EA Finally Realizes People Are Upset Over Spore DRM

from the taken-by-surprise? dept

It only took two weeks since the massive backlash against EA for the DRM and account limits it included with Spore for EA to recognize that maybe it needed to respond. This morning, EA agreed to up the install limit from 3 times to 5, claiming they may also make exceptions in some cases, and also released a patch allowing for multiple user names. While it's nice that the company finally responded, this is still a pretty weak response and doesn't address the core issues.

Also, it's odd that it took the company this long to respond. EA claims that the controversy caught them "off guard." If so, then they clearly haven't paid much attention. We were among many sites that talked about the DRM problem back in May, which got tons of angry comments. Other sites that discussed the DRM got similar angry comments as well, so the only way this should have caught EA off guard was if they weren't paying any attention whatsoever to what various gamers were saying.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Ted Stickle, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 4:28pm

    buy, then bootleg

    I am pretty sure that when I buy it I will be downloading the DRM free version. What can I say?

     

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    bookdragoness, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 4:31pm

    Oh wow, really EA??

    I cancelled my preorder when they released the information on their DRM scheme and included a note as to why. I'm definitely not the only person who did, either. Maybe the cascading wave of cancellations should have told them something?

    Chalk this one up to cynicism, but this just seems like EA yet again trying to gauge the exact amount of offensiveness they can put in their DRM without pissing ALL their customers off. Once it's calibrated and customers are desensitized, expect everything be released with a minimum-outrage-generating form of DRM and go up from there. Count me out.

     

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    Joe, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 4:37pm

    I really wanted this game...pity EA had to be the one making it

    I was all set to buy this game...Seemed perfect as it would make me happy and hopefully surprise my wife with the quirky easy gaming components. With the DRM I passed and I won't buy it as long as DRM is out.

     

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    Gabe Stephenson, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 4:44pm

    The product lacked basic market research

    A reasonable manager would have documented this in the "Risks" column of the overall project. They possibly could have researched customer's overall customer perception of DRM or Account limits, even point to the success/failure of similar products like Windows Genuine Advantage in the customer's eyes. This could have been done in 15 minutes using Google. After this, maybe just for kicks, they would have created a contingency plan. It's sad it took this long.

     

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    avian, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 4:59pm

    Such is life

    It's a shame that the marketing people are A) stupid enough to miss the DRM backlash, and B) the ones who control the distribution of the games. I make computer games, and would never consent to having DRM on any of them. Limiting the content is not the way forwards.

     

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    Buzz, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 5:05pm

    typical

    EA, like Microsoft, becomes overly arrogant in its position of power. If EA attempted this when it was brand new and struggling to survive, it would have been a death wish. Why does EA now feel that it's OK to make these decisions?

     

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  7.  
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    Pete Valle, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 5:13pm

    Too little, too late

    Five installs??? Well, wooptie, freaking doo... Still not getting my money EA...sorry.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 5:20pm

    It should be noted that it isn't simply a matter of expanding the installs from 3 to 5. Previously, you could have thre installs. EVER. It would be like having three oranges. If you eat one orange, you will NEVER get it back. The change they made -- and that we were demanding -- is that you be able to RECOVER installations. That is, it should behave like iTunes. You can have it installed only so many places at one time, but if you uninstall it from one place, you are refunded that installation and can go install it in a new place (or reinstall in the same place again). It is a very significant difference. Three installs - regardless of reason - EVER. Versus three or five concurrent installs.

    Then, the expansion of moving from one character per account to five (a reasonable number for a small family or a dorm room or something) is also good and addresses the second major issue.

    Third, we still have to deal with SecuROM. That sucks. However, that is an issue that doesnt' directly affect your ability to use the game now, later and forever. It is more of a libertarian, philisophical (though practical in a way -- if you have it on your computer) issue. We don't want crap installed on our machines and monitoring us, etc.

    EA also declared that they would issue a patch that turned off "phone home" for activations if they ever shut down the registration/activation server. They stated that they have no interest in preventing people from playing their game even long after everything is over with, years down the road.

    As one of the most vocal critics (I'm in the not four or five reviews on amazon for it), I see this as a win and while I still dislike the SecuROM, I am glad that they gave in to the consumer on the most important and vital issues that could have potentially shut us out of our own games down the road.

    If they keep this in mind for later releases of other games, I think they'll do well and I can look past this. The SecuROM inclusion, in general, will still be a point of contention, but it alone will not prevent me from buying a title.

