EA Sued Repeatedly Over DRM

from the don't-piss-off-your-customers dept

We had already pointed out one class action lawsuit filed against EA for its use of SecuROM DRM on the game Spore, but it appears that others are getting in on the act as well. GamePolitics has news of two more class action lawsuits filed against EA over its DRM choices. At some point, you have to wonder if this is just people piling on and hoping to win a cash settlement out of EA — but again it does demonstrate how short-sighted the DRM decision was on the part of EA.

Considering that the game is available to download as an unauthorized file on various file sharing systems, it’s pretty clear that the DRM did absolutely nothing to prevent any piracy on the game. However, it did significantly harm the company’s reputation, and now they have to spend time and money fending off lawsuits. My guess is that the money spent on these lawsuits, combined with the revenue not recognized from folks who planned to buy the game but didn’t because of all this, will actually greatly outweigh any real “losses” from piracy.

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Comments on “EA Sued Repeatedly Over DRM”

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Spectere (profile) says:

Good to hear!

I hope that this teaches EA (and other developers who plan to use overzealous DRM) a lesson in what not to do to peoples’ computers. I just hope that these lawsuits actually do some good.

I’ve held off buying SecuROM-infested games because of this mess. I’ve already passed up Bioshock (it wasn’t published by EA but it’s still an online activated SecuROM game) and Spore solely because of the DRM and I know of many others that have done the same thing.

These large companies like EA don’t seem to understand that they’re actually driving people to piracy by doing what they do. People can go on and on about how you’re actually purchasing a license to use the game and, while that is true, people don’t want to feel like their $50 investment only bought them a limited-use, revocable license. Additionally, most people want to be able to install and run the game ten years down the road without having to worry whether or not the authentication servers will still be up and running. This online authentication garbage certainly doesn’t guarantee that.

Craig says:

I'm a [insert your choice of words here].

I bought Spore. I knew that there was DRM restrictions, but I had no clue that it was something that I could not easily get rid of, even after uninstalling the game.

I don’t mind paying because I believe that the makers of Spore deserve to earn revenue for their hard work. It’s the basis of our capitalist system, no? I enjoy the game and feel I have received value for my money.

So why do I feel like a sap? Now I’m stuck with something on my hard drive that might require a total wipe and reinstall of everything. I’m a busy family guy — I don’t have time for crap like that.

I “do the right thing” and I feel like not only are the “pirates” sneering at EA, but me as well. How did we get to a point where being honest means you have something you don’t want, and those that obtain the game in other ways laugh in your face?

Spytrx says:

Re: I'm a [insert your choice of words here].

I won’t go into your ignorant card blanche blaming of pirates for DRM restrictions because they are frankly uneducated. There are a number of Software houses out there that ship their products without any kind of copy protection and they make a good and healthy profit from it – Paradox Software would be one of them before you ask.

EA has overstepped the line by using a DRM that was known to damage the users computer, is near impossible to remove even to an advance user, and has been outlawed in a few countries as a means of copy protection since it is classed as malware. Still they went ahead and shipped it anyways with the excuse that ‘pirates’ damage their profits (which are still pretty healthy if I might divert your attention to the dividends they pay out every quarter.

It didn’t actually start with the game either – the demo itself (as well as other demos) had the SecuROM DRM on it – why would you need to install copy protection on a demo?

Pirates are blames for a lot of things that deflect for the real and underlying reasons why ordinary people go and download a illegal copy of a game: the high costs for games is one concern. The developer gets very little from the money you hand over at the counter – it all goes to the publishing house (now where have we heard that before?) and in most cases you don’t even get a working product but you have to download a huge patch that covers some of the bugs identified in the beta-stage of the game.

if you want to remove SecuROM, here is how:

SecuROM uninstall instructions for Windows XP SP2

Disclaimer 1: Only attempt these uninstall instructions if you are reasonably computer literate and have backed-up your entire system.
Disclaimer 2: Only attempt these uninstall instructions if you have no games installed which require SecuROM to be present.
Disclaimer 3: Only attempt these uninstall instructions if you previously had to authorized your PC with SecuROM before you could play a game and that game is now uninstalled.

* Step 1: Uninstall the game/demo in question.

