Sega Apparently Learned Nothing From EA's Spore-DRM Mistakes

from the this-isn't-hard dept

You would think that, given the widespread negative publicity generated by EA's choice to use draconian DRM with the release of Spore, that other video game companies might recognize that they'd be better served going in a different direction. Unfortunately, that's not the case with Sega, whose Sports Interactive subsidiary has released the latest copy of its incredibly popular Football Manager product, only to find that many, many legitimate customers are discovering they cannot activate the offering because the DRM is not working properly. And, not surprisingly, this is now leading to numerous negative reviews on Amazon, as people point out how the DRM has stymied their ability to actually play the game they've purchased (while some have noted that cracked copies of the game are already widely available). Congratulations, Sega. Not only have you failed to stop piracy, you've also pissed off many legitimate paying customers, and made sure that the game is poorly rated on Amazon. What do you plan for an encore?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Nov 20th, 2008 @ 10:02am

    They just don't get it, do they?

    DRM sucks only to your paying customers.
    People WILL stop buying sooner or later, and it has already begun.
    Check out the reviews for Mirror's Edge on Amazon. It is by EA and just came out last week. There are people on there as well who are, thanks to Spore, quite aware of DRM and will Not buy it because it also includes Securom. Securom is a rootkit that the DRM hounds want you to install. It has documented problems with stuff much more far reaching than just the games it is meant to stop. One of the worst designed programs ever. It (and all other DRM) needs to go.

     

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    sehlat (profile), Nov 20th, 2008 @ 10:11am

    Obviously no-one learned from Half-Life 2

    These problems are not new. An awful lot of the plaints I see over on Amazon remind me of what happened when I bought Half-Life 2. I installed my legally-purchased copy, brought it up, and spent the next several hours locked in mortal combat with Steam, while my copy told me it was "updating....updating....updating..."

    THAT was the last PC game I have bought. Obviously, game players AND manufacturers have learned absolutely NOTHING in the intervening years.

     

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      interval, Nov 20th, 2008 @ 10:18am

      Re: Obviously no-one learned from Half-Life 2

      That's interesting. I had the exact opposite reaction to Steam. I wish more companies used the Steam distribution model.

       

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        Ragaboo (profile), Nov 20th, 2008 @ 10:30am

        Re: Re: Obviously no-one learned from Half-Life 2

        Agreed. Steam has been incredibly good to me. I've purchased many games on Steam, and I'll usually find a game that I want to buy and then immediately check to see if it is on Steam before going to Best Buy or Amazon. BTW, for what it's worth, I'm one of those old-schoolers who hates not having a physical copy of something as expensive as a video game, and yet I happily buy from Steam.

        The bottom line is that it is easy, unobtrusive, non-invasive, and from a company that I highly respect.

         

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          Jeff, Nov 20th, 2008 @ 11:12am

          Re: Re: Re: Obviously no-one learned from Half-Life 2

          Not only is it easier, but when you start up steam, it checks your games and even updates them to fix any bugs or issues found.

           

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 20th, 2008 @ 4:13pm

      Re: Obviously no-one learned from Half-Life 2

      Wait, are you trying to say that because they update your products you won't buy them? What you were experiencing wasn't DRM, it was either overloaded servers or outdated product, but from what you posted you were not experiencing DRM issues. Get a clue about what is being posted before you post, and while you're at it learn what the problem you're experiencing before you think you figured it out.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 20th, 2008 @ 10:23am

    I bought the game in the box, and installed it via steam, and I can't stand it. The steam module is a giant pain in the ass. And, I am not sure, but it looks like because I installed via Steam, I cannot make any changes to the program (customization), or use many of the mods that are developed for the game. That is one of the biggest reasons to own these football management games.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 20th, 2008 @ 10:33am

    Glad I read this article about Sega's new game. I was thinking about getting it, but now that I know this I'll just download it for free.

     

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    Matt, Nov 20th, 2008 @ 10:35am

    down to 158 reviews

    So how many actual real reviews are there by now? 10 thousand? 20?

    I bet amazon has cut down the reviews again.

     

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      Ima Fish, Nov 20th, 2008 @ 10:45am

      Re: down to 158 reviews

      "So how many actual real reviews are there by now?"

      Let me get this straight. In your mind, if a product is so completely screwed up that people are refusing to buy it, and if those people who refuse to buy it write up their opinions on why they refuse to buy it, that for some bizarre reason those opinions should not be considered "real" reviews?! That fricken makes no sense.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Nov 20th, 2008 @ 12:09pm

        Re: Re: down to 158 reviews

        Dear Sega,

        So why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?
        YOU HYPOCRITE, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.

         

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        nasch, Nov 21st, 2008 @ 7:57am

        Re: Re: down to 158 reviews

        It actually makes perfect sense. It can't really be considered a review if the reviewer has never played the game. It would be like Roger Ebert writing a movie review based on what he's heard about the movie.

        I'm not saying these posts don't have a place, but they're not reviews, they're complaints.

