never played it (I have an addictive personality, so it’s probably a good idea that I stay away), but isn’t it a monthly subscription-based game? I do not want to pay monthly to play a computer game. EVER. I can understand why MMORPG’s do it, but Spore isn’t an MMORPG, is it? No, really, is it? I haven’t kept up with all the hype over the years, but was hoping to check the game out when it dropped under $30.

    Anyway, I remember the days when you’d buy a game, install it, and play it without having to insert the disc. Then, you’d install it on each and every one of your family and friends’ computers. Well, there’s got to be a middle ground somewhere ;)

    • Trai_Dep says:

      @dorianh49: There’s a difference between Blizzard’s WoW model and their other games.
      WoW is a monthly-subscribed, ever-evolving virtual world.
      Battlenet is a way for registered (yup, authorized, looking at it another way) to connect to the Blizzard mothership for various benefits (timely updates, content additions, community, news and – primarily – to battle).
      It’s an add-on to their shrink-wrapped non-WoW games. You don’t have to use it. But if you don’t, you’re losing a significant part of the benefits bundle. Still, your call.
      That’s the way to do it: entice, not bludgeon. Add value, not destroy it (and your computer).

      I’m pretty darned pleased that the Mac OS doesn’t allow such system-level shenanigans to happen and blocks them, I have to admit)

      Question: to people that believe in Creationism suffer a crisis of conscience before purchasing Spore? Heh.

      • dorianh49 says:

        @Trai_Dep: cool. As far as the whole “creationism” question, someone still needs to “create” the creatures, correct? :) The rest of the game (in it’s original scope that now appears to be dumbed down) is based on an interesting theory.

    • knyghtryda says:

      @dorianh49:
      WOW may be a bad example of a DRM system that works. How bout Steam? I like Steam simply because even though I bought The Orange Box in the store, I can also now go online and download it to any computer I want and play it through my account. How cool is that? After a reformat, all I did was install the steam client and reload my games. No monthly fees, no need to worry about patches just load and go. Didn’t even have to go and dig out my discs. As much as I hate DRM and the ideas behind it, when a company can implement it in a sensible manner that provides more benefits than downsides, the company can have their anti-piracy measures while the consumer has a much better experience with their product.

  138. a_pink_poodle says:

    I don’t mind the SecuROM bit as it doesn’t seem to affect my computer too adversely but a limit of 3 installs? I’ve already installed it on my PC and my laptop. I wanted to install it on my folks computer so they could try it but I tend to do computer re installs every couple of years or so and there are times that I need to re install my computer twice a day if I mess something up!

    • Jesse says:

      @a_pink_poodle:

      I don’t think that’s going to be a problem. The End User License Agreement (EULA) does not specify a limited amount of activations per license. That seems to be more of an EA policy in order to deter serial key abuse.

      I would bet money that as long as you are the original user, you should have no issues with obtaining additional activations.

      Since the stories about EA forcing users to buy another copy after their three lives are up cannot be independently verified, we have to be skeptical.

      Again, I think there’s nothing to worry about. It’s my belief that those hoping to get their copy & serial off of a torrent are causing all the fuss.

      Everyone must remember that EA still owns the software and the user is just paying for a license to use it.

      [www.gametreeonline.com] – Spore EULA

      • a_pink_poodle says:

        @Jesse:

        I guess that’s alright… but having to call them up can be annoying.

        Oh well I guess as long as it’s a semi yearly thing and perhaps I’ll get bored with Spore later on.

      • cerbie says:

        @Jesse: no one owns the software. EA has specific, but broad, rights to the software, as copyright holder. You have specific, but less broad, and often poorly defined, rights, as a buyer. Unless an accurate and clear summary of what you are allowed to do with it is disclosed before the final sale, how are you buying a license? Does the box state clearly that you are purchasing rights to limited use of the software?

        If not, then you aren’t. You are purchasing a copy, and have all rights as you would with any other set copy of digital media. Likewise, one of these days, I imagine they’ll get in trouble for installing things like SecuROM, without telling you very plainly what it is, what it does, and allowing you to get a refund if you do not agree with it. But, it will take more people getting screwed by it than has happened so far.