* Step 2: Remove the SecuROM registry entries.
The SecuROM registry entries are deliberately made non-removable by default. In order to remove them download the http://www.microsoft.com/technet/s […] lNull.mspx RegDelNull registry editing utility from Microsoft and install it on your C partition.
Run the following two commands from a Windows command prompt: “C:regdelnull HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareSecuROM -s” and “C:regdelnull HKEY_USERSSoftwareSecuROM -s” where “” can be determined by searching the registry for the “SecuROM” directory key. This “” typically has a form like “S-1-5-21-2052111302-1757341266-724545543-500”. Once these two RegDelNull commands have been successfully issued the registry should be checked to confirm that these two keys have been deleted. If they are still present they will now be removeable due to the action of the RegDelNull utility.

* Step 3: Removal of the SecuROM service and related utilities.
Open a Windows command prompt and change directory to “c:windowssystem32”. Type “uaservice7 /remove”. This will stop the SecuROM user access service, and clean up its relevant registry entries. On the Windows command prompt type “regsvr32 /u cmdlineext.dll”. Reboot and then manually delete the files “uaservice7.exe” and “cmdlineext.dll” from “c:windowssystem32”. Note: Both of these files are SecuROM installed files which can be verified by checking their file properties (Right click – Properties).

* Step 4: Removal of SecuROM files under “C:Documents and Settings”.
Securom installs a hidden directory with 6 files under “C:Documents and SettingsApplication DataSecuROM”. The first 4 ordinary text files can simply be manually deleted once Windows explorer has been configured to show hidden files and folders. The two remaining malformed nominally unremovable files require a special method to delete: Invoke a Windows command prompt with full Administrator privileges by typing the following into a Windows command prompt: “at /interactive %systemroot%system32cmd.exe” e.g. “at 9:02pm /interactive %systemroot%system32cmd.exe”. This will open a new Administrator command line when the time set has been attained. In this new command prompt change directory into the SecuROM folder e.g. “cd C:Documents and SettingsApplication DataSecurom”. Issue the following command to show the two remaining hidden malformed files: “dir /A”. To delete the two remaining hidden malformed files issue the following command: “del /F /AH *”. Confirm “yes” for each of the two file deletions of the malformed files. Finally, the directory “C:Documents and SettingsApplication DataSecuROM” can be deleted as per normal practice from within Windows explorer.

some old guy (user link) says:

Re: Re: I'm a [insert your choice of words here].

You have some reading comprehension problems there, Spytrx.

I won’t go into your ignorant card blanche blaming of pirates for DRM restrictions because they are frankly uneducated.

Craig never said anything remotely indicative of blaming pirates for anything at all. Also, if you’re going to be an asshole and call out others for being ignorant and uneducated, you might at least want to restrict your choice of language to those words you actually know and understand.

“card blanche” is actually “carte blanche” and is a term borrowed from the french. It means “white paper” in french, but the borrowed usage is as it relates to surrender, as in “unconditional”.

So where exactly, is Craig’s “unconditional ignorant uneducated” blaming of pirates for DRM restrictions?

Oh right, he never said anything of the sort. You just felt like being an asshole. Well, isn’t that nice.

Paul says:

Re: Re: Re: I'm a [insert your choice of words here].

The use of “Card Blanche” stuck out like a sore thumb, and I didn’t have time to research its usage; but Some Old Guy did… And Thank God.

If time would have been provided to research it, it would have probably led me to to a similar end point; one where Spytrx is shown as incredibly narrow minded and quite undereducated.

Great post BTW.

Spytrx says:

Re: Re: Re:2 I'm a [insert your choice of words here].

Carte blanche (white card in French) is a French phrase used by English speakers to refer to :

* Full Powers, delegation (law) or blank cheque

So next time either of you openly call people names (which I didn’t) you might want to know what you talk about… ‘surrender’, yeah right LOL

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 I'm a [insert your choice of words here].

Spytrx is a dork for claiming the other guy blames pirates for DRM. He said nothing of the sort. I also disagree with his usage of “carte blanche”. Generally it’s used to mean “free rein”: I gave her carte blanche to decorate how she wanted. You used it as meaning “blanket” or “all-inclusive”. I don’t think it means that.

