Want More Than One Account On Your 'Spore' Game? Buy Another Copy

EA’s DRM spyware on the long-awaited game Spore turns out to have an added side-effect: if you live in a household with multiple players, you all have to share the same account. The game’s manual says otherwise, but after repeated queries on the EA forum, a company spokesperson confirmed this. That’s right—if you’re in a household with several potential Spore players, and you want each of them to have their own account, you will have to buy multiple copies of the game.

From page 52 of the manual:

You may have multiple Spore accounts for each installation of the game.

However, here’s what “EA_violet” wrote on the EA forums in response to complaints that players couldn’t set up multiple accounts:

That section in the manual was a misprint and will be corrected in future printings of the manual. There is one Spore registration/account per game/serial code so you are correct in that you cannot make multiple accounts at this time.

We’re among all those people who waited a long time for Spore to come out, and we’re facepalming at how broken it is, all thanks to EA’s misguided DRM implementation. This particular detail is notable for revealing that at some point in the past it was likely that the game allowed multiple accounts, and that this functionality was removed in order to tighten the DRM net.

forum.spore.com (Thanks to Sir Mildred Pierce!)
(Spore creature: Henjoness)


Edit Your Comment

  1. I’ll just assume you know what that image looks like and just walk away.

  2. mythago says:

    It sounds like a typo, really. Setting their other DRM issues aside, isn’t this how most games with online accounts work? You have to buy each account separately. Hence ‘buddy passes’ and trial periods; you can borrow your friend’s copy of the game, but if you want to have your very own account, you buy it.

    • @mythago and @dianabanana: I don’t play MMOs, but I do play many other PC and console games, so I wasn’t aware that this is standard MMO policy. From my perspective as a gamer this is unusually restrictive, but maybe my context is wrong in this case considering Spore’s MMO-DNA.

      • MercuryPDX says:

        @Chris Walters: I’m with you. I know that on pretty much any game from Popcap or Reflexive (eg. Diner Dash, Zuma, Bookworm) you can add different “user accounts” for each family member to the game.

      • coren says:

        @Chris Walters: It’s not just MMOs, but many games with online ability. Well not all, obviously, but just for example, this is totally the way Blizzard does it – all access to Battlenet is controlled by your CD Key, basically, so only one copy could be online once.

    • Dyscord says:

      @mythago: That works mostly for MMOs and such. It sounds like EA won’t let you have multiple profies for the single player game, which is retarded.

  3. dianabanana says:

    Wait, I’m confused. What’s the problem with making people purchase more than one copy if they want to open more than one account? (Other than it stating differently in the manual) That’s the case with majority of MMOs (World of Warcraft, Age of Conan, etc) out there.

    From what I understand, the real issue with the DRM in Spore is that you can only install /activate the game 3 times… total. Basically if you regularly reformat, and do it more than 3 times after purchasing Spore, you’re shit out of luck.

    • Crymson_77 says:

      @dianabanana: If there is only one computer in the household, that is effectively like telling someone to go buy a new computer if they want more than one account. Not exactly user OR consumer friendly…

      • Cocotte says:

        Any interactive MMO I play requires multiple licenses… nothing bizarre about this. If two people want to be ale to play together on the same server, they each have to be logging in from their own accounts.
        And yes, you can play often on your own account – that’s just playing your own game in your own universe.

        @Crymson_77: the key here is simultaneous access to the online universe. If they have only one computer, then only one can play at one time and they might as well share the account. If they both want to play together in realtime, that requires two computers and two licenses.

        Again, I see nothing noteworthy in this policy.

      • coren says:

        @Crymson_77: What would be the purpose of more than one account though? I mean, is there that much that people do online that separate accounts make a difference?

    • Corporate_guy says:

      @dianabanana: There should be nothing stopping them from allowing you to make separate accounts but restricting it so only one can be logged in at a time.

      • PinkBox says:

        @Corporate_guy: Exactly. You can easily log into other people’s accounts from the same game as long as you have seperate usernames/passwords. This is really common these days.

        Nice pic, Consumerist. You DID notice what is going on, right?

      • Diet-Orange-Soda says:

        @Corporate_guy: Exactly. Especially so because these are free accounts. Looking at the Xbox, I can create two completely separate and isolated accounts for free. PC games should work the same way.

    • shadydentist says:

      @dianabanana: If you’re gonna compare it with WOW, its more like forcing you to buy a new account to play more than one character.

    • curious_robot says:

      @dianabanana: Spore is hardly an MMO, but if we’re treating it as such (or at least as an MSO) it still is a ridiculous policy. In most MMOs you have one account, but can make multiple distinct avatars/characters, allowing a family to share an account and still have their individual experiences, just not simultaneously. In Spore, that’s not really possible, there is only one “universe” active per copy. You can start on another planet, but that’s it.

    • frari489 says:


      Wait, I’m confused. What’s the problem with making people purchase more than one copy if they want to open more than one account? (Other than it stating differently in the manual) That’s the case with majority of MMOs (World of Warcraft, Age of Conan, etc) out there.