     

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    Wrathernaut, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 5:31pm

    Good Business.

    They still miss the point that the pirates have a 100% DRM free, unhindered version, while users have only a slightly less hobbled version now.

    Pirates deterred by DRM: 0.
    Users hindered by DRM: ∞ times more.

    Price paid for DRM: $Monies.
    Pirates hindered by whatever that cost was: 0.
    Pirates deterred per dollar: 0.

    Cost of user support for re-authorizations: $More Monies.
    Cost of user support for re-authorizations if DRM was not present: $0 Monies.

    Somebody tell me how this is good business?

     

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    Mr Hat, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 5:32pm

    Its not the number of installs,

    its the fact that the game is dependent on the activation server to run. No one is going to trust that they will be able to play this game in 5 or 10 years like they can with simcity. They are not really listening to what people are unhappy about at all.

     

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    Rekrul, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 5:35pm

    EA also declared that they would issue a patch that turned off "phone home" for activations if they ever shut down the registration/activation server. They stated that they have no interest in preventing people from playing their game even long after everything is over with, years down the road.

    Was that a legally binding statement that would stand up in a court of law or just a promise?

     

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    john, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 5:42pm

    missing a step

    I agree with Anon Coward... i read a review and it noted the manual stated you could have multiple users under one account, but that wasn't present in the version RTM. They're testing the waters and seeing how much people will take. They'll back off enough to quiet the majority of the critics. Next game will push that bar slightly farther out. Eventually, most will be so used to a high level of restriction there won't be any backlash at all.

    EA can do this because they're the largest publisher on the PC platform.

     

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    Bradley Stewart, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 5:59pm

    EA Games Response

    It doesn't supprise me a bit that EA GAMES took so long to respond. In fact I am supprised that they responded at all. This may be the most aloof company that I have ever tried to communicate with. Good luck reaching these people about anything. In almost forty years I spent in sales and customer service on my worst days I never treated any customers as poorly as this company, if they bother to respond at all which is extreamly unlikly.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 7:36pm

    (Claiming) ignorance is bliss!

     

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    BSOD, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 7:46pm

    Ummmm

    Slight tangent, but what happens when Microsoft decides to turn off the XP activation servers.

    I can live with the lack of support, but this would force many people to seek a hacked copy, no ?

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 8:42pm

    Re:

    I declare that I will give you fifty bucks.

     

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    David Fong, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 8:54pm

    Re: buy, then bootleg

    Seriously. Support the company, blah blah, so they can make more games. That is good.
    Then, simply crack it to run without any of the dumb stuff EA sticks in there.
    I'm fairly sure that's legal, since you do own the game.

     

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  18.  
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    EArrgh, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 9:03pm

    Re: The product lacked basic market research

    EA didn't have to look any further than its own official game boards to see their customers 1) hate Securom to the point that its inclusion is a complete deal-breaker and 2) online only activation and limits are the rancid cherry on top of the deal-breaker.

    They could've also learned a thing or two from the Bioshock mess and saved us all some money and aggravation, but as a former EA customer of over a decade, I can solemnly swear that EA is incapable of learning.

    Someone called them 'aloof' further down. QFT. I'd add arrogant and inept too.

     

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  19.  
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    Rodney, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 9:20pm

    Bitch Bitch

    Just shut up and play the game! It's a great game! Have it on 3 systems, it's fun as hell, very little bugs if any, doesn't need the CD, and I just Ghost my drives so if anything does go wrong I can just restore the drive and play on. Why all the bitching? WTF? EA thank you for a great game, well worth my money. Keep up the good work!

     

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  20.  
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    Jeremy, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 9:48pm

    Re: buy, then bootleg

    dont buy just bootleg from EA until they see their sales dropping and then maybe they will figure out DRM hurts sales, dont buy it your just rewarding them for selling crap

     

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  21.  
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    rooly, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 10:13pm

    who buys drm'd games anyway?

    i have to say, i only know 2 people who bought the game, and it doesn't work on both of their computers (running vista may be the cause). everyone else around me, probably several hundred, have a pirated copy of the game, and refuse to buy it until they get what they paid for: ownership of a copy of the program, not just a license to use it until EA flips the light switch...

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 11:30pm

    Re: Bitch Bitch

    Had it on three systems. They died in a fire, CD was safe. No moar installs.