And some old guy, carte blanche doesn’t really have anything to do with surrender as you said it does.

DanC says:

Re: Re: Re:2 I'm a [insert your choice of words here].

To continue the grammar nazi-ism….

“carte blanche” is typically used as an object in a sentence, generally as something that is given or possessed. Trying to use it as an adverb doesn’t work.

“card blanche” is actually “carte blanche” and is a term borrowed from the french. It means “white paper” in french, but the borrowed usage is as it relates to surrender, as in “unconditional”.

This is partially incorrect. “Carte Blanche” doesn’t have anything to do with surrender. A more accurate explanation would be “unconditional power”.

That being said, I fail to see where he blamed software piracy for DRM. He simply stated that software developers should be paid for their work.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: I'm a [insert your choice of words here].

I “do the right thing” and I feel like not only are the “pirates” sneering at EA, but me as well. How did we get to a point where being honest means you have something you don’t want, and those that obtain the game in other ways laugh in your face?

who is the asshole now?
ah yes, the guy that can’t read the context but nitpicks spelling mistakes from people that make a comment on the fly… enough said πŸ˜‰

some old guy (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 I'm a [insert your choice of words here].

So why are there DRM’s on there in the first place? Sorry, forgot to put the evolution of DRM’s in my comment for no-brainers as well. The only reason there are DRM’s out there is because people pirate stuff – get it?

Looks like you’re the one blaming everything on pirates now. Let’s see… what did you call Craig for that? Ah, yes: Ignorant and uneducated. But that’s ok, cause you didn’t call “openly call people names”. Right.

Spytrx says:

Re: Re: Re:7 I'm a [insert your choice of words here].

trounced me?

Where? You nit-picked on a spelling mistake, showed no-knowledge of what it meant after correcting me, threw in some swearing for an insult and deflected from the subject by trying to convince everybody that I was saying something I hadn’t. If that is what you understand under trouncing somebody on a subject, then I have to let you win… Well done you!

Other than that you had nothing to offer on the subject matter – since you haven’t got a clue about it, or people skills for that matter.

It also shows a lot about you as a person that needs to result to name-calling when faced with somebody with a difference of opinion and a better understanding of the subject – I’d say you’re what the Germans call a Schleimscheisser…

Now have a nice day and good riddance!

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 I'm a [insert your choice of words here].

“The only reason there are DRM’s out there is because people pirate stuff – get it?”

I have to dive in here… That’s the *justification* they give for DRM, but that doesn’t means it’s true, or at least not true on the scale that EA claims.

The problem here is one of a self-fulfilling prophecy / vicious spiral. That it, EA put DRM on their products. People either have problems with the DRM, so decide not to buy another product infected with that DRM (remember, DRM *only* affects paying customers, not pirates). So, sales drop, EA assumes this is because people are still pirating, so they strengthen the DRM. More people have problems, sales drop, EA assumes this is due to piracy…. You see the problem?

The thing is, there always will be piracy. I can say this because they *always has been*! There were pirated games back in the days of the ZX Spectrum and Apple II. Yet, the videogame industry is literally hundreds of times bigger than it was then. Devaluing the product with the use of DRM will not protect the game from pirates (most of whom would not buy the games anyway), but it does do a lot to put people off buying the games.

Spytrx says:

Re: Re: Re:5 I'm a [insert your choice of words here].

It is not necessarily the only reason – look at the masses of counterfeit games that flood the market, this is where the real problem stems from.

I think most people that download a game and like it will go out and buy the original (simply for the reason to use the online features most games nowadays offer) whilst that cannot be said of those people that buy the games at car-boot sales and know they are pirate copies.

In the last 10 years the number of counterfeit games went up 5000% and more. Another big factor is the price of the games (and the differences depending on the country you buy it in) – and the retailers are not to blame on this one either, because their markup is set.

Monarch says:

Re: Re: Re:4 I'm a [insert your choice of words here].

DRM has ONE purpose! That purpose is to keep ignorant people honest. That is, it is to keep people who don’t know how or think that it is a bigger hassle to pirate than use the DRM’d software, honest.
Face it, DRM NEVER HAS, nor ever will prevent piracy. And the more draconian the DRM, the more people move into the realm of piracy, because that is where the BETTER product is located. Not because it’s free, but because it IS a more superior product without the DRM.

