EA Brushes Off DRM Complainers As Fringe 0.2%

from the listening-to-your-customers dept

It would appear that gaming company EA got the wrong message concerning DRM after its Spore DRM debacle. While EA eventually backed down, it certainly did plenty to damage its own reputation in the gaming community. Hell, when we recently posted an article about EA that had nothing to do with DRM at all, a bunch of commenters used the post to complain about EA's DRM policy anyway. That suggests a Metallica-like reputation problem.

So, how is EA dealing with this reputation issue? Apparently by dismissing it as nothing to be concerned about. A whole bunch of our readers sent in this story about an EA exec claiming that only 0.2% of users would even notice the DRM used in Spore -- basically suggesting that the complaints were hyped up and out of proportion to the issue. That's sort of missing the point. While some users who complained might never actually encounter problems with the DRM, that doesn't mean that they're comfortable with the idea that EA has significantly limited how they can use a product that they purchased. Even a quick review of the history of DRM would show EA execs two things: it does nothing to stop piracy, and it seriously gets in the way of legitimate users, no matter how artfully designed.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 9:12am

    maybe after the 50% they already lost to their futile practices. When will these fucking people realize that DRM only harms their legitimate customers. Just like when I buy a DVD and have to watch stupid FBI warnings... I'd rather rip it, cut that crap out and watch the movie i PAYED for in peace. Stop making piracy so ATTRACTIVE by hampering the appeal of your products!

     

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      tubes, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 11:13am

      Re:

      I think its funny when you download a movie the rippers alot of the time keep the FBI warning & the "its illegal to download" commercial they always seem to put on the DVDs

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 1:35pm

        Re: Re:

        I must admit that I do find that quite amusing, but considering the amount I download it does get annoying after a while ;p

         

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    SteveD, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 9:14am

    Daft

    It was a really, really stupid thing to say. He should have known that something like that would flash round the internet in moments; I've already seen it reposted on three different gaming sites.

    But you know why its 0.2% right?

    The other 99.8% got a nice DRM-free pirated copy. Now that's how you measure customer satisfaction!

     

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    some old guy, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 9:34am

    Reminds me of Sony

    His comments remind me greatly of the Sony's CEO when asked on NPR about the rootkit.

    I have a feeling he will be eating his words for a long time to come. Just how anti-customer does a company have to be in order for its customers to realize they no longer deserve respect?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 9:50am

      Reminds me of ...

      Yeah, I will always joke by telling people to be wary of Sony software that
      comes on a CD...


      Another example: I remember hearing a radio program some years ago. It had
      a representive of a company and someone who had issues with the product the
      company made.

      At one point, the company rep. brought up a servey/poll suggesting
      that most people are not aware of the issues being raised-- suggesting that
      most people don't care.

      Well, one result of the controversy is that the subsidary that produces
      the product has rebranded itself. It appears that the parent company
      does care about the brand name of their main business-- ATM systems...


      Not sure what rebranding strategy EA can resort to if this controversy really
      gets out of hand...

       

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    Dan, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 9:36am

    Lets pretend for a moment that he was correct with the .2%, that means that 99.8% of people would have installed something onto their system that is designed to limit functionality without being specifically told what the software does, the known risks of the software, where it is installed, or even told what software is being installed. I for one see this as a significant problem, as although it may be EA's game, in no way is the computer the consumer is installing the game to EA's computer, and the consumer should be made fully aware of what something they are buying does to their personal property (their computer).

     

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    PaulT (profile), Oct 16th, 2008 @ 9:37am

    Again, they miss the point. To emphasise: "only 0.2% of users". They're not even thinking of the many people who have not become users of the software due to this issue, and there are many (myself included), not to mention those who have simply decided to boycott all other products. Besides, the number of users affected isn't the point. The simple facts that paying customers got an inferior product when compared to pirates, and that those who did pirate were not affected by the DRM are the issue here. To enter into a little hyperbole here: less than 0.2% of the population have been directly affected by terrorist attacks and sexual abuse by a stranger as a child, but that doesn't mean that we ignore those issues, right?

     

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    tenaku, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 9:38am

    This isn't about piracy...