    I cry.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 11:33pm

    Re: Re: Bitch Bitch

    Three systems were: My laptop, my computer before fatal crash. My new computer. Laptop and New Computer died in fire.

    I get out of EA with some wrangling one more install. Am told that if I ever wipe windows and start from scratch they're not likely to give me another install because they think I am lying.

    I cry

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 11:48pm

    Re:

    >>It would be like having three oranges. If you eat one orange, you will NEVER get it back.

    I don't know about you, but if I eat an orange, I certainly don't want it back...especially after it's been through my digestive tract!

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 19th, 2008 @ 11:55pm

    Re: Good Business.

    To be fair, you're leaving out the casual pirate. average joes who don't know how to pirate software off the internet will get a copy from their friend or their friend's friend.

     

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  26.  
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    Spectere, Sep 20th, 2008 @ 1:18am

    Re:

    It should be noted that it isn't simply a matter of expanding the installs from 3 to 5. Previously, you could have thre installs. EVER. It would be like having three oranges. If you eat one orange, you will NEVER get it back. The change they made -- and that we were demanding -- is that you be able to RECOVER installations.


    The online activation is unacceptable regardless of whether you can recover installations or not.

    First of all, if there is a failure to connection to the activation server during the uninstall process, what happens? Odds are, you lose the install.

    What if your hard drive crashes? It's not exactly an unlikely occurrence. Even so, oops, you just lost an install.

    What if you reinstall Windows and uninstalling all of your SecuROM applications slips your mind (after all, such things should be cleanly dealt with when you wipe your drive). Oops, another install gone!

    And finally, whether you can recover activations or not doesn't change the fact that pirates are able to play the game hassle-free. If the activation servers are down for a day they're not stuck staring at the packaging. They're actually playing the damn game while the paying customers are sitting down cursing EA.

    The pirates don't have ring 0 copy protection drivers sitting on their system waiting to be exploited -- paying customers are.

    The pirates NEVER have to have a CD in the drive.

    The pirates don't pay a dime and their playing experience is almost always better than that of paying customers.

    The fact that companies like Stardock, Introversion, and numerous other small companies are releasing games that have reached incredible commercial success without including horrifying DRM really says a lot. The fact that people are blinding buying games that don't have DRM simply to support the companies who publish DRM-free games speaks volumes about how bad the recent "solutions" have been.

    EA loosening up their leash on their activation scheme is certainly not a win for consumers. I consider it an insult.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2008 @ 1:40am

    EA has never listened to customers

    >> so the only way this should have caught EA off guard was if they weren't paying any attention whatsoever to what various gamers were saying.

    Having dealt with EA professionally for many years, both as a customer and as a service provider/solutions provider, I have never been in a position where I ever considered that what EA, or anyone working at EA, was doing was based in any way on customer feedback or on serving the customer's needs.

    Every interaction I have had with the company is based purely on marketing metrics, and how the company can make the most money for the least risk - which is why there are so many sequels of essentially the same game, and why the blockbuster titles they buy in are typically swathed in restrictive DRM - a horse/barn mentality around trying to drive up unit sales, rather than increase customer retention and satisafaction.

    One of the most horrendous experiences I have ever had with EA was trying to speak to the head of their Support Department, not as an EA customer, but on a business level. After several months of non-returned phone calls I gave up on EA as a bad business risk.

    And on that note, the games industry has never been interested in customer retention - once a game is released, the company basically cuts it's losses and ignores everything (barring subscription-based titles of course), which is why support for released games is usually so poor.

    EA have also been (from memory) one of the most vocal proponents for the second-sale doctrine - whereby they either control the second hand sale of the games they release (by placing onerous restrictions on the activation, making resale impossible or incredibly difficult), or by claiming they should receive a percentage of any resale made.

    I don't buy very many EA games anymore - and when I do, I buy the retail package (there you go, EA, you have my money) and then download a cracked version to actually install. The cracked version - as rightly stated elsewhere in the comments - typically comes with an easier install process, no hidden Securom drivers (or any others), no requirement for the CD to be in the drive, and an overall better ongoing experience with the package as a whole.

    Like many others, if EA removed this restrictive DRM, the online activations, the limited installs, and actually released a game that I could *buy* rather than rent temporarily, then I might spend more of scarce resource (my spare money and leisure time) on their product, and I might spend more often.

    But wait - that would mean they're retaining me as a customer rather than boosting unit sales.