Even games I’ve legally purchased, I’ve gone out to get a crack or fix, or just download the pirated version, just to get around the DRM. Now I’ve vowed not to buy any software that has DRM on it, even if it’s Steam, as I hate to have to get on line to open a game I own on CD, to play it off line.

Basically, if the game has DRM on it, I’ll get a pirated copy before I buy it in the store. If I really like it, I may consider buying a copy, for online play, if it doesn’t have SecureROM or Stardoc or some other rootkit, malware, DRM on it.

Paul says:

Re: Re: Re:2 I'm a [insert your choice of words here].

Thank you for your comment. However, maybe you shouldn’t be shooting in this barrel. Are you hanging out with the wrong crowd?

The internet is large and expanding daily, Sir. And with a little luck and a little searching, you’ll surely find a blog where you belong.

Lisa Westveld says:

Re: Re: Re: White map, not paper or card...

The saying “Carte Blanche” is indeed french and is a few centuries old. It refers to the undiscovered lands that people had to deal with centuries ago. There were plenty of explorers who went out to discover new worlds and new lands and basically, since those areas weren’t discovered yet, they were just white spaces on their maps back then.
When an explorer was sent out, he would be given a blank map and he had to fill it in himself, as he sees fit. You’re given the freedom to fill in the blanks, the unknowns, in a way that you think is right.

The way it has been used here would suggest that Craigh is the first one who blames pirates. I think EA has the patent already for that one…

JB says:

Re: Re: Re:3 White map, not paper or card...

I don’t blame pirates for DRM…I blame the money grubbing whores that are EA executives. Unfortunately they are blinded by greed and are unable to see the negative financial impact of adding such restrictive DRM to their products. They feel these actions are bolstering profits by ‘preventing’ piracy while simultaneously crushing the re-sale market.

On the note of ‘Software Licenses,’ if I pay money and receive something tangible, I have purchased it and not a license. If you want to sell us a license, then host the full game on your servers and only give us a key to access the content. If we are required to download anything to our computers, then you have relinquished your right to that data. I would love to see ‘software licenses’ disappear and be replaced by ‘software.’ I would gladly pay for a ‘software license’ if I never had to install the game, download patches, read through legalese EULAs, and was provided reassurance that my ‘license’ was valid and is irrevocable by the provider.

Spytrx says:

Re: Re: Re:4 I'm a [insert your choice of words here].

besides – I am English speaking, yet not English. So your choice of words falls a bit short of making any sense.

What you imply in your sentence is that you are better than the rest though. If you use somebody else’s phrases, make sure you use them correctly – and if quoting sources, don’t complain when the source is turned against you in the end…

Craig says:

Re: Re: I'm a [insert your choice of words here].

With respect, I didn’t say that pirating is responsible for DRM. I re-read my post to see how you came to that conclusion, but I’m not sure how you did. Regardless, I chalk it up to simple misunderstanding…no harm done.

BTW, thank you SO MUCH for the information on how to kill SecureROM. That was very nice of you to do that and I appreciate it a lot.


Spytrx says:

Re: Re: Re: I'm a [insert your choice of words here].

That was the way it came across (at least to me) – keeping in mind that not everybody visiting this board is English or American and speaks another language first you can see that some things can get confused in the translation. Still, there was no need for a third party to jump in and call me an ‘asshole’.

I highlighted the sentence that lead me to the conclusion that you felt that pirates screwed you over further down the thread and I have asked a few English people I know here at work and they agreed with me that it can be taken either way… Sorry.

No sweat on the removal – I had it on my PC since I had to remove SecuROM thrice now from my system. The first time I knew it was there, but had no idea what consequences it had on other programs – the other two times it wasn’t even mentioned (and on demo’s).

interval says:

Re: Re: I'm a [insert your choice of words here].

1) Craig was right on the money with a reasonable post. Also- no where relevant to any of the materials presented as “the game” is the fact that this secu-rom (whatever) system is installed on your system. That’s just wrong. It should have been disclosed in an easy to find manner.