    It's about the secondary market. EA knows this will do nothing to prevent piracy, but it will prevent you from reselling or loaning your legitimate retail copy. They'll never admit it, but this is their attempt to get around the first-sale doctrine.

     

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    Jason, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 9:38am

    Not that smart

    On the other hand, he could be right, meaning only that most average computer users really don't know (and aren't very concerned) about these issues. Sad, but maybe true.

     

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    matt, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 9:40am

    read the statistics carefully

    note 3 things about where they come up with the .2%

    they cite that it was only 500 negative users, which is amazon's UK listing only. Doesn't take into consideration the US amazon listing, which has 3000 negative reviews. Combine the two, we have the second number bias here.

    And what's the third you ask? How about the number of people who found the negative reviews helpful, which was like 7+ thousand?

    Suddenly, it's not so small of a number anymore.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 11:51am

      Re: read the statistics carefully

      0.2% of 1,000,000 sales is 2000 right there (less than the number of comment complaints) and that is just the folks whocared to leave a comment. The usual customer service metric is that for every one who complains there are 200 to 2000 who did not but who are just as annoyed. That brings us to numbers that approach total sales. Not every customer is disturbed (some are pretty hard to annoy), but it sure does look like most are. If the numbers of folks who are likely put off by the DRM are twice sales (as it appears to be by the standard measure), then their lost sales are about 50% of possible sales.
      This "tiny" number they quote is just whistling in the dark so the MBAs don't lose their jobs.

       

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    Bob300, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 9:46am

    XKCDs take on it all

     

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    Jim G., Oct 16th, 2008 @ 9:53am

    I don’t think we realize how far away we are from the average game player. I remember the reaction to the original Sims, “this isn’t really a game, you can’t really win, Maxis needs to make this more fun, why don’t they realize nobody is going to buy this.” As a community we were completely, absolutely, wrong. On my block there are probably 10 teenagers who play games, on whatever game system or PC is available. They know about Spore, and the ones I spoke with all like the game. If I asked them what do they think of DRM, most of them would have no idea what the term meant. If they downloaded a pirated version of the game it wasn’t in response to the DRM, it was because they didn’t want to pay the retail price. If they bought the game, they don’t care about the DRM. So far Maxis and EA have had a good track record for creating software that the public likes, buys, and installs, and for being in touch with what will succeed.

     

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      Hulser, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 11:16am

      Re:

      I think you're right that the majority of people who have a problem with Spore's DRM are tech savvy and that the majority of people who bought Spore don't even know what DRM is. But...what happens in a year or so when those teenagers on your block go to sell their game? Or try to install the game on their computer that's been rebuilt a few times? It'll quickly go from "DR What?" to "This blows. I'm never buying [or having my mother buy] another EA game again." I personally believe that the tech savvy will be vindicated when the problems with DRM that are being pointed out now actually come to full fruition.

       

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    mobiGeek, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 10:04am

    History? Depends on who's presenting it

    Even a quick review of the history of DRM would show EA execs two things: it does nothing to stop piracy, and it seriously gets in the way of legitimate users, no matter how artfully designed.

    Well that all depends on who gets to present the history of DRM, its technologies, its "successes" and its "benefits". I'm going to be that the execs got a presentation by the company that provided them the DRM.

    And I'm going to bet that the presentation waved its hands around "successes" (early technology as it is) and put tons of dollar signs zipping passed on its "benefits" slide.

     

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    Nobody, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 10:22am

    I am a silent protestor. I decided to express my distaste by simply not buying the program.

    Too bad to, I really do like the concept and the man behind it...

     

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    PRMan, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 10:22am

    Don't forget...

    Don't forget that both of the Amazon sites had the comments deleted at one point with not all the comments returning, making them completely unsuitable for statistical analysis.

     

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    Chris, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 10:28am

    I like the comparison to metallica, because most people agree that half the reason their album sales were awful on that record was that the record sucked. And with spore a number of the planned features were stripped down to be almost nothing like the intended product.