    As you were EA...

     

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  28.  
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    Anon Old School Atarian, Sep 20th, 2008 @ 3:02am

    EA has always been about DRM.

    Long before it was called Digital Rights Management, EA had some of the most nefarious copy protection on the market. Back in the days of 5.25 inch disk drives, they had copy protection which relied on the disk having bad sectors on it.

    Sounds fine, but this would cause the drive to do a head re-alignment proceedure. This was death to Atari 810 disk units (About $300.00 at the time)! What the drive would do when it found a bad sector, was to run the head mechanism all the way against the calibrated stop and vibrate it in order to bring it back into alignment with a LOUD "BRAPPPPP"!

    Strange thing, if you pirated their precious software by loading the correct register in memory with the fake returned error code (#144 in the case of sector not found/bad sector on an Atari), this stopped, and you avoided having you hardware damaged for playing Archon or MULE.

    You think they would have learned by now. Somewhere between the programmers, and the store shelf, there are pointy haired bosses, bean counters, and DRM facilitators... and of course marketing which can hype a destroyed product as if it's still intact... the saga of stupidity has gone on for 25 years. I would bet there's 2500 more years to go.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2008 @ 3:12am

    Re: Re: Good Business.

    To be fair you're grossly underestimating the average person. Let me demonstrate:

    http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&q=spore+crack&btnG=Google+Search&me ta=

    WOW, that was hard......

    DRM does not work in deterring ANY copy infringement, casual or otherwise. DRM punishes legitimate, paying consumers. EA are moronic for going down this route.

     

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  30.  
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    Mitur Binesderty, Sep 20th, 2008 @ 4:20am

    Gee, let me buy it now... not

    Gee, I can PAY for it and have all these bullshit DRM problems or I can just steal it and not have to fuck with DRM.

    Man are these people stupid.

     

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  31.  
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    PaulT (profile), Sep 20th, 2008 @ 5:29am

    "This morning, EA agreed to up the install limit from 3 times to 5, claiming they may also make exceptions in some cases, and also released a patch allowing for multiple user names."

    So, they're still not interested in making me want to buy the game then? My issue is not that there were "only" 3 installs allowed, but that there was a limit at all. When I buy a game, I want to play it at any time, on as many machines as I own. If the game is any good, I also want to have the option to pick it up again in 10 years time (as I recently did with the original Half Life and Transport Tycoon). This is not going to be possible under the DRM scheme.

    I'm not paying $50 for a game to rent it, so why are there limits? This is why DRM will never defeat piracy - all it does it artificially limit the customer and cause problems that the pirated versions never cause. Why would anyone pay $50 to have their rights removed like this?

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2008 @ 6:10am

    It's a fun game. 5000+ seeders can't be wrong (on only ONE tracking server btw). GG EA, thx for making this game the easiest new game to aquire, ever.

     

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  33.  
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    FiveAcres, Sep 20th, 2008 @ 6:14am

    Patching Spore

    Someone on identi.ca (open source twitter) just reported that patching Spore this morning borked his install.

     

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  34.  
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    hegemon13, Sep 20th, 2008 @ 8:51am

    Re: Such is life

    Um, I don't think marketing people are the ones insisting on DRM. I work for a technology company that makes consumer electronics products. In product meetings, marketing acts as the customer advocate, trying to shape the product to what they think customers want, and sometimes making ridiculous, unattainable feature requests. DRM is a product of those who think it will increase their profits by protecting their IP.

     

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    tracker1, Sep 20th, 2008 @ 9:04am

    Why not hardware encrypted USB drive?

    I just don't get why they don't start using a hardware encrypted USB interface. Then they can limit it to use *with* the drive, don't have to install funky DRM drivers on top of the cd/dvd drivers. Don't have to try and stop dvd-copy software etc.



    If they simply did this, it would be far easier for them to limit the software being copied, far more effectively, and piss off consumers far less. With the cost of 4-8GB of flash memory and a simple encryption interface, it would be possible to use the HD for caching/media and the flash for a run-without-install experience... I don't get why they don't do it.

     

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  36.  
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    interval, Sep 20th, 2008 @ 10:40am

    Re: Re: buy, then bootleg

    Buying the game means supporting EA. That I can't do.

     

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  37.  
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    interval, Sep 20th, 2008 @ 10:44am

    Re: missing a step

    @john:
    > "EA can do this because they're the largest publisher on the PC platform."