      Blizzard gives away WOW for free download as many times as you want (if you have an active account) and you can install on as many computers as you want. The only restriction is you cant be logged onto more than 1 computer at a time using the same account.

      You can’t really compare WOW with Spore. It’s an apples oranges comparison.

    • I was getting my pitchfork ready until I got to this justification:

      Each and every box (both of the Core Game and the Galactic Edition) states “Only one registration available per game” on the back. There were many reason why we chose to have one account per copy of the game – some had to do with how saved games work and some had to do with limiting the online feature only to the one person who bought the game. We aren’t charging a subscription fee for the online features.

      I can see that side of the story, in light of dianabanana’s comment.

      However, MercuryPDX’s question: still remains: Can you install more than one copy on a single machine? If not, then that’s retarded.

      Why not just charge a nominal fee to register another profile if they’re concerned about the money?

      • chrisjames says:

        @Michael Belisle: Makes sense. Though, what exactly is so costly about supporting multiple accounts? The real account-based resource hog would be the database of all players’ creations, and this one account technique doesn’t resolve creation rates, creation volume, or bandwidth issues since it’s been said that multiple people can play simultaneously on one account.

        Just signing up two people for two accounts shouldn’t cost them much. That’s not a good argument, but here’s a better way to put that: offsetting the possible cost of a second Spore account with the price of a new Spore game is way imbalanced.

        Maybe they just couldn’t shoehorn it in at the last minute, and that comment about free subscriptions is grossly overestimating people’s purchasing power (or I’m underestimating it, will people really go buy second or third copies?).

    • Flynn says:

      @dianabanana: BTW, that’s not true. I’ve walked up to WoW installed on show floors, typed in my account/password, and jumped into my game. The point is that only one version of the installed software can be logged in at one time. But even Battle.net lets you log in on any machine that has the darn game installed…you just can’t log in from more than one location at a time.

      Because, the converse of that rule is that after 3 installs…you have to create a new account with EA, right? If anything is saved outside of your machine, it’s lost when that copy becomes invalid. Wouldn’t that be what happens? If not, how do you untie your account from one install and tie it to another? Because it would seem that the server would have to know. The installs are stupid. They can’t possibly know the state of every account without checking in first.

    • coolkiwilivin says:

      @dianabanana: The reason why people want multiple accounts is families. Battlefield 2 would allow you to create as many accounts you want. So let’s say there are 2 gamers in a family: dad and son, then they both create their own accounts and their achievements, history, unlocks, etc etc would kept separate. In BF2142, you only get 1 account but you can create separate soldiers. The pain is if you ever go play at LAN gaming center then you can NEVER play your own account. 2142 killed the BF franchise for me and stuff like this makes me say, I will NOT buy a game brand new, I will wait until the prices goes significantly down before I buy anything like this if I buy at all. Plus EA is so fricking vain that you can’t skip past the company logo movies. You must wait 35 seconds to watch the EA logo, Dice logo, the legalese, etc etc. EA you are my frenemy.

  4. LoriLynn says:

    They missed the word “not” probably. I’m an editor and I have to look very carefully for this particularly mistake in conclusions of reports. It’s pretty easy to skim your eye over.

    • PipeRifle says:

      @LoriLynn: I think “You may not have multiple Spore accounts for each installation of the game” is a pretty awkward sentence. The “not” makes the “each” really out of place. You think they’d say something along the lines of “Spore does not allow multiple accounts to be opened using a single installation”, or something.

      I think they’ve got it right in the post: the “misprint” is that it did exist at some point, and they forgot to take it out of the manual.

    • Xerloq says:


      Without telling people what they cannot do, as in this case, EA should have written the sentence in the affirmative to prevent any misunderstanding:

      “Spore allows for one online account per purchase. Additional online accounts require the purchase of additional licenses.”

      The “this is a misprint” argument tells me that the the right hand doesn’t know what the left is doing. The manual authors clearly had the idea that multiple accounts would be allowed, while sales and marketing had an altogether different idea.

  5. LoriLynn says:

    Particular, dammit. Note to self: no mistakes in posts where you tell people that you’re an editor.

  6. It’s been a long time sense my last MMO game Ultima Online, but that game allowed for 5 characters on one monthly subscription account, per server and there were many diff servers.

    • spazztastic says:

      @full.tang.halo: World Of Warcraft allows 10 per server, up to a total of 50, per account. But in the case of WoW, which is a true MMO, you actively interact with other players, and each player needs an account; the only way to get an account is to buy the software with the account code included. While it is a violation of their Terms of Service to share the account with others, there is an exception for household members; you can, for a fee, transfer characters between accounts with the same family name.

  7. OMG, somebody really made a Spore Goatse?

  8. samurailynn says:

    So, can you play multiple games? I haven’t kept completely up to date with what you “do” in Spore, but I thought it was supposed to be something along the lines of “create a creature, then create a society and guide it and evolve it”. That sounds like something that could be replayed tons of different ways. I might want to make 100 different creatures and societies just on my own. Is that possible?