    I also think people are ignoring the fact that the comments and ratings about DRM on amazon were a group of people repeatedly making the same claim simply to stick it to EA. If you have ever looked around at negative comments on products you can see the same styles of writing posing as different people

     

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    Erv Server, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 10:28am

    EA

    some people will never admit they are wrong, no matter what

     

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    Different Mike, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 10:30am

    DRM is just one of EA's problems

    Since the non-DRM article got a bit of comments regarding DRM, this is the perfect place for non-DRM comments.

    DRM issues aside, EA is one of the laziest gaming companies out there. Nearly every game they make they end up turning into yearly franchise games with very little improvement from year-to-year (but people keep buying them up). Every EA game I have ever purchased has come with a manual that is completely useless. EA's tech support is also one of the worst in the industry. I once had an EA support rep tell me that I had poor connection speed when I was pinging the EA servers with a 100ms response time and a 99% success rate over 100 tries (actually a very good ping response time and rate for a remote gaming server), as soon as I told him that I understood the results of the test he backpedaled.

    Overall EA is one of the worst game companies out there, and with them acquiring other gaming companies left and right, they will soon be one one of the only ones. I always try to avoid purchasing EA games, although I occasionally make an exception (but I usually end up regretting it).

     

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      mobiGeek, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 1:30pm

      Re: DRM is just one of EA's problems

      Every EA game I have ever purchased

      Looks like you have given EA a bunch of incentive to improve their products by....buying their products.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 10:31am

    This is why I just play Spring.
    Open-source, free, good game.
    That and older games without DRM.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 10:51am

    EA blows. Tell everyone you know to stop buying their crapware.

     

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      Lucretious, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 11:02am

      Re:

      unfortunately EA's distribution network is second to none making it very hard for even staunchly independent developers like Valve to pass up working with them.

       

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    Lucretious, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 11:00am

    Riccitiello is the same smug asshole he was 8 years ago when he worked for EA and he hasn't changed one iota.

     

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    Tony Phillips, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 11:02am

    Dismissive? Insulting is more like it...

    EA CEO John Riccitiello also made this statement in regards to the people complaining about DRM: “‘I'm guessing that half of them were pirates, and the other half were people caught up in something that they didn’t understand,”
    I do so love being insulted and belittled by someone who wants me to buy product from them...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 11:04am

    Once upon a time, I loved EA games. Now, their brand is the first thing I look to avoid. I haven't bought an EA game in the last 3 years, and I have no intention of changing my ways any time soon. My son asked for Spore for his birthday, and will probably ask for it for Christmas, I hate to disappoint him, but I won't be buying it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 11:25am

    This comment--

    >I decided to express my distaste by simply not buying the program.

    and this

    >I always try to avoid purchasing EA games

    and this

    >This is why I just play Spring.

    --all serve to illustrate my earlier point. The kind of person who is posting messages here at Tech Dirt is in the minority. I don't know if we are in the .2% as EA claims, but from a business perspective I can understand their decision to ignore people who are already boycotting their games or don't play commercial games at all.

     

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    Simon Green, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 11:33am

    Was going to buy Dead Space

    ...Until I found out it was published by EA. Not any more, which sucks, because it sounds like I would have enjoyed it a LOT. :-(

     

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      mobiGeek, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 1:36pm

      Re: Was going to buy Dead Space

      Are you not buying it simply because it is made by EA?

      Is there any particular feature of that game that you are not happy with, other than the fact that the publisher's name is on it?

      If it is not DRM ladden, and it is a game you would enjoy, I'd encourage you to purchase it. The more that people pay for products/features that they WANT and avoid features they do not want, the more likely you are to change their approach to future games development.

      Don't deny yourself something simply because of a label. I don't know much about EA or gaming in general, but staying away from a company that (apparently) produces a product you would like to have doesn't help you and doesn't give you a voice into that company.

       

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    TheOldFart, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 11:45am

    I must be one of the "irrelevant fringe"

    I didn't buy the recently released Crysis sequel, simply because of the DRM.

    I paid good money for an E8400 and an HD3850 so that I could play Crysis at higher resolutions. I wouldn't bat an eye (even in this crappy economic environment) to lay out full price for the sequel especially since it gets pretty good reviews.

    But I don't own a blue-ray DVD, I don't use audible.com and I didn't buy Crysis Warhead for the same reasons. DRM.