2) Its funny that you call Craig ignorant and use the phrase (sic) “card blanche”, when its spelled “carte blanc”.

jonnyq says:

Re: I'm a [insert your choice of words here].

“I don’t mind paying because I believe that the makers of Spore deserve to earn revenue for their hard work. It’s the basis of our capitalist system, no?”

This is the type of thinking that irritates me – to say that “capitalism” dictates that you pay for each copy of a digital good.

Piracy is capitalism in action – increasing the supply drives the price down, even if it’s not done so legally.

Copyright is a government-granted protection to correct a supposed problem with capitalism. Copyright assumes that a raw free market on its own won’t be competitive or innovative enough – it’s an artificial way to “correct” capitalism, and when it fails at doing so, then it’s directly anti-capitalist.

It’s the same type of thinking that calls FOSS “socialist” when it’s not.

Craig says:

Re: Re: I'm a [insert your choice of words here].

Jonnyq: I never said that paying for something is the basis of capitalism. I said that “…the makers of Spore deserve to earn revenue…”

That is capitalism, no? Earning something in exchange for something, whether by piracy or other means?

How they earn the revenue is up to them. They must create the business model that creates value for their goods and/or services.

ConceptJunkie (profile) says:

Re: I'm a [insert your choice of words here].

It’s not the being honest part… it’s the part where the people who pirate it get a better value than the people who pay. In other words, even if the game were free, the DRM is such a penalty that it would still keep people from using it.

Remember, kids, you’re paying for that privilege.

Or in my case, not, because I don’t buy (or pirate) games with DRM.

Twinrova says:

DRM is only ONE of EA's problems!

I have absolutely no sympathy for anyone who purchases or downloads an EA game then turns to whine about its graphics, gameplay, or DRM issue.

Instead of boycotting this company, you idiots now make it harder to get this company to change its ways. Does anyone here think this lawsuit will help force this company to change its ways?

Given the extent DRM has had in the past, obviously EA feels it can do whatever the hell it wants while making you, the consumer, pay for it all (legal or not).

So continue whining about your experiences but do so to those who actually give a damn because around here, no one cares about your problems you decided to bring on yourself knowing full well the issues EA has had as a game developer.

And Techdirt’s not helping by using its own Streisand Effect on this by touting “legal issues” against EA.

Like a spoiled child, the only way EA can ever be affected is if each and every damn gamer stands together and ignores EA products. No purchases. No downloads.

Gee, where have I said this before regarding all these “copyright” complaints? Right.

I don’t know what’s worse: The copyright issues or the consumers who knowingly purchase these issues then whine about them.

Think me as a troll all you want, but you know I’m right. It’s just a shame most of you can’t get over your urges to play the “latest and greatest” to fight against what you know is wrong.

Craig says:

Re: DRM is only ONE of EA's problems!

Myself, I bought Spore to support Maxis, not EA. Yes, I know that EA gets cash as the publisher, but I paid my money, knowing full well that there was DRM on the game. What I did not know, however, was how the DRM was executed, and that software was installed on my computer without my knowledge and consent. Had I known about SecureROM, I would not have bought the game.

robf says:

Re: Re: DRM is only ONE of EA's problems!

I purchased my copy as a download from EA.. now while this has its own set of problems (namely that you have 6 months of access to it before you have to rebuy it which is ridiculous) but I have no drm whatsoever. I also got it the day before it was released here since I told EA I was in the UK, they let me download it at the UK release time and not the US ;)…

Jfed says:

Re: DRM is only ONE of EA's problems!

I’d agree with this comment on its face except for the fact that there’s still a whole lot of people who aren’t aware of the issues with EA’s DRM (they’ve been using Securom for PC games only since April 2007). And EA’s not the only publisher using it either.

I’m most familiar w/TheSims2 game mentioned in the Cortez suit and I can tell you with certainty that the overwhelming majority of players who bought that game had no idea that Securom could do what it does, nor that it was even installed onto their computers when they ran the game. It ain’t on the box, in the EULA, or on the official website. Not common knowledge then, and while word’s definitely getting around, information about it is still not made readily available by EA right here and now (I mean the conflicts and tech problems it can cause, not activation limits and such, tho they’re not on any game box either).

robf says:

Re: Re: so if I......