  9. azntg says:

    To the once-independent company known as Maxis: You will be terribly missed. EA sucks.

  10. spazztastic says:

    Spore is not quite an MMO. You don’t actively interact with other players, but through their online account, you periodically download creatures created by other players (and upload your own) but the game’s AI controls the actions of those creatures once in your ‘world’.

    I’m glad that their current DRM doesn’t require that the CD be present to play the game, unlike every other game EA has released since the original SimCity. But the requirement for each person using the same PC to buy a copy of what is effectively a single-player game absurd. They should allow a certain number of accounts per install.

  11. bsalamon says:

    so when is somebody going to jailbreak spore?

  12. oyvader says:

    I’ve been playing Spore’s space-stage for a little while now. Each time I land on a new planet, I’m afraid it’s gonna be Planet of the Goatse…

  13. warf0x0r says:

    I think the term “Broken” isn’t a fair judgment. The game itself has bugs, but is playable and enjoyable. Ultimately its the licensing/user account issues along with the DRM protection that people take issues with. Personally I’m able to play the game once I’ve installed it.

    I do feel that the publisher didn’t add any value to the game by adding DRM and the user restrictions, but I do have to say that all publishing companies are going to address what they feel is profits slipping due to people stealing their products. Also as consoles take up more gaming market share PC game publishers are going to want to do more to mimic that model. Console gaming requires more users to purchase a copy to play the game, PC gaming is easier by far to avoid having to purchase the game to play it due to piracy, particularly for single player games.

    Ultimately I would just advise people not to buy the game or better yet go to a friends house and play it. If you like RTS or RPG its very poor. If you like a Sim it doesn’t really get good until the galaxy phase.

  14. akacrash says:

    I don’t care about the game one way or the other, but that article picture is comment-worthy.

    One of the most LOL pics I’ve seen on this site! Kudos!

  15. wdnobile says:

    Just more crap from the big Evil Empire known as EA. Havent purchased any of their products since they lied to their MMO community in Earth and Beyond and every time I read about them screwing someone else over I am happy I walked away from them years ago.
    WTG EA – keep pissing off your customers – sooner or later you will reach that tipping point.

  16. Macroy says:

    For everybody comparing this to an MMO…this is not an online game. Sure, it downloads content from the internet, but in no way are you interacting directly with other players during gameplay. Your account is tied to a Spore.com page, where you can upload your creations and comment on other people’s creations. That’s it.

    It’s more or less a single-player game that interacts with Spore.com, not an MMO with the same restrictions as an MMO.

    • mythago says:

      @Macroy: the point is that they’re attempting to make each person playing Spore buy a copy of the game, instead of one person buying a copy and everybody else mooching it. Tying purchase of the game to an online account is a way to limit that.

    • strathmeyer says:

      @Macroy: “or everybody comparing this to an MMO…this is not an online game.”

      What are you guys blabbering about? MMOs even let a single player have multiple characters (“accounts”).

  17. davebg5 says:

    Just imagine if a game like Rock Band did something like this.

    Oh, sorry, you wanted to create a rocker who plays guitar? Hmmm…too bad, you already created an account for a drummer. If you want to play guitar that’ll be another $50…thankyouverymuch.

    Horrible decisions all around on EA’s part.

  18. YeaYuh says:

    I had to install the game 3 times last night in order to get the game to work because it kept crashing when loading.

  19. Ringl says:

    It’s one thing to require you purchase a seperate account in order to play. But requiring you buy the 50 dollar game a second (or third!) time just to open that account is what’s rediculous.

    You’re essentially buying a disk that you won’t even install. You just want a scrap of paper with a serial number on it. It’s something I’d compare to the used car industry, but even they seem to have some scruples lately.

  20. Etoiles says:



    I purchased the game yesterday. This morning my boyfriend installed it on his PC (we live together, and his desktop is the newer, more powerful of the two) and got started playing.

    Now I guess I have to be him when I get home.

  21. JayCor says:

    Isn’t Spore a single-player game?

    One player = One user
    One user = One license

    Are people asking for different profiles within Spore (e.g., Tommy, Billy and Susie can all have “profiles” with their individual games)? Or are people asking to have the ability to create multiple instances of the game (e.g., Jimmy is the sole user, but wants to have multiple games running at different stages, sort of like having multiple saved games)?

    The “profiles” argument to me sounds business foolish; what’s to stop someone from installing the single license on separate machines?

    An idea would to allow for a “family pack” license (e.g., Apple OSX), with up to X “seats” available for a single license. That way Tommy, Billy, Susie, Jimmy and Rudiger can all have their own version while paying less than full retail for all five.

  22. MercuryPDX says:

    So wait though…. how exactly WOULD you install two copies of the game on one machine w/o overwriting one with another?

  23. Saboth says:

    Ah well, just like Bioshock, I won’t be buying/playing spore either. I’m an avid computer gamer, but yeah…people are right. Computer gaming is dying and DRM is killing it.