    I have original disks for every game I've ever owned going all the way back to Commander Keen and the original Duke Nuke'em 2D scrollers, every version of Doom and Quake and all the way up through all the COD releases and Crysis.

    If it were offered via something like Steam (I hate the Steam implementation but understand the need for something like it) I would buy it, but if I'm not guaranteed access to the product I purchase, I'm not purchasing it.

    I'm sure as hell not going to pay money for it so that 6 months down the road when I upgrade my computer to play the latest games I can have the privilege of calling some overworked and under-trained overseas call center employee (who invariably has an impossibly thick accent) and trying to plead my case for a new key so that I can use the program again. Those would be *MY* consulting hours wasted on the phone which will probably make that inexpensive computer game cost a whole lot more every few months.

    Fuck 'em, let 'em eat their DRM for a while and see how it tastes. I can live without their games but they can't live without paying customers like me, and I'm thinking I'm probably a member of something more like a 2% fringe rather than a 0.02% fringe.

    Must be nice though - if they make $1M USD a year on their games then they're throwing away at least $20K USD by discouraging 0.02% of their customers and if it's closer to my 2% guess then they're pissing away far more sales with the DRM than they're saving.

    I'm sure they'll take that out of the salary of the idiot marketroids behind the DRM scam... er... scheme.

     

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    Different Mike, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 11:45am

    Re: from Ano

    Quote: "The kind of person who is posting messages here at Tech Dirt is in the minority. I don't know if we are in the .2% as EA claims, but from a business perspective I can understand their decision to ignore people who are already boycotting their games or don't play commercial games at all."

    Actually I play quite a lot of commercial games. I've got 12 Wii games, and 30 PC games, and a huge majority of them would probably be called mainstream, commercial titles. So I think I am a pretty good potential customer. I try to avoid EA when possible though. For example: EA owns Harmonix, who makes Rock Band. So I will not be buying Rock Band, and will instead buy Guitar Hero: World Tour (By Activision). The two are practically the same game (Guitar, Drums and Microphone), but I can avoid EA and still get my rhythm game fix.

    I think EA could be making quite a bit of money from people like me, but they choose to shoot themselves in the foot over and over.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 11:48am

    DRM = Digital Rental Media

    If you are willing to pay $50+ for a rental game, they deserve what they get. I for one will NEVER buy another EA game until they remove DRM from them.

    Fawk EA games!

    Not 1 cent!

     

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    Buzz, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 11:49am

    Hahaha

    Best comment from Slashdot (http://games.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=996555&cid=25385419):

    "Last I heard, Spore had 700,000 copies downloaded by those who openly refused to buy the game for its DRM. If that makes up only 1/500th of Spore's final distribution, then they must have sold 3,500,000,000 copies! That measures out to about $150 billion in sales. So what they are calling a "lukewarm reception" is only 17 times greater than the entire video game industry generated in 2007. I think their numbers are solid."

     

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    Manny, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 12:15pm

    EA

    I actually have not bought Spore or any other EA games in a long time. I do not like how they treat their customers, nor do I think that their game development is particularly strong. I initially entertained the notion that I might actually go out and get Spore. However, as soon as I found out that it was included in the game, I immediately killed that notion. Good work EA. Keep acting like an ostrich and keep putting your head in the sand. Better yet, keep putting your head up your butt.

     

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    tracker1, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 12:35pm

    heh

    let's get this straight, .2% would likely experience issues. That means 1 in 500. If they sell a few million copies, that could be several thousand. These people will usually tell at least 5-10 as they play online with other people, and are the squeakiest wheels when it comes to stuff not working... Yeah, that will work out great.

    Go ahead EA, piss people off... and they'll tell two friends, and they'll tell two friends, and so on, and so on...

    I know for a fact I've steered a handful of people away from Sony products. I updated my home theater a few months after the Sony DRM on the CDs thing a few years back... I know that cost them a few $k in lost sales, far more than I spend on content. Prior to that event, I was planning on all Sony gear, but that changed.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 12:36pm

    What a bunch of babies

    I've been following this thread for a while but have to jump in.

    For one, the 0.2% quoted is an arbitrary number - there is no way for him to know exactly how many customers are unaware of the DRM. And since there is no way to tell, no one here can claim they know either.