  139. OnceWasCool says:

    I am an adult!
    I have my own money to buy PC Games!
    I don’t use stolen or illegal games!
    I do want to buy a non-DRM version, but not a DRM version!

    I think there needs to be warning labels on games that install viruses like DRM. That way people know up front.

  140. Ubik2501 says:

    Damn. Count me as another person who was excited about Spore, but who won’t be playing it due to the DRM and activation scheme.

    EA, you can do three things to get that little portrait of Grant out of me:

    1) Stop using DRM software that installs itself as a rootkit, cannot be removed without a complete reformat, interferes with normal computer use and blocks legitimate software. You do not have the right to control how my PC works, and installing malicious, invasive software is highly unethical no matter what the reasoning.

    2) Ease up the “three activations” restriction. At the very least, don’t make it chew up activations for things like minor hardware upgrades and the like.

    3) Provide full disclosure of any DRM and activation restrictions included in your game. This is, to me, the most serious ethical breach by EA: That they used highly invasive DRM software and a restrictive activation scheme is bad, but not actually informing your customers of those facts is damn near fraudulent. At the very least, the presence of SecuROM should be made known on the back of the retail box so that customers know what they’re getting into. Not informing them that rootkit software will be installed on their PC is tantamount to putting malware or a virus on the disc.

    I’ll put up with CD keys and online activation with no problem, but restrictive activations and malicious DRM software is an instant no-no for me. Hopefully enough people shy away from Spore for these reasons that EA gets some of this through their thick skulls.

    • Jesse says:

      @Ubik2501:

      Regarding point #3, does this paragraph from the EULA (link above) not disclose DRM policy?:

      “Technical Protection Measures. Our Software uses access control and copy protection technology. An internet connection is required to authenticate the Software and verify your license. If you are not connected to the Internet, you will not be able to
      use the Software until you reestablish an internet connection and verify the license. The first end user of this License can install and authenticate the Software on a set number of machines which may vary by product. If the Software permits access to additional online features, only one copy of the Software may access those features at one time. Additional terms and registration may be required to access online services and to download Software updates and patches. Only licensed software can be used to access online services, and download updates and patches. If you disable or otherwise tamper with the technical protection measures, the Software
      will not function properly.”

      • Ubik2501 says:

        @Jesse: It doesn’t appear to specifically mention SecuROM, nor does it specify the number of activations the product has by default – both vital pieces of information for consumers to know, especially given how SecuROM affects the user’s general computer usage and how restrictive the activation scheme is. A user might buy Spore, do some minor upgrades on his computer, then be surprised six months later when the software demands he contact EA for a new activation. Not listing the specific number of activations entitled by buying a software license is an unethical lack of disclosure, especially when what constitutes a new activation is not specified and the number of activations is so limited.

  141. chenry says:

    I bought Spore, but downloaded the hacked version of Spore over BitTorrent. The hacked version has the SecruROM crap stripped out, so I could install without that garbage and then just use my s/n.

    No DRM + online capabilities. It’s stupid that I have to pirate something I paid money for just so I can avoid crippling DRM policies. And SecuROM clearly doesn’t work because there’s thousands of cracked and hacked Spores being downloaded right this second.

  142. aramid says:

    I’ve been waiting eagerly for this game from the first instant I heard of it. I can say with confidence that I have never anticipated or desired any game as much as this one.

    It’s a shame I won’t be buying it, then.

    I tolerate Steam, and I’ve come to terms with CD keys and CD checks. But that’s it. In fact, SecuROM and online activation are so far over the line that the line is out of sight on the horizon.

  143. shmianco says:

    yep. i aint buying this til’ that DRM is GONE.

  144. glitterpig says:

    I decided not to *buy* Spore after the Bioshock debacle.

    I decided not to *torrent* Spore after reading the reviews. In the end, it just wasn’t the game I’d been waiting for.

    I haven’t bought any Sims expansions after that first one where they stuck on SecuROM without telling anyone, and I did buy GalCiv2, just because of their DRM policy. (Oh, and it was on sale for $10. But still.) And I won’t be buying Sims3 if they keep up this silliness. So that’s… what, like $200 they’re not getting from me in about 18 months, or (once you add in 7 Sims3 expansions) over $400 over a couple of years. Not bad. I’m sure I’m not the only one.