  24. Tzepish says:

    So much for Spore… the DRM scared me away, and now this has scared some of my friends away as well.


  25. tastybytes says:

    the restriction model i have seen with WOW and AoC has been separate keys for each PC installed; separate accounts for each person;multiple characters per account. so 1 person can buy the game for the household, but each person would need to pay for their online account. this allows someone to come over to my place and play with their account. the spore model does not allow this. bring your whole pc with you if you want to play at another location.

  26. shockwaver says:

    Ok, from my experience –

    Both my wife and I have a Mac (1 each), and we bought one copy of spore. She installed it on her machine, set up her EA account, and started playing. I took the disk, installed it on my machine, had to use her EA account to log in, but it set me up with my own universe, and let me create my own creatures. It’s hardly ideal, but it’s not that big of a deal. The 3 install restriction is more of a pain in the ass.

    But you can have multiple copies running, and logged in to EA at the same time – which, oddly enough.. seems to be what they’d want to prevent, and maybe they will down the road.

  27. shockwaver says:

    And to address the multiple character things with MMOs, you can create a bunch of different creatures and what not, you may have a limit based on the number of “planets” it lets you choose, but there are probably 8 or 9 of them.. and maybe a way to get new ones.

    Also, this is NOT an MMO. There is no online multiplayer component. hell, there is no multiplayer component at all.

  28. axiomatic says:

    This sucks, but ultimately it matters not. I wont be buying it anyway. I refuse to support anything with SecuROM on it. That Sony shill company needs to die.

  29. WiglyWorm must cease and decist says:

    I smell a class action.

    • WiglyWorm must cease and decist says:

      I mean, I certainly wouldn’t have bought it if I knew my fiance and I couldn’t both play our own seperate games and import each others species across accounts.

      sorry for double post.

  30. harvey_birdman_attorney_at_law says:

    It’s like buying pac man and then saying only one person in the house can play the game. If your brother wants to sit down and play pac man he has to buy his own version of the game.

    Thanks but no thanks, and I live alone.

    • Macroy says:

      My argument is, there’s such a lack of stuff to do online that I’m surprised they tie you to one account for each copy of the game. Since you can have it download content directly from your “buddies,” why wouldn’t you want to separate your buddies from your kid’s/wife’s/husband’s/boyfriend’s/girlfriend’s/etc buddies? And why is the only option “hey guys pls buy another copy of our game kthx”?

      @harvey_birdman_attorney_at_law: It’s more like saying that everyone that gets a high score in Pac-man has to use the same initials on the leaderboard.

  31. mewyn dyner says:

    I wanted to buy Spore, but as I reinstall my systems so often I’d deplete those three installs in less than a year (two machines, 6 month or less reinstall schedule for various reasons.) So, EA isn’t getting my money for this one. I would like it, but EA, get your head out of your bum and quit treating your prospective customers like criminals or you’ll start losing them!

  32. FunPaul says:

    The DRM on this game is a real shame. It’s supposedly in place to prevent people from stealing the game, but it fails at doing it. It punishes the people who buy the game and force them to purchase more than one copy if they want to play by the rules.

    It seems as though it’s more about control than it is about protecting the content.

    I actually wrote about the DRM a few days ago. I hope some of you find this interesting.


  33. EOr says:

    Yes, I discovered this “feature” the day after we got the game. I am sad to report that I have to share the same galaxy with my son, who has overrun almost half of its planets already! I’d worry that I’m doomed to extinction if it wasn’t my own son…

  34. cknight says:

    This really isn’t all that shocking. With World of Warcraft you can have multiple ‘accounts’ all use the same installation on the same computer, but in order to create an account you need to have an unused registration code, which you can only obtain by buying a new copy of the game.

    So, technically, multiple people _can_ use the same installation of the game, but they need their own licenses to create individual accounts. I believe every single MMO operates this way.


  35. Gmork says:

    Every MMO I have ever played allows you to make more than one character, even to the degree of using a totally different server. This allows multiple people in the same house to play the game independently on the same computer using the same account. So yeah, Spore not allowing more than one person to play sucks.

    • EOr says:

      @Gmork: Spore does actually allow more than one player. That is, different players can develop creatures on different planets. It is just that they all will be part of the same online account.

  36. howie_in_az says:

    Maybe PC gaming DRM is a secret push to sell more consoles — I’d think that PS3/X360 owners would balk at the notion of having to buy a wholly separate disc just so another family member could play it on the same console.

  37. Gokuhouse says:

    This game doesn’t seem so much like a MMO, it really seems to me to be a single player game with some (maybe lots of) online features. So, forcing someone to buy 2 copies to have 2 accounts which basically are single player accounts is dumb. Unless I haven’t read enough about the game and you actually interact with other players online and can attack other players or be attacked by other players or rule cities that other players can come and visit or something along those lines.

    • warf0x0r says:

      @Gokuhouse: Its more along the lines of you are creating custom content that you can associate to your account. Other peoples custom content can be downloaded onto your account and from there you create your own unique collection of content. The further you get into the game the more expansive it becomes.