    Some people have then been throwing about 99.8% like its a hard fact - that number is just as arbitrary as the 0.2%

    I just got the game yesterday - love it. I knew about the DRM issue before I got it. I understand DRM issues. I dont care - in the long run, does it really affect any of us? The short answer is no it doesnt. However, it is the principle of the matter that does. I will leave it at that.

    While its understandable that purchasing a game should allow you to install it on multiple machines, dont forget that you usually dont actually purchase the game - you purchase a license to use the game. The company can decide however which way it chooses to tell you how the game should be used. If it wants to restrict it to one computer, so be it. EA originally allowed up to 3 computers to have the game on it - how many computers does one person have in their home where they need to install the game on all the machines? I mean, holy cow.

    As for the hidden file/rootkit issues - paranoia will destroy ya

    The problem is that these companies dont make the license agreement clear - its tied up in those scroll boxes during the install they we all click through by claiming that we agree to it. Instead, the main points should be highlighted in a short bulleted box that requires no scrolling.

    However, as it stands, if you dont read it, then thats your fault. They present it for you to read, so read it. Ignorance is not an excuse

     

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      Cixelsid, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 1:01pm

      Re: What a bunch of babies

      You only need that first bad experience and then you'll be crying like the rest of us.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 1:40pm

      Re: What a bunch of babies

      WRONG!

      you do buy the GAME. then after you pay for the guy the force you to say yes to a EULA that you can't read before buying, and you can't return the game after buying, basically strong-arming you into it. it is a HIGHLY questionable tactic that rarely holds up in court. if EULAs were 100% legal then there would be no more first sale doctrine with regards to games.

      the only time EULAs work is MMOs where you sign and pay to get a Service (connection to their server) that if you violate the EULA, they can terminate your connection, but you still own the game, and you can get into a shard server if you want..

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 1:44pm

      Re: What a bunch of babies

      "The problem is that these companies dont make the license agreement clear"

      No, the problem is that you even need a license in the first place.

      "However, as it stands, if you dont read it, then thats your fault. They present it for you to read, so read it. Ignorance is not an excuse"

      EULAs are meaningless and no one reads them, the fact that you even have to read through 10's of pages to play a game you bought is ludicrous - actually think about that for a second.

      The reality is many people will just say fuck it, and "pirate" the game.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 17th, 2008 @ 12:37am

      Re: What a bunch of babies

      I'm surprised no one mentioned the original DRM plans for Mass Effect. The one that requires you to authenticate every ten days or they shut down your game?

      Yeah, that really wouldn't be noticed by a majority of the people. And I'm certain it won't raise any issues whatsoever.

      What do you expect from a company that thought the above was reasonable in the first place?

       

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    Different Mike, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 12:46pm

    Re: What a bunch of babies

    Wrong wrong wrong!

    You completely missed the point. The restriction isn't about installing on multiple machines, most people who are annoyed couldn't care less about installing it on multiple different machines at once. The issue is that it only allows 3 (later updated to 5) reinstalls EVER. So if you regularly reinstall your operating system, or just rotate installed games to save hard drive space you will quickly run out of installs without ever attempting to install it on more than one computer. It also didn't even allow you to have more than one user, so if your girlfriend wanted to play the only option was to have her play using your account and savegames.

    If you are going to call us all a bunch of babies you should at least have your facts right.

     

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    aaron klenke, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 12:52pm

    More fuel for the Gamers Bill of Rights

    Every stupid thing EA does makes me more interested in Stardock's philosophy and CEO Brad Wardell's "Gamers Bill of Rights" [http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=20666]

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 12:57pm

    THE TOLD THE TRUTH

    Note: The truth is abstract and arbitrary.

    In this case, the Truth is that 0.02% of their REMAINING customers (as in the people that bought Spore and did not get a refund) don't care about DRM.

    They just gloss over the part where they miss out on 90% of potential customers because of the DRM practices.

     

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    Cixelsid, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 12:59pm

    Statistics

    Statistics is to marketers as the bible is to the religulous. You can make it mean anything you want it to mean.