    Because of the Sims? Really? I still don't get why that title is the most successful title in history of PC gaming. I understand that its a successful title, but "best game ever"? Really? Is it "that great" a game?


    Seriously.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Sep 20th, 2008 @ 10:59am

    Re: Re: missing a step

    As with the Wii, it's not a question of whether it's the "greatest ever", it's a matter of demographics. The Sims appeals to a much wider audience than, say, Half Life 2 or GTA and will thus sell more copies.

    EA have also mastered the art of selling expansions to people. For every person buying the newest FPS, there's a "non-gamer" buying every expansion released for The Sims. Not a great game necessarily, but a massive market.

     

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  39.  
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    PaulT (profile), Sep 20th, 2008 @ 11:12am

    Re: Why not hardware encrypted USB drive?

    There's many problems with that:

    Firstly, hardware is expensive. With the volumes being talked about, it's a significant enough cost to eat into profit margins.

    Secondly, the USB key would be easily lost - especially if numerous games started using this system. This increases support costs, locks out many legitimate users who then have to wait for snail mail to get back into their legally-purchased games. Result: a bigger PR headache than this one and a lot off pissed-off users who might decide to pirate the next game instead of paying for the hassle.

    Thirdly, it would be pirated. Someone would crack the code, release a "click on this to turn your $5 USB key into an EA key" program, and it's back to square one (even assuming that the game itself isn't cracked first to remove the need for a key).

    There's other problems, but those are the ones that come to mind. It's a total non-starter. Again, all those problems, and the only people suffering are the ones who chose to pay for the game. The pirates have a better experience than paying customers.

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2008 @ 12:15pm

    Re: buy, then bootleg

    Only problem with that is that they then don't see a loss or damage for using the DRM protection, and can say See our users don't mind it, they still buy it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2008 @ 3:02pm

    Everyone needs to pirate this

    Everyone needs to pirate this to teach these companies that we won't stand for their DRM. They need to listen by taking a hit to their profits, since they don't listen to and learn from what their consumers are saying.

     

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    Mr Big Content, Sep 20th, 2008 @ 4:45pm

    I Mean, Honestly

    If we paid attention to every customer who complained about DRM, we'd never get any DRM done at all.

     

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  43.  
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    Johann, Sep 20th, 2008 @ 5:28pm

    Re: buy, then bootleg

    So you pay for the game then download the illegal version?
    Are you sure you would do that, or you simply download the illegal version without paying.

     

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    Buster, Sep 20th, 2008 @ 6:39pm

    Re: buy, then bootleg

    yea there's TONS of copies out there... I've been playing one myself because I'm not paying $50 for a game. Might buy it when the price drops, but then again it's a might.
    Regardless it's a good game.

     

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    Jeff, Sep 20th, 2008 @ 7:42pm

    Yep...

    I totally would have bought this game at full price. I had the money set aside and saved specifically for the game. Then, after all of the ridiculous amount of public outcry, after customers losing their shit on EA'S OWN FORUMS...they still include SecuROM? The still stick with 3-installs-and-that's-it? They stick with the retarded activation bullshit?

    I pirated the game and spent the 50 dollars on a cheap external HDD so I could install it for friends for free. Including my own, I've completed 11 installs of a pirated copy. That's half a grand out of EA's pocket because they refuse to listen to their customers.

    Now they come at us with this. Oooooo, 2 more installs. Shiny! And OH MY GOD! Multiple users! Pretty!

    Fuck you, EA. Suck my cock.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2008 @ 7:45pm

    Re: Why not hardware encrypted USB drive?

    AutoDesk tried this with 3DSMax. I have a pirated copy. Works great.

     

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    MeMeMeMe, Sep 20th, 2008 @ 7:50pm

    Hit 'em in the wallet

    Don't buy it at all. Then they might listen!

     

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  48.  
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    Anon Old School Atarian, Sep 20th, 2008 @ 9:38pm

    Re: Re: Such is life

    Yes, but it's up to Marketing to put enough lipstick on a pig, or in this case a spore, to make people buy it. :D

     

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  49.  
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    net625, Sep 20th, 2008 @ 10:08pm

    Re: Why not hardware encrypted USB drive?