  38. davidc says:

    DRM only punished the good guys, the bad guys can download the game, stripped of DRM, for free from hundreds of places. I won’t buy any game with DRM on it, but neither will I download a stripped version.

    The ironic part of all of this is that the Game Companies think they are losing sales due to Pirates, so they ratchet up the DRM to try to stop pirates, but in reality, they are losing sales BECAUSE of the DRM implementations.

    Voting with my voice and with my dollars. Is EA listening? /cue picture of the three monkeys …

  39. Cocotte says:

    Okay, so it’s not an mmo. If you buy one copy of the game and want to let other people play it, they have to share your account. If they want to make their own account, they have to buy their own copy of the game… still not seeing the evil in this.

  40. Stop crying about this, Consumerist. This is the same with many other video games. The way Spore works, it’s not an issue. If you want to have a separate account, pay for it. Not everything is free in this world and this game cost an assload of money to produce.

    It’s like saying “Why can’t you have multiple accounts in World of Warcraft?” and only purchasing one copy of the game. Duh.

    • MercuryPDX says:

      @Vincent Voltaire: It’s like saying “Why can’t you have multiple accounts in World of Warcraft?” and only purchasing one copy of the game.

      No, I think it’s more “Why can’t you have multiple characters in World of Warcraft?”

    • davebg5 says:

      @Vincent Voltaire: “This is the same with many other video games.”

      Which is one of the major reasons why PC gaming is a dying industry.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      @Vincent Voltaire: The difference between spore and WoW is that you can borrow someone elses disk and just pay for an account – and it DOESN’T cost $50.

      • Cocotte says:

        @Oranges w/ Cheese: Actually, “paying for an account” for WoW is paying for a new license, which is in fact paying for a new copy of the game, exactly the same as Spore. For both games, you can log your account in from anywhere, but each account requires a license to back it up. Not evil, just basic business, c’mon.

    • sburnap42 says:

      @Vincent Voltaire: No, it is not how other video games work.

      I’ve mostly been a console gamer lately, because of this PC SecuRom bullshit type stuff, but in general, I go buy a disk. I put it in my PS3. I install it in one account. I can then go log into another account and very happily play the same game. This is also true of downloadable content. Hell, I can even go install it on other PS3s if I want.

      The last PC game I bought is Civ IV, and it happily lets you install on as many machines as you want. (Which is fortunate, because I’ve repeatedly installed/deinstalled it on my work laptop for space reasons.)

      I was really looking forward to Spore, but there’s lots of other good games out. I’m going to spend my money on the games without the draconian bullshit.

  41. JohnDeere says:

    i havent played wow in a long time, but im almost positive that i was able to make more than one character. just couldnt play more than one at the same time. im sure thats what this issue is pertaining too. lots of games let you make multiple characters per account so you can get a feel on what class you prefer.

    Spore is the biggest failure this century.

  42. Weewolf says:

    This game is not an MMO, a good apology would be only allowed to have one unfinished game of Civilization going at one time. If you wanted to start a new game you would have to delete your old game.

    Should each member of your household be forced to buy their own version of a single player game to play their own game?

    • @Weewolf: Should each member of your household be forced to buy their own version of a single player game to play their own game?

      There’s some sort of offline mode, but nobody seems to be interested in playing it offline.

      @mattarse: If the DRM is supposed to protect profits, but is draconion enough to discourage legitimate buyers – is the DRM worth it?

      A problem is that I think some high percentage of the population bends over. Over at Amazon, it’s #3 in games right now despite the 1-star rating.

    • coren says:

      @Weewolf: Yes, but that’s nto the case here – you can have multiple saves or games running.

  43. Ooooooh, looks like one guy got EA to offer to make an exception after threatening “them with trading standards”.

    As a special consideration to your case, if you have a second e-mail address that you would also like to use for creatures, kindly provide this to me in your next response. I will continue looking into your case from there.

    (However, he lost patience after “waiting over 24 hours for a reply”….)

    Sounds like EA might have a hint that they fucked this one up.

  44. mattarse says:

    If the DRM is supposed to protect profits, but is draconion enough to discourage legitimate buyers – is the DRM worth it?
    Is it especially worth it considering the less than 24 hours it took for cracked, working copies to start being distributed?
    With the cracked copies you do lose the online play, but atleast it’s not a misnamed rental.

  45. sonicanatidae says:

    While the pirated version doesnt allow online access, it does work perfectly and you can install it all over the house.

    Thanks again EA for making the torrent nice and crisp on seeders and download speeds… I, for one, appreciate your pirate-encouraging DRM

  46. duffm4n says:

    This is completely insane, I’ll be sure to keep my purchases away from EA products.

  47. Anto103 says:

    Well I’m sure Trading’s and Standards would be interested in this little tidbit.

  48. y2julio says:

    did consumerist just goatse me??

  49. mattarse says:

    @Michael Belisle – your completely right about that, despite all the complaints I think this one will break records for the number of people who buy it.