     

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    Adam, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 1:24pm

    The hell with EA, I'm not buying Crysis Warhead because of this or any other game unless they get real. Not only it has DRM in the form of everyone's favorite malware Securom it allows to activate the game only 5 times. WTF?!?

    A.

     

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    Jfed, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 1:28pm

    This guy needs to lose his job.

    Riccetello took over EA in Feb. 2007. The next month was when all EA games for PC were switched over from fairly innocuous SafeDisc anti-copy/disk-in-drive checking methods to SecuROM v7.3 (made by Sony DADC), the same stuff that made wreckage of 2K's Bioshock launch in August 2007, that immediately caused computer problems for a notable number of people playing TheSims2 BonVoyage in Sept. 2007 (and still does for all the TS2 products released thereafter), and any other games, EA or not, that use that version or the successively virulent versions used since.

    May 2008 Mass Effect PC is saddled with Securom-enabled activation limits and online only activation, turning off a great quantity of loyal Bioware fans as well as creating technical problems for those who did buy it. Spore gets reamed for the same in Sept. 2008 (a whole year's worth of complaints about EA's DRM and they keep right on pushing it), same for Red Alert, Warhead, will be the same for TheSims3 but oh, that one - now you'll be seeing dynamic ads in a game you pay full price for, if you're still falling for this crap.

    You've got EA's DRM using YOUR computer and YOUR internet connection to enforce their DRM, now they want to use YOUR computer and internet to enable their ad injection scheme.

    EA can't even be trusted to PATCH the bug-addled games you buy from them in any proper or prompt fashion, they want to add in yet another 3rd party program to screw things up for players. I (used to) play TS2, do not even think to question me on this; I'm still waiting on the products I paid for to work as advertised and had become reliant on 3rd party modders to get my games to work as they should or better.

    Stealth-installed Securom can and does alter the function of a computer upon which it is activated - because if you can manage to completely remove it with 3rd party utilities, it's very likely your suddenly disabled disk drive will work again or your Windows Explorer will stop crashing when you rightclick on any program icon or your antivirus will stop shouting complaints at Securom activity going on without your control on your computer.

    EA has forums and mailboxes full of complaints about their DRM from current, potential, and a growing number of FORMER customers. And their CEO goes and says things like this?!

    He couldn't be more wrong. EA's customer pool understands EXACTLY what's going on; they were reduced to using Amazon to tell each other because EA won't hear it, won't tell it, and is only out for one thing: less value for you, more money for them.

    The games don't matter anymore - how can they if you're a paying customer blocked at the outset by EA's DRM? That's if Securom even lets you activate or play the game you bought without throwing up error messages preventing you from even starting the damn thing.

    And all of this is contingent on the purchaser even knowing about Securom being installed and the problems it causes ONLY for those who pay for games. Do remember, the only reason anyone knows about EA's DRM is because of the chronic problems it causes - unless she trawls the internet, or even knows to look for such in the first place, your grandma doing her holiday shopping won't know jack about all this since none of it is on any game packaging nor in any read-it-after-you-buy-and-install-it EULA anywhere.

    The lawsuits over EA's DRM (2 class actions filed and more in the works) aren't for nothing, and they're not about gamers being 'selfish' over limited activations, they're about DISCLOSURE of what EA's really putting on your comp when you install anything you buy from them. It should never have come to lawsuits, but when you've got an arrogant, hostility-inducing corporate jackal like Riccitello running a company and his mouth, I suppose there was no other plausible outcome.

    My disclosure: I'm exactly one justifiably bitter, former TS2 player who's been boycotting EA since September of last year. EA had every opportunity to make things right but did nothing of the kind. Problems with Securom on BonVoyage were met with disbelief by EA personnel - some called those with problems outright liars on the official forums. It was a PR clusterspank of epic proportions since of course they had to backpedal and admit Securom did indeed cause problems BECAUSE IT DOES AND THEY KNOW IT.

    It was also an appalling abuse of the customer base - ridiculously devoted, isolated, non-traditional, non-technical, and no niche market anymore, simmers are LEGION. Yet what came of it? Nothing much until other gaming communities were similarly affected, proving again that Riccetello has zero concept of how preposterous his 'cabal' remark is; trying to get gamers together to do anything concerted is like harnessing a meadow full of fleas. What happened to Spore at Amazon is nothing short of miraculous - and should have spoken volumes to anyone who's got anything like a hint of understanding of their consumer base. It should've been seen coming a mile off too.