    Then to pirate all you would have to do is make a disk image of the usb drive and run that on your machine. Distribute to all if you want.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    identicon
    Joe, Sep 21st, 2008 @ 12:13am

    id goes EA for RAGE

    I love id games, I bought all the doom, quake, wolfs. Now RAGE will be published by EA. from idsofware front page:
    "On Monday at E3, John Carmack announced that id Software is publishing it's new game RAGE with EA "
    Looks like I may skip it if it contains the same bullcrap protection. Sorry John, bad choice there.

     

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  51.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Sep 21st, 2008 @ 6:23am

    Re: Hit 'em in the wallet

    People try that already. The response is usually "look at all the pirate copies! Those evil pirates stole our money! We need more DRM!". So, the cycle continues...

     

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  52.  
    identicon
    sporenicator, Sep 21st, 2008 @ 6:56am

    a lot of complaints about nothing

    http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20080916-ars-puts-spore-drm-to-the-testwith-a-surprising-result .html

    I think a lot of people are going all nerd-ragey for no reason. Likely, many of those who are complaining that they will "never get this game or any other game by EA" are likely playing it right now.

     

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  53.  
    identicon
    alternatives, Sep 21st, 2008 @ 8:05am

    >Everyone needs to pirate this to teach these companies that we won't stand for their DRM

    I'm not sure that is the lesson they would learn. As I run FreeBSD - I've already turned my back on EA..and it was Mircosoft's licence and how Omniscan (initally) refused to honor their printed license that moved me.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2008 @ 10:27am

    Re: a lot of complaints about nothing

    No one wants to have to call to get a new CD key for every game/piece of software they run (if this type of DRM becomes popular). It's ok tho, pirates are one step ahead of them always, and punishing your consumers will just force them to take the easier route.

     

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  55.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2008 @ 10:31am

    Re: Re: Hit 'em in the wallet

    This is the stupid RIAA logic which seems to be spilling over into gaming software. We must teach them now before it gets out of control. EA should realize that DRM is failing in the music industry.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56.  
    identicon
    Jim, Sep 21st, 2008 @ 11:30am

    Re: buy, then bootleg

    At the very least you should send EA an email explaining why you won't be buying their game. If there are thousands of people who just pirate it then EA won't get the message and they'll release their next game the same way. If thousands of people send an email and say "I didn't buy it because _____" - then they may do it different next time.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57.  
    identicon
    Paul, Sep 21st, 2008 @ 12:57pm

    Re: Re: buy, then bootleg

    That's a great idea. I just used Mail A Letter and sent a letter for a paltry $1.00

    http://www.mailaletter.com/

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58.  
    identicon
    Thanks Mr. Marketing Droid, Sep 21st, 2008 @ 12:59pm

    Re: Bitch Bitch

    I played it (pirated of course). It was a total BORE. I think they're waiting to add something to make it interesting when the fir$t expan$ion pack $how$ up.

    Do the math with me:

    DRM + boring game + EA's grubby mits in your machine and wallet = NO $ALE.

     

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  59.  
    identicon
    John, Sep 21st, 2008 @ 1:02pm

    Caught off guard

    I'd like to see a related story go into more depth about how EA could EVER be caught "off guard". This is a company that spends gazillions of dollars and resources to make sure their next game will be a hit. Would they really release the umpteenth version of Madden NFL if their research showed it wouldn't sell?

    So, come on, EA. Caught "off guard"? Really? No one in your entire marketing department told you this would happen? None of your research/ focus groups warned you about this? None of your beta testers or final play-testers warned you?

    I'm not sure what's worse: that EA would actually put out a game with this many restrictions or that they could be caught "off guard" by customers' reactions.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  60.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Sep 21st, 2008 @ 1:09pm

    Re: a lot of complaints about nothing

    As covered in the comments to that article, the article itself is totally missing the point.

    Ars claim that they overcame the install limit with a simple phone call. Well, that's great for now, but what about in 2, 5 or 10 years' time - will the lines still be open? Will the keys still be available? Will EA even still be in business? That's also assuming you find a phone call acceptable - how much does it cost? How much time do you have to wait on hold? How many times over the lifetime of the game do you need to make these calls?