    I do need to look up what the benefits of the online play is, I’ve never been one to really care about that.

  50. BrianDaBrain says:

    EA FTL. When will they learn that people want to actually own a game and not just stare at the shiny surface of the CD?

  51. Adisharr says:

    Typical EA – not that Spore is actually a game worth buying if you’re over the age of 10. The gameplay couldn’t be more boring or repetitive.

    If you want to try the game, just DL the creature creator trial – that’s the most interesting part anyway. The rest is filler between creature additions.

  52. 3drage says:

    I never thought I’d be the victim of Goatse while reading Consumerist. :(

  53. maztec says:

    I think the question is being asked incorrectly . . .

    Each account supports several planets, theoretically allowing each player to play in a lot of places… And allowing each family member to have their own location. The “problem” is sometimes you don’t want your family member to log in and abuse your creatures or game – especially since the save is current state time saves and non-recursive.

    EA is probably thinking, “If you have multiple accounts, you can install it on multiple computers! Bad!” But, since the DRM already locks it down . . it doesn’t seem to be needed.

    I think there could be a decent accessibility or fair use argument for this – possibly from the “misprint” of the manual. But at most you’ll get a refund.

    Honestly, in the end, I could care less about the DRM. DRM is a joke and will hopefully become useless with time, but in the mean time we live with it and it makes some amount of sense when keeping users aware of what is write or not write.

    • MercuryPDX says:

      @maztec: The “problem” is sometimes you don’t want your family member to log in and abuse your creatures or game – especially since the save is current state time saves and non-recursive.

      Even without the abuse, wouldn’t you miss out on the whole evolution/extinction of your species while someone else is playing?

      • maztec says:

        @MercuryPDX: Uhmmm, No? Put them on a new planet and they can start from scratch without interfering with you. Not sure if your planets can interact at the interstellar point of the game, so not sure what effect that would have . . . But, no, new planets are new planets . . .

        • MercuryPDX says:

          @maztec: Maybe I understand the game wrong, but isn’t it about Evolution?

          You create a creature on a planet and it evolves. So if your roommate starts your game, picks a new planet and plays there, is time halted on “your” planet while he’s playing on another one? If not then while your roommate is playing God somewhere else, your creatures are evolving (or dying from lack of care) without you.

  54. Aeroracere says:

    And this is why I will be waiting for the PS3 release, even if it never comes.

  55. nerdsavant says:

    I think this, from Macroy, is the most succinct comment I’ve seen so far.

    It’s more like saying that everyone that gets a high score in Pac-man has to use the same initials on the leaderboard.

    So you can separate save files, essentially, but everyone shares the same achievements, buddies, and username and pass to log on.

    The deal was already broken for me at the mention of SecureROM. But this would definitely get the ol’ Consumerist recommended chargeback from me.

  56. outsdr says:

    Please excuse any typos; I had carpal-release surgery this morning abnd I can’t type very well


    From reading other reviews, I’ve gathered that EA is not trying to prevent piracy with this game.

    It’s the decoy for everyone’s anger in hopes they’ll miss a few other things:

    1- Used resales. Not many people will want to buy this game second hand, because:

    A- there’s no real way to tell how many activations remain

    B- the activation number is tied to someone else’s account; I don’t know how hard it is to

    transfer an account to a different email address, if it’s possible at all.

    When a game is sold secondhand, EA gets no money. Even if 1/3 of the people who buy Spore would

    have bought it resale, that would be a huge loss of income.

    2- Longevity. By forcing activation of this game to be online, they can end this game any time

    they want to … say, if Spore 2 is coming out, and they want to drive sales to the new game,

    instead of seeing people continue to play the first one.

    EA’s greed is shown with Creature Creator, which is obviously and necessarily included in Spore.

    The sole purpose of Creature Creator is to create creatures, obviously- creatures that are then

    used to also populate Spore. Why pay someone to create a 100 different creatures, when the gaming

    community can not only be used to create thousands for free, but will pay $10 for the chance to

    do it?

    Considering how intrinsically this game is tied to the internet, EA could have earned a lot of

    goodwill if Creature Creator had been available as a free download. So many more people would

    have created creatures that would have been available on game day to stream into the game. And

    all of those people woulkd have an EA account already set up and waiting for Spore to come out

    and put those creatures into play. An incredible missed opportunity.

    Spore is not an MMO; Spore doesn’t even qualify as a multiplayer game- It is a single-player game

    that requires an online connection to add and share user-generated content.

    However, I’m sure EA will continue to rake in money when they begin to release an “expansion”

    every six months, a la The Sims.

    EA could have allowed this game to be so much more than it is; it easily could have been the game

    of the year, instead of being an interesting and noteworthy game smothered by its limitations.