    One last note to make this officially tl;dr: TS2 is marketed to minors, rated T for Teen in the US, even lower age requirements in other countries. I don't care who you are, how badass you think you are, and if you're a parent you need to sit up and pay attention: it downright sucks to see kids terrified to tell their parents that the game they begged for or saved up to buy has possibly fubar'd the family computer because of EA's DRM. Yeah, I pulled the what about the children card, but a fetric muckton of people bought, or considered buying, Spore and other EA games for their kids - who are just how EA likes 'em: oblivious.

    But perhaps we underestimate the kids - with TS2, EA practically led them to Google and TPB by using Securom 'to prevent piracy' and making problems for those that paid for games. Simmers. Pirating. A huge swath of gamers who didn't know to get games any other way than paying for them now wise to the way of the downloader to avoid problematic DRM and shiv the company that turns a deaf ear to all issues. Unless you've observed that community for as long as I have, you have NO idea how absolutely devastating this is...

    ...to EA and EVERY other game publisher out there. Bravo, JR, the prophecy is now fulfilled. Hope you like your actual lost sales as much as you like your DRM.

    You asshat.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 1:42pm

    I bought Hellgate, WIC , Mass Effect before I realized why I was having problems with my PC. DAMN THEM! I was NOT told they would be installing this virus on my PC! I have since un-installed them and after NO HELP FROM EA, got rid of SECUROM which was causing the problems! Yep, I bought from them, 4-6 games a year!

    NEVER AGAIN!

    FORMER $200 - $400 a year customer : Figure that in your BOGUS number EA!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 1:48pm

    Its not fucking rocket science!

    You have a choice. Pay $50+ for a game that is ridden with trouble (OR) Get it for free with no limitations?

    I guess some just want to be fucking stupid and pay for their Bullshit!

    FUCK EA!

    Not 1 cent!!

     

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    Different Mike, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 2:33pm

    Re: Re: DRM is just one of EA's problems

    @mobigeek

    Good job taking one line and completely ignoring the point. Of course I have purchased EA games in the past, I have been a gamer for 20 years. I think it would be quite impossible for me to not have purchased EA games. For a time I thought they actually made decent games that were usable. That is no longer the case, not because there games aren't good, but because they have taken steps to make them unusable, and when there is a problem they just ignore it. I now make it a point not to buy EA games, whereas in the past I happily purchased them.

    I also find it quite interesting how in response to my post you blast me for having purchased their games, and in your very next post you blast someone for NOT buying thier games.

    Looking at your posts I would have to call you a troll.

     

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    Lucretious, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 2:50pm

    Oh, and Riccitiello deserves a So. African necktie due to his canceling of Multiplayer Battletech 3025 back in 2001 during his first stint with the company.

    30,000 active players on the beta ready to pay the monthly fee and its canceled on the eve of its launch due to his reluctance to have to answer to the IP holder, Microsoft along with his continued senseless support of the financial black hole called "Majestic" which brought EA.com to the brink of bankruptcy.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 2:56pm

    i wonder if that .2% is the numer of people they estimate will need more than the allowed number of installs?

    My problem with Sucuwrong is that any time i try to install a game that has it, i get a message that my DVD drive is an invalid application. To bypass this copy protection and install the game, I have to (ironically) copy the entire contents of the disk to a hard drive, and run the installation from there.

    Sucuwrong also disables my autoplay on my DVD drive.

     

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    Andrew D. Todd, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 4:32pm

    What is Likely to Happen.

    Scenario: So there's this character who works for a contract janitorial company. And he goldbricks. In every office he's supposed to be cleaning, he runs an Electronic Arts disk on the computers in an attempt (successful or otherwise) to play a game. Some of these offices are medical offices. In the course of discovery for a medical malpractice lawsuit, the Electronic Arts rootkit is discovered. The plaintiff's lawyer falls on the discovery as on manna from heaven, and alleges that Electronic Arts tampered with medical files, resulting in harm being done to his client. There is a burst of publicity, and every ambulance-chasing lawyer begins incorporating Electronic Arts in malpractice suits by reflex, as a "deep pocket." Tens of thousands of ambulance-chasing lawyers, hundreds of thousands of cases, millions of dollars per case, hundreds of billions of dollars in potential damages, billions of dollars to mount even the most minimal sort of legal defense. How long, in that case, does it take for Electronic Arts to go bankrupt?