It won’t really help since they don’t come after you for having an “illegal” copy. They do come after you for sharing it. Problematically for us is that bittorrent is a pretty much dual stream system, you give and you receive. Unless you disable all sharing you’re doing something that no box or license will protect you from (in this case you’d be better off going to someone’s house and getting a copy from them…on foot and 1000miles away…as this is how long it’d take you to download without sharing enabled.)

some old guy (user link) says:

Re: Hmmmmmm...

Isn’t this the same company that Amazon was caught removing bad reviews for? After they did that, I kicked Amazon to the curb. There’s plenty of other sources to buy from.

Your rejection of Amazon is unwarranted. They were not caught deleting bad reviews, they were caught having undesirable results from their automated bot detection system, which was abruptly remedied when it was pointed out.

Lisa Westveld says:

Actually, “Carte Blanche” translates to “white map”, not “white paper”. It means that you’re free to go in all directions. πŸ™‚

I also wonder when anti-virus software is going to discover this “malware” and automatically remove it. Would be fun, since the SecuRom has been qualified as malware in some countries thus removing this security should be allowed. (But then the game won’t work anymore…)

It’s funny, though. When I saw some information about “Spore” I almost went out and bought it. But I first checked the Internet and read about this stupid DRM that’s part of the game. It’s the main reason why I won’t buy this game now. (Don’t want an illegal version either.) I just wonder how many other gamers have avoided buying the legal version just to avoid this irritating DRM. Quite a few, I think.

AJ says:


Having read about the copy protection on Spore, I skipped buying it and saved myself and EA $50. The only way to play the game is to find a game creator who eschews DRM and who VALUES ITS PAYING CUSTOMERS.

I have not (in my recollection – and I’ve been a PC gamer for 30 years) seen a game that hasn’t been cracked, available for download (or trade) for free, or didn’t have the SecurRom portion of the program easily removed. Even knowing I can save a few bucks and download a free copy, I still buy to support those who make awesome games (like FarCry and FarCry2 which I’m still in awe of!).

I guess the audience EA is aiming for is the uneducated masses who just take what they’re given and don’t know how (or where) to find ways around the DRM. Even though I purchase legally, I always download the SecureROM crack so I don’t have to fumble with stupid DVD’s or CD’s before I’m allowed to play. I simply want to click on the icon and run my game rather than hunting down the original copy.

So, EA, continue to punish us who purchase your product and very soon, there will be many more, who like me, no longer support your attempts at ‘owning’ my computer.

F EA says:

It’s good to see people joining in these class action suits, too bad the only people that make out are the lawyers. I fit into the “would have bought except for the DRM” demographic. I’ve purchased all of Sid’s Civilization games, and this one had extremely high expectations. However, I am not going to buy a game that limits how much I can use it.

F that. F EA and their new business model.


Save a Lincoln, buy Pre-owned!

Old Gamer says:

I have a New Game.

I never used to pirate and have always felt that if it is a game I like, I would purchase it from the manufacturer to support them and the future production of their games.

However, since companies like EA want to limit me on the future use of a game, how often I re-install it on my new hardware, and generally treat me like a crook, I now have a new game. This new game is to learn how to crack and pirate EA games and I will continue to do so until they remove SecuRom.

EA’s loss of revenue initiated by them.

PS: Thanks for the info Spytrx.

interval says:

Re: Re:

I once got a check from a class action suite. I didn’t even know what was going on, I just got a letter from a lawyer (a group, actually) saying they were suing a restaurant I once worked at on my behalf, and the behalf of thousands of other time clock employees. Then about a year later I got a check for around $80. Woo hoo.

Anonymous Coward says:

The problem with the hypothesis that this did nothing to change outcomes from the company is that there is no way to falsify it. We have no control group.

It could be that the DRM gave the company enough breathing room (say three or four days when Spore might be less widely available than otherwise) that they recouped some amount of money. Or it could be that DRM had no effect. Or it could be that DRM just annoyed the hackers and they made an extra-special effort, thus causing EA to lose money.

None of these is provable. How you would prove that DRM had an effect is interesting to consider.