    Seriously, if a lovely working crack is on the torrents before your product is even in the store, your DRM isn’t doing jack except annoying your legitimate customers.

  145. Zagroseckt says:

    bought it it jamed up my pc
    reformated downlaoded the cracked version working fine but no online now :(
    1 install down 2 to go if i can ever GET it to run with the drm running in vista

  146. modenastradale says:

    I agree that this type of copy protection is inexcusable and a poor business choice. I also agree that the superior solution is to build a piracy-resistant product by tying sales to network access. In the case of this game, it’s a no-brainer.

    But what about games whose concepts don’t really require network features? Is there a good, non-intrusive means of deterring piracy in those cases? I’d hate to see standalone games die in this environment, but is it unavoidable?

    • cerbie says:

      @modenastradale: unfortunately, there isn’t a perfect answer. Some are better answers than others, but not perfect. One of the best PC games ever has good data to support piracy causing negative sales impact…yet, it was a cheap, widely available game (Tribes, the most awesome team FPS game ever). A CD-key validation from a master server, using only known sold keys, could help, and would probably have been enough, but then that doesn’t come near covering games with single-player content.

  147. rellog says:

    As a biology teacher, I found this game particularly interesting. Unfortunately, having discovered EA was behind it, I knew there would be issues. I haven’t bought an EA game since BF2, since in BF2140, they started inserting ads into the game to generate even MORE revenue. Sorry, but I refuse to support a company that whores out its customers like that. I paid for the game, I refuse to suffer ads in addition. Add to that the DRM issues, and I’m done with them. Doesn’t help I don’t have time to spend getting good anymore… :)

  148. rellog says:

    I meant…. “it doesn’t hurt…”

  149. Melsky says:

    I play the Sims2, another EA game, I even bought a new computer to play it on. They didn’t start out with the Secu rom, but they put it on some of the expansion packs. I was really disappointed when I found that out because I was prepared to buy all of the expansions extra packs and I would have probably bought Spore too. That’s a couple of hundred bucks right there that I have in my pocket, and I am spending less time on computer games. Gee, thanks EA.

  150. smartmuffin says:

    I find it kind of disappointing that Consumerist (and many of the commentors) seem to be celebrating what is basically a dishonest form of “vigilante justice” taking place here.

    People are “reviewing” a game they refuse to buy because of stories they have read on the Internet. None of the quoted reviews recount any first-hand experiences with this supposedly terrible copy-protection runining their gameplay experience.

    This sort of thing is exactly what’s WRONG with online review systems that allow anyone to publish a review. Products can become whipping boys due to outrage over unrelated (and at this point still completely theorhetical) issues. We should all be outraged by dishonest people who “review” products they have never used, not saying “lol good 1 way to show EA whos boss!!!”

    • manus manum lavat says:

      @smartmuffin: 3 activations is unacceptable. There’s nothing dishonest in me saying that it is unacceptable. You know, maybe I WOULDN’T ever have to use those 3 activations… except that I frequently upgrade my computer. For as much money as the game costs, I should be able to replace multiple components on my computer, or reinstall windows multiple times, without my software treating me as if I’m doing something wrong. This is the exact same reason I won’t buy Windows Vista: Not because of all the usability issues I’ve heard about that may or may not be true, but because of the draconian “Windows Genuine Advantage” (Ha!), which I have seen in action on hapless customer computers, who have no idea why the computer they bought from Dell or Gateway is suddenly asking them to verify their install of Windows. Treating your paying customers like criminals is not good business sense, and it’s about time the consumer stood up to the bullies we’re giving our lunch money to.

  151. BytheSea says:

    Yeah. I love all the Sim games but I don’t need this for $50.

  152. twritersf says:

    Read the chapter in Joal Spolsky’s book “The Best Software Writing I” about how EA treats its engineers and other employees (hint: they are lucky if they get to take Sunday afternoons off) and you’ll come to the conclusion that they are likely even less interested in the well-being and happiness of the people (and their computers) who shell out their hard-earned money for their product. The few reviews I’ve seen so far extolled the game and ignored the DRM, so EA has little to no incentive to change.

  153. solipsistnation says:

    I bought it. No big deal. I just built a new PC, so I’m not changing anything on it anytime soon.