    It's impossible to know, which means that the DRM will block many paying customers, who have paid good money for the game. They are essentially renting the game at the whims of EA's restrictions. Meanwhile, pirates have no such restrictions. I'm yet to hear a good explanation as to why people paying $50 for a new game should be restricted in this way, while those who pay nothing avoid those problems completely.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  61.  
    identicon
    Paul, Sep 21st, 2008 @ 1:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: buy, then bootleg

    Address:
    Electronic Arts
    209 Redwood Shores Parkway
    Redwood City, CA 94065
    United States

    Who's Who in the Zoo ( ">Source)
    Frank Gibeau, 39yrs old
    President - EA Games Label

    Kathy Vrabeck, 45yrs old
    President - EA Casual Entertainment

    Stephen Bene, 44yrs old
    Senior Vice President, General Counsel, Corporate Secretary

    Larry Probst, 58yrs old
    Chairman of the Board

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  62.  
    identicon
    EArrgh, Sep 21st, 2008 @ 1:46pm

    Re: Patching Spore

    Oh, business as usual for EA then?

    Release game with bugs, release patch with several/some/many bugs not fixed, fixed things rebroken, unbroken things broke, and a giant dose of revamped Securom to lengthen the download time and quite possibly throw you some error messages or disable rightclicking or cancel your phone service or whatever...

    Finish it off by ignoring complaints about the patch/es, or complain about the complaints.

    It's like some sort of sick game - their most successful ever.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  63.  
    identicon
    EArrgh, Sep 21st, 2008 @ 1:54pm

    Re: a lot of complaints about nothing

    The second that guy had to call EA for *anything* after buying his legit copy of a single player game he proved that the DRM scheme is FAIL and an inconvenience to paying customers.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  64.  
    identicon
    Scott, Sep 21st, 2008 @ 6:29pm

    THQ did it right.

    I have to congratulate THQ for what they did with Supreme Commander. They removed DRM completely! once there customers experienced problems. They also made a very good and polished game, i really thing they've done a great thing in putting there customers first.

    A lot of these businesses seem to forget that there are people who perfectly legally buy the game. These people end up getting punished with DRM effecting there performance and not to mention adding compatibility issues.

    People are going to copy it anyway so why add all these extra issues?

    Its just as bad with DVD's too. You have to watch the piracy adverts at the start on your legally bought DVD!

    Most pirated copies don't have that, because its so annoying, so why do they have it on the legally bought DVD!?

    Its like saying we don't want you to lend your DVD to your mates so you can only watch it 5 times. Its stopping you from using what you legally bought.

    By law here in New Zealand in a way it is actually illegal. If you use it 5 times and after that is will not work you can return it under the consumer guarantee's act. The goods should be usable for years after that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65.  
    icon
    Ferin (profile), Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 5:27am

    Still not buying

    As far as I'm concerned, they can shove their patch. I've got no intenteion of renting their game. When they remove the install limit, then I'll buy it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  66.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 5:32am

    Re: id goes EA for RAGE

    "I love id games, I bought all the doom, quake, wolfs. Now RAGE will be published by EA. from idsofware front page:
    "On Monday at E3, John Carmack announced that id Software is publishing it's new game RAGE with EA "
    Looks like I may skip it if it contains the same bullcrap protection. Sorry John, bad choice there."


    I am also a long time Id fan, but the truth is they have been as big a proponents of restrictive and insulting DRM as anyone in the industry. It makes me sad, but Id views thier fans as potential thieves as much or more then anyone in the business.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  67.  
    identicon
    Loyd, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 5:56am

    Bogged Down with DRM

    Since I'm writing a review on Spore I had to get a copy and install it DRM or No DRM. Spore requires you install the EA downloader if you get the game direct from the EA store online.

    After installing the game and playing for a while I restarted the system and noticed the EA downloader is automatically running at startup. I went back to some of the other FPS games I normally play and realized I was getting really crappy frame rates (10fps instead of 30 I normally get). I alt tabbed and killed everything running including the EA downloader. No improvement. I began checking processes and couldn't find anything out of the ordinary running that would explain the low frame rate. It is my contention that there may be a rootkit or otherwise hidden DRM scheme which has yet to be uncovered and is not showing up in the process list.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  68.  
    icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 6:51am

    Re: Good Business.

    Lol.
    I love your business analysis.
    I feel it is pretty darn accurate.
    =)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  69.  
    identicon
    Marsman, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 7:34am

    One Re-Load Shot

    When I bought Spore, I wasn't aware of the DRM issue. Yes, I live under a rock. As I was loading it, I checked my disk space and decided to delete some old junk games and do a defrag, so I stopped the Spore load (after I had input the key code). So, I guess I've lost one re-load for no other reason than being lazy and not checking disk space prior to loading the game.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  70.  
    identicon
    EnOne, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 7:52am

    Include DRM with minimum system requirements

    When Mass Effect came out there was similar DRM problems but after a small growl of anger it went away. I think Spore will be more of the straw that broke the camel's back.