  57. outsdr says:

    And I can’t apologize enough for the weird linebreaks, either. I don’t know WTF happened. :(

  58. TMurphy says:

    Correct me if I am wrong, but I am assuming games like WOW only allow one account per copy to minimize people being able to abuse multiple accounts- whether to aid their own accounts unfairly, or to abuse other players. Basically, limiting accounts has a benefit for the gaming experience

    Spore, on the other hand, makes no sense to have limited accounts if you use the ‘gaming experience’ argument. I cannot come up with a good reason other than greed, or lazy ‘anti-piracy measures’.

  59. sam-i-am says:

    I’m going to sell you this first aid kit. You are allowed to use it on one person and one person only and must throw it away immediately after opening it. You may not give the first aid kit away as a gift or transfer it in any other way. If you move to a different house, you must throw away the kit and buy a new one. Nobody else may see the kit or know what is inside, but they are legally bound to the rules printed inside the kit.

    Also, you may not open the kit at any time for any reason.

    (I’m glad the rest of the world doesn’t act like the entertainment industry.)

  60. The_IT_Crone says:

    I will never buy SW that has that DRM on it. Period. Any company that treats their customers like criminals deserves to be boycotted.

  61. Nerys says:

    OK I could be off here but I think I know whats going on. OK you can have multiple intalls and presences ON THE PC SIDE. but once you hit EA you get ONE “critter” account and ONE sporopedia. SO when 2 people in the house play ONLINE they look like ONE person playing. IE one big sporepedia. They want SEPERATE sporepedia’s accounts online per family member. So sara critters ONLINE are seperate from Billy’s Critters online.

    THIS is what EA is not allowing.

    This also effects SINGLE USERS. if you create one “universe” with all PEACE critters and one “universe” with all WAR like critters when people see you online they do not see one peace and one war they see a MIX of the two in one account.

  62. Hastin says:

    FYI: This is how every EA game that has a CD-Key is. You can install it on multiple machines, but can only ‘register’ it to one account. That’s how The Sims 1 worked, how SimCity 4 worked, and how The Sims 2 works.

    The ‘activation’ system in Spore is seperate from the ‘registration’ system alltogether.

  63. LiaPolo says:

    I was going to buy Spore until I heard about the terrible DRM issues. I have
    not purchased the game yet, and I may not ever purchase it. If I did buy the
    game, I would surely download a “cracked” exe or installation
    to circumvent the annoyances of a legitimate copy. Is that illegal,
    considering i would have already purchased the rights to have the game?

  64. DickRivett says:

    You would think they would encourage more than one ‘account’ to be created since they are relying on user created creatures to sprinkle content into their game.

    The difference between this and an MMO is that in the MMO the world doesn’t really change so who cares if you have multiple characters, you can still only play one at a time but its pretty hard for one of them to muck up the world for the other.

    I refuse to buy any game that has DRM like this in it. The pc game market is dead anyway. The consoles killed it, not piracy.

    The limited activation count is to hurt the used game market, not to fight piracy. since they don’t get to see any of that revenue they need to kill it.

  65. yakkowarner says:

    just to repeat the DRM is a ruse on customers. EA knows full well it does nothing to stop piracy. Its to force post retail control, and stop the secondary(resale) market.

  66. Trai_Dep says:

    I’m simply glad they didn’t use a kitten model for the goatse creature. I wouldn’t want my cats to get any ideas (oww! claws – sharp! oww!)…

  67. Everything about this release is fux0rd beyond belief. EA really went out of their way to cripple gameplay in their frantic defense against the imaginary hordes who supposedly want to pirate their games. (Yes, there are pirates — just not anywhere near as many as companies like EA want us to believe.)

    Of course, the end result is hilarious: Not only is it simple to pirate the game *anyway*, but now people who would never pirate a game otherwise are pirating this one, because the DRM is a virus/rootkit that’s been known to destroy computers, and getting a pirated copy is the only way to safely install it!

    Eris loves you, EA. Nobody *else* does, though.

  68. Philomorph says:

    I think it’s entirely possible that this restriction is a result of them loosening the original DRM scheme. Remember that the first plan was to have the game phone home for validation every time you ran it. This would help them prevent the same serial# from being used on multiple computers, which would make it ok to have multiple logins on the same game.

    But people screamed about that DRM being too restrictive, so they reduced it to only phoning home on installation. This makes it impossible for them to validate that you haven’t installed the game on a couple friends’ computers too. So they had to tie the serial# to your online login instead.

    It’s not ideal, but I can see their problem. This is the first Massively Online Single Player game, so it’s new ground. People are used to single-player sim games being unbound by online restrictions. With The Sims, my wife and I can share the same game and have our own logins. But we can’t share Spore the same way, so it seems more restrictive.

    But we can’t both share one World of Warcraft account because that’s how online games work, so this doesn’t seem so unusual.

  69. MrEvil says:

    I don’t bootleg stuff, but if I ever purchase Spore I’ll probably open up the box, and then download a bootlegged version from The Pirate Bay.

    Steam from Valve might be DRM, but at least you can install your games on as many machines as many times as you’d like and just have to remember your username and password.