  154. Mr. B says:

    This sort of thing is mind boggling. They should have the good sense to make the paid product BETTER than the .torrent

  155. conchster2 says:

    I played spore today on my friends computer. He bought it, and he and his mom have been playing it non-stop. I had a blast too; played it for a few hours. It is a solid game that even transcends genres.

    After reading up on the consumerist, I have decided not to buy the game. This is of course due to the DRM, as I cannot support such strong use of it. I liken it to that of an over-zealous police officer; they mean well but the ends do not justify the means.

    Initially I intended to make a suggestion. After reading many comments, I noticed people thought it a good idea to buy the game proper, but never install it and use a torrent version instead. This would rid them of morality issues and they could enjoy the game DRM free. However, this would unfortunately support EA, which other users also pointed out, puts us all back at square one: supporting a game that has DRM even if we have eliminated it on our personal machines.

    The suggestion I was going to make was to donate the full sale price of the game to Maxis, the developers of the game, and then use the pirated version. This would have the same effect as purchasing the game morally, but without supporting EA. Upon looking at Wikipedia however, it seems Maxis is a subsidiary of EA, and I do not have the business savvy to know whether you are still simply giving the money to EA anyway. Anyone with enlightened information about subsidiaries should please share with us this information, as this would be a fantastic way to support the game and still make consumers happy. The main point I am trying to get across is that EA not make any money from this, therefore if giving money to Maxis is essentially the same as giving money to EA than simply do not pirate and do not buy the game.

    Clearly this is a big issue that will garner much attention from the gaming community, as well as other news representatives. I am personally saddened that great games such as Spore are being limited by the company that publishes it, as it creates waves of confusion in some instances that can be detrimental to something that shouldn’t be tarnished.

  156. OnceWasCool says:

    I read that Blizzard is cooking up and even worst SecuROM DRM for Diablo 3 that will make Spore look like just a blip on privacy radar.

  157. Trevallion says:

    @oncewascool
    I read that Blizzard quip also…it was on an EA forum, posted by a Maxis (i.e. EA) VP. To me that’s a lot like my neighbor saying to me “I don’t see why you are upset I smashed your car windows with a baseball bat because I’m starting a rumor that your other neighbor is planning on burning your house down…THAT’s the guy you should be upset at”
    I had been following Spore since it was announced, and was looking forward to buying it, but two reasons have changed my mind.
    1. 3 Activation limit – Since Spore can not be installed as a “All users” instillation, I would have to burn two activations to install it on my PC under my user ID, and then again install it on my PC under my son’s user ID, or let him log into my PC under my user id, which means he’d be playing with my profile. If I did install under two User ID’s on one PC, the 1st upgrade/OS refresh, I’d burn activations 3 and 4, prompting a call to EA, which btw, is NOT a 1-800 call.
    2. A lot the 5 star reviews I’ve read on Amazon and Best Buy all seem to say the same couple of things “Great game – finished it in 3 hours” and then go on to say any games after that feel exactly the same. Or they say “Great Game – my 5 year old loves it” Okay, how is a game that is doable in 3 hours with little replay value great, or how is something geared to a 5 year old going to hold my attention?
    If I am going to buy a game (and yes, I buy each and every one of my games, piracy is wrong) I want it to last me a good long while, the Civ series, Age of Empires, Railroad tycooon for example are games I bought and still play years later. I’m not going to spend 50$ on something I’ll play once or twice, only to get bored with it. Yes, the DRM is arrogantly condescending to the purchasers of the game, and had some weight on my decision, but the overall dumbing down and no re-playability was the deal-killer.

  158. flynnfx says:

    EA, thanks! For your decision to add in this restrictive DRm, cross another customer off the list. I *BUY* games, not rent them for $60.
    I’ll check out your competitors products instead.

  159. And now the reviews are gone.

  160. faaap says:

    So…what’s the moral high ground with shelling out $50 bucks and just downloading the pirated version?

    I mean, Ubisoft ended up giving customers a fix for Rainbow 6 after it rain into DVD problems that was made by a piracy group…

    [forums.ubi.com]

  161. blackmage439 says:

    I was already planning on skipping it until the price comes down, but this is disappointing. I will not purchase this game, or ask for it as a gift, until it’s DRM scheme is fixed or removed.