    If DRM is to be included in games it needs to be on the boxes next to minimum system requirements.

    - this game requires the disk to run
    - this game will allow you can only have one player per computer
    - if you upgrade your computer you will have to repurchase this game
    - this game requires a blood sample every five minutes

    http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2008/5/9/

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  71.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 9:25am

    I admit that the comments is some of the above posts leave me a bit confused. In the case of this specific game installed on, say, a Win machine, must the original be present in your DVD drive anytime you want to play the game? Or, is this a game where the program is installed, it is verified online once installed, and thereafter can be used independent of the original disc. Multiple simultaneous installs as is apparently possible suggests the latter and not the former.

    Anyone have an answer?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  72.  
    identicon
    Mike (Different Mike), Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 10:24am

    EA not paying attention?

    EA not paying attention? What, like the how every year people complain about certain aspects of their yearly franchises, only to see the exact same problems in the following year's version of the game. Or the most grossly inadequate, anemic, poorly written manuals put out by any game manufacturer. Or their reliance on yearly franchises with very little differences between yearly versions.

    You got it right, EA definitely doesn't pay attention.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  73.  
    identicon
    Zaphod, Sep 23rd, 2008 @ 2:32am

    RE: Bogged Down with DRM

    Confirmed at http://www.t3.com/feature/opinion-spore-and-its-hidden-drm-and-rootkits

    SecuROM Rootkit comes with Spore!

    You think EA would have learned from Sony's multi-million dollar foul-up. Guess I am wrong!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  74.  
    identicon
    Paul in Chicago, Oct 14th, 2008 @ 11:46am

    Keep the pressure on EA games to go in the direction of Fallout 3

    Too bad EA hasn't fully embraced trusting its customers more. Another blog noted Pete Hines has announced that Fallout 3 will ship with little to no DRM whatsoever because they want to trust their paying customers. See http://www.aeropause.com/2008/10/fallout-3-to-ship-on-pc-minus-drm/

    If you want to pressure EA games to unbundle DRM and SecuROM, there’s a campaign that just started to refuse to buy EA games until they remove DRM and SecuROM from their software. Check it out at http://www.thepoint.com/campaigns/ea-games-without-drm-and-secu-rom

    Figure each game costs $50 minimum, and if 500 people sign on, that would be $25,000 in lost revenue. For its loyal customer base, secretly adding DRM and SecuROM in their install is just not the way to treat us.

    The three issues are that DRM and SecuRom are being installed without the user realizing it; DRM limits the number of computers you can install it on; and SecuROM has been affecting some people’s computers to the point that they needed to re-format their hard drive and uninstall the game to get their computer returning to normal.

    And it takes just a minute to sign up. You can even sign anonymously.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  75.  
    identicon
    Robert Worthington, Jan 11th, 2009 @ 9:27pm

    I refuse to buy EA games. I have not owned an EA game since they screwed an entire online community out of Earth & Beyond.
    I am wonder if they are aware that Ultima Online still sucks?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  76.  
    identicon
    Kenny Hendrick, May 19th, 2009 @ 7:42am

    Spore

    This is a letter I had to waste my time in composing for the dumbest of games:

    Hello,

    I am a computer tech located at 5340 Grand Blvd. in the Sunrise Village Shopping Center.

    A customer (slave to his grandchildren) came to me with this game (spore) and requested to purchase a computer that will play it (actually it started out that he just purchased a computer that was apparently not good enough so he traded it in for another computer, and now we are on the fourth computer....for a freaking game!).

    Okay, now we have a video card (pci-E) with 256mb ram and a new motherboard and a 3Ghz processor and a world of ram but the stupid game now tells me it's been installed on too many computers!!!!????

    Will you kindly rectify the error so I can statisfy this guy (we have the final computer, I built it from scratch and EVERYTHING is new in this one...even the case is new. The game was installed on the aforementioned computers in the span of two days trying to tailor a machine for it.

    The sooner this bug is fixed the sooner I can get paid and the owner, John Gloria, will not be hating ea games.

    My phone number is (727) 277-8006

    The customer's number is (727) 992-2795

    Thank you for your kind consideration to this matter.


    24hours later....all I received was a canned response.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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