     

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    Silver Wolf, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 5:00pm

    Lost Sale

    I won't bother to go into a deep explanation but I will say that I was waiting for this game to come out for months but Due to the DRM I am not going to buy this game now.

    So, here's another lost sale.

     

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    Tony, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 5:06pm

    He's right

    And as always, nothing will really change because the majority of the public don't really care about all this. They've already sold more than a million copies.

     

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    Spore Guy, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 8:14pm

    General Public

    An average consumer probably dont even know what DRM is. So I can see a high percentage of people who dont care but 0.2 percent seems a little low.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 17th, 2008 @ 5:47am

    "Despite the use of DRM, Spore has been cracked, bypassing the copy protection mechanism. The game was illegally distributed over BitTorrent file sharing protocol four days before its retail release, and has been downloaded over 500,000 times - and is now on its way to becoming the most online-shared game in history" - wikipedia

    I wonder if the 0.2% of users who notice the DRM are the ones who paid for it. If this statement is true then it would seem that harsher DRM leads to more piracy. And it's got to be true cos it's on wikipedia.

     

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    Denver Starkey, Nov 10th, 2008 @ 4:36am

    the facts about this whole situation

    ok let's first look at what DRm means ,
    it means Digital rights management , it's not a wholely bad thing DRm can be a cd key , a disc that is coded to not allow cpoies to be , made ... or it can be a prgram such as Securom starforce , or many other such programs that have seemed to pick up the label that is DRM.

    with that said not all DRM is bad , but Sercurom , starforce and other such DRM schemes are , since these schemes forever attach themselves to your OS's kernel, making them impossible to remove short of a re format to your hard drive

    ok but now to teh real list and explainations for those that arnt in the know.

    1. the securom attaches to your OS in a non removable way (see above explaination) also since this DRM, does this , and this DRm has already been hacked , it Essentially leaves a MASSIVE security hole/back door on yoru OS ,any virus that can already attack securom , will be able to penetrate your system through securom. THIS IS AFACT,one that i'm sure EA is not going to coment much on!

    2. in the US we have what is called the right of first sale, it states taht any thing Physical a consumer buys, they ahve the right to resale it a later date if they so desire as long as they did pay for the original copy they are reselling. now as to why EA thinks they ahve teh right to trounce this law is becaue , the case of "Right of first sale" as it relates to video games and software was never settled in a US federal court, they bassically left it up for the states to decide rather or not these media's are included in this law , some state do , siting that it is a physical sale at the counter , other state dont siting that it is a license(though the number of states that favor this is small). the fact that this is such a contested cotroversy is why EA (and many entertainment companies ) try to hammer it into people's heads that games /music/software/movies , are licenses and not pysical sales, they hope that enouhg states change thier laws evetually form the populacve having this mentality , that eventually a federal rulling will be made in thier favor. , but curently it is state dependant , so as a citizen you should look up and learn your state's laws regarding the "right of first sale" and what your state consideres fits in this right. i'm sure that securom is breaking the law in many, many states.

    3. regardless of teh "first sale law" securom does break Federal laws since it installs with OUT consumer consent and or before hand knowledge of what is being installed with the game, this brings us back to point 1 also , securom attching it's self to your OS , and thus leaving a back door open to any virus that attacks securom , could be legaling construed as aiding viruses in damaging consumer personal property. soemthing he federal goverment was CLEARLY AGAINST , back in 2004 when the RIAA asked for federal permission to flood ileagal music softwares with viral versions of the music , the federal goverment gave the RIAA a big hell no , so i'm sure they would not look favorably on securom if this was brought to their atention.

    4. last but not least, securom has done nothing to stop piracy any one who thinks it has is either , A: mentally challenged , B: fooling them selves, C: a dirty liar , or D: all of the above.


    with taht said i have nothign else to say

     

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