         

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    Ima Fish, Nov 20th, 2008 @ 10:40am

    Apparently, the way our new economy works, e.g., cell phone contracts, cable TV service, Sony root kits, etc., if you don't have a specific plan in place to shit on legitimate customers, you're doing something utterly wrong.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 20th, 2008 @ 11:01am

    @ The AC Above

    "And, I am not sure, but it looks like because I installed via Steam, I cannot make any changes to the program (customization), or use many of the mods that are developed for the game."

    Half-Life 2 only came as a Steam game, and mods work just fine.

     

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      Evil Mike, Nov 20th, 2008 @ 11:06am

      Re: @ The AC Above

      I had a box copy of HL2! (you ignorant schmuck...)

      There's a way to install it w/out Steam. Honestly, I don't recall what that way is; but I do remember finding the info on some pirate forum...

      After that, my game worked fine: without Steam.

       

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    joe, Nov 20th, 2008 @ 11:19am

    Learned what?

    Maybe they learned that most people don't read tech message boards and don't care about DRM or Amazon reviews. I found this in an article about game sales in November.

    SPORE is a hit selling nearly 2.0 million copies in just 3 weeks – over 40 million creatures have been uploaded into Sporepedia. SPORE is the number one title on the PC in North America and number three title in Europe year-to-date.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 20th, 2008 @ 11:42am

      Re: Learned what?

      I second this... As much as I loathe DRM and the entities that engage in it, the reality is that most consumers are blissfully ignorant of this, even some tech-savvy ones.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 20th, 2008 @ 12:38pm

    WOTLK

    "SPORE is a hit selling nearly 2.0 million copies in just 3 weeks"

    WoW x-pack sold over 2.8mil in the first 24 hours.. :p

     

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    Tony, Nov 20th, 2008 @ 12:59pm

    WOTLK

    I was just about to say the same things about WoW x-pack. now that is a hit. also burning Crusade sold about 2.4mil the first 24 hours also. that show what PC games will do if a truly great game comes out.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 20th, 2008 @ 1:29pm

    You people don't get it. Tech heads are the only ones who even know what DRM is. The average player doesn't have a clue and could care less.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 20th, 2008 @ 2:19pm

      Re:

      The tech heads are becoming the minority where DRM awareness is concerned as problems w/DRM become more widespread and affect the non-tech heads.

      Some point and laugh at the Amazon review bombs, but for a lot of people that's the threshhold to purchase, tech headed or not. Buyers may never visit an official game forum, but if they buy via Amazon, they're going to get something to think about.

      I also read that this game doesn't use Securom but something called Uniloc. Sounds like same crap, different day to me.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 20th, 2008 @ 2:05pm

    Brother

    "You people don't get it. Tech heads are the only ones who even know what DRM is. The average player doesn't have a clue and could care less."

    Little Brother: Hey! Spore looks like fun!
    Big Brother Tech Head: It's has DRM, I'd never play it.
    Little Brother: Me neither!

    for the rest of that little brother's life, he will stay clear of DRM as much as possible even if he doesn't know what it is

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 20th, 2008 @ 2:26pm

    It's not difficult to believe that a system that uses DRM would see an organic sales lift of 3-5%. But as knowledge of these DRM systems are disseminated, and human capital costs plummet, more people will find time to explore and learn about systems for fun if nothing else. As long as the system is generated by humans, humans will be able to subvert it. There will always be a way around DRM.

    Perhaps the only value DRM provides is that of the short-lived gymnastism provided by the Streisand Effect (No offense, Mike, but I like to call it an attention "Bubble") Ergo, as more systems and games implement DRM and it becomes mainstream, games, media and the like may depend on DRM for the unintended Streisand Effect. But, understand this attention quickly fades for those that truly focus on innovation as their core competency. EA had 7 years of dev work into Spore. Great job, BTW.

    But at the end of the day, as properly described by Mike and SteveD in the article, the game will ultimately be judged on its merits and playability factors. DRM inclusive, or not.

    So as I watch these marionettes- (EA, Sega, and the like) play, I either have to congratulate EA's Marketing team for their use of DRM to invoke the Streisand Effect and their poor implementation of DRM (Arguably a one-shot chance for throwing questionably into the entire gaming industry's implementation of DRM) Or possibly going forward, disown them as a company who makes poor management decisions on the back of a 3-5% market share increase pursuit..

    So why are we not talking about the new Zune strategy these days? When you sign up for their upcoming service, you get 10 MP3s per month... I think Microsoft finally gets it, in one way or another.

     

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    Jonny, Nov 20th, 2008 @ 2:50pm

    Hello

    Thanks for linking to my site (http://www.snappygamer.com) - I'd never heard of Tech Dirt until now - but it's officially bookmarked :)

     

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    tracker1, Nov 20th, 2008 @ 3:01pm

    Haven't bought a game in years..

    My son has bought a few games the past few years, and had to deal with the pain that is DRM in one form or another. Me, I haven't bought any, even for my son... I stopped when Half Life 2 came out with Steam myself. I wouldn't mind if games came on encrypted USB drives that held the game as a module, instead of installing crap on my computer. Maybe the cost will be worth it sometime soon.

     

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    cKarlGo, Nov 21st, 2008 @ 4:52am

    Negative reviews on Amazon

    Don't worry, Amazon will delete those negative reviews soon enough and blame it on a technical glitch that magically leaves only the good reviews.

     

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