  70. TPS Reporter says:

    I’m still not sure if I understand what the limitations are on the game. Can it be installed and used by more than 1 user on the same PC but only using a different user signon or do you have to buy a 2nd license for that? And is that 2nd person’s play independent of your own if you don’t have to pay? I haven’t bought the game yet, not even sure if I will. Just asking as there are alot of conflicting statements here.

  71. randomd00d says:

    The difference is that I can install my World of Warcraft on as many different machines as I want as many times as I want.

    I can log on from ANYONES copy of WoW with my account info, so I can play at home, then login from a laptop, travel to grandma’s and play there, or whatever.

    Spore has the double whammy of restricting your accounts AND your installs.

  72. selectman says:

    Let’s step back in gaming history shall we?


    1990: Dragon Warrior 2 is released in the US, allowing up to three different “saves” at once. My brother, myself and best friend all get our own!

    1990: Final Fantasy 1 is released in the US with one save for the whole cartridge. My brother and I try sharing but eventually resort to buying a second copy.

    1991: Final Fantasy 2 is released in the US with FOUR save spots. Square learned their lesson and we can all play without paying $70 a pop! Hooray!

    2008: Spore released lacking critical feature which has existed in nearly all games with saved state for almost 20 years!

  73. ThunderRoad says:

    My copy of the Collector’s Edition arrived yesterday from Amazon. I didn’t get a chance to install it last night.

    After giving it some thought, reading the reviews of the game saying it’s somewhat disappointing, and the ongoing saga with this DRM virus shit, I said “screw it” and returned it to Amazon.

    It’s a faulty product, IMHO.

    I’ll either warez it or just wait for it to hit the $20 bargain bin in 2 months.

  74. yakkowarner says:

    Amazon.com recently deleted all user reviews of spore. =(

  75. Floppy_Densetsu says:

    I just wanted to bring to everyone’s attention that in WindowsXP, if you have multiple users, each user gets their own set of worlds to play with, my sister has her own user and i accidentally discovered this by trying to play my world while on her username, it didn’t exist as an option untill i switched users, and her world didn’t exist under my user, so yes, each person can have their own set of world, though not seperate sporepedia accounts, have fun :)

  76. andrew_t29 says:

    The game SPORE is great but the DRM on it is absolute shit.

    For example, uninstalling apparently does NOT give you another computer to install on. I have three computers and one of them didn’t work well with the game but I can’t install again. Same thing with separate EA accounts. Hate it.

    Spore is good, but FUCK SecuROM and EA.

  77. delphi_ote says:

    It’s sad that people have to buy the game and then pirate it when the DRM gets in the way.

  78. P-Flute says:

    This has got to be about the most disappointing moment in gaming for me so far this year.

    Actually played the game and love it to death (haven’t had a game make me feel this way since the early 90’s,) but now that it’s out and we’ve picked up a copy and registered it with my girlfriend… Well, now I can’t even have my own Sporepedia entries or achievements, which greatly takes the edge off of creating things in general for me. I actually regret spending money on this and will be seeking a chargeback/refund in any way possible.

  79. ReverseG says:

    What’s really sad about this story is that a really decent game will suffer the most because of DRM fears.

    Pooh to EA for being an 800-pound gorilla and ruining everybody’s fun. Casual gamers will become apprehensive about this game because of all the shop owners/hardcore gamers will reactivate their paranoia with this DRM fiasco.

    The bastards.

    If EA offers a patch and bashes this baby I’ll chuck a party at my flat. Who’s in?

  80. Moleculor says:

    Worse yet, as you can’t associate one copy of the game with two separate keys, and you can’t install two copies onto one computer, you have to buy an entirely separate computer in order to allow two people to play on two separate accounts.

  81. blackmage439 says:

    Apparently, EA hasn’t learned a damn thing over the past couple of years. The experiences with Sony’s rookit DRM, and the Bioshock fiasco should have taught these companies that DRM is inherently bad for the consumer. Sure, people will still buy the crap, if it’s good crap (sorry Sony), but they will cry bloody hell over it.

    DRM only dissuades the most technologically inept of pirates, yet it harms the experiences of even the most devout purchasers.

    EA and the continuation of draconian DRM = FAIL. I was considering picking up Battle for Middle Earth II, but not now. EA won’t see a penny of my money until this is fixed.

  82. wiley14 says:

    I know this is old and I’m waaaay behind the times. But, if Spore really contains DRM, I’d like to know where.

    The CD doesn’t need to be in the system when you run the game. I installed it and shelved the CD. Never been prompted for it again (I promise – I didn’t crack it).

    Multiple people can actually play the game. The login to the Spore server isn’t for DRM – but for saving creations (creatures, buildings, vehicles, etc…) Any merits you earn are tied directly to the game itself – and I think you can have six or seven saved games (probably more if you do some fiddling with the files). If you delete the game, you erase your merits *earned* with that particular game.

    This whole DRM scare is simply that – a scare. People who didn’t know what they were talking about spread this rumor.

    If you choose not to purchase a game only because it has supposed DRM, then fine with me. I don’t see the problem with a company trying to protect their intellectual property.