Jfed says:

Re: Re:

Spore was available on torrent sites several days before it was released in the US; it racked up nearly half a million illegal downloads in just over a week of release(http://torrentfreak.com/spore-most-pirated-game-ever-thanks-to-drm-080913/).

So the DRM certainly hacked someone off and then some.

According to EA, Spore’s sold about 2 million copies, but that’s over several platforms (PC, phone, and handheld). But for the DRM used, it could have potentially sold far, far more for PC, I’d wager – hey, someone has to be Mistress of the Obvious.

So anecdontally, Securom is quite full of fail as anti-piracy technology, but seems to work very well as paying customer repellent.

Bob says:

I for one am glad EA is getting negative attention for this. I got swindled for my Mass Effect purchase that wouldn’t activate a month after I purchased it. It was at that point when I decided I would never buy another Bioware/EA game.

I was really looking forward to Red Alert 3 too. Spore is not the only game with this “problem”, just about every EA game that has come out in the past 9 months has it. If they didn’t ruin them with the DRM, they ruined them with horrible support ( Kanes Wrath anyone?).

I’ve actaully read more books this last year than I probably did in my four years of college thanks to EA ruining all my PC games.

I guess I should say thanks!

Dirk Belligerent (profile) says:

Fallout 3 Is DRM Free!

No activations, no limits, just a basic disk check (which can be cracked out for those wishing to store the game disc.) Good for Bethesda! I hope they sell a zillion copies. The Witcher EE was the same. I didn’t even know you could register the thing for a couple of weeks since I’d simply installed and started playing on an offline laptop.

I once downloaded the Quake 3 Team Arena pack to check it out and seeing that it was decent, went and bought a copy to enter the CD key to play online, which is what Q3 was all about. This is probably an exception to the SOP from people who claim to just pirate to “check it out”, but screw them.

rockerest says:

One of those...

I was one of those who didn’t buy the game because of the terrifyingly bad reviews I heard.

I was pretty dang excited about this game, and the possibilities it offered (a game that had aspects of every kind of game). I had always dreamed of making or playing a game that had aspects of ALL of my genre-spanning favorites.

But I never buy a game the day it comes out (for exactly this reason), and after only a few days, I began hearing A LOT of people VERY pissed off.

Spore now has an average of 2/5 for most reviews. I probably won’t buy this game, and thanks to my university, definitely won’t be pirating it.

I don’t feel like I’m missing much, but I think EA is missing a lot. I’m tired of really cool looking games falling flat on their faces because of (pardon my language) shitty publishers.


Bradley Stewart (profile) says:

EA Games Response

Once again we see another example of people who never paid attention to old stories as they were growing up. A guy gets on a bus. He spits on the floor. A copper sees him and writes him a ticket for two dollars. He goes to his lawyer and asks him what he should do. The lawyer says pay the two dollars. He says he won’t do it and orders the lawyer to appeal. He looses all his appeals and winds up at the Supreme Court after years of aggrivation and expense. The Supreme Court gives him the death penalty. EA games should just pay the two dollars. Some people never learn.

Anon says:


Stop trolling, Spyrtx, and even if that wasn’t your intention it’s what you’re doing now.

EA missed out on me buying Spore because of SecuROM: I would ordinarily have bought the game, but instead I got it from a friend. I might even have bought the game and then left it unused and played the crack instead, to get round the DRM but be ethically in the right, but I don’t want to give EA money for using SecuROM. l2game, EA.

Spytrx says:

Re: Dammit

Stop trolling, Spyrtx, and even if that wasn’t your intention it’s what you’re doing now.

heh – who made you God of all the Internet sites all of a sudden? I fought for my right of free speech, but I didn’t see your or any of the other guys ugly mug anywhere near me in the trenches. So stop telling me what to do or what I can or can’t say. It seems that Techdirts’ staff are quite happy with what I have to contribute so far – unlike others I don’t make personal attacks!

ScytheNoire (profile) says:

DRM stopped me from buying

DRM stopped me from buying Mass Effect and Red Alert 3.
I just won’t buy any games unless I do it through a service like Steam or StarDock or know that the boxed copy doesn’t have DRM.
I think it’s why Steam has been so successful, it stops piracy, you often get your games for cheaper, it’s user friendly, and you never have to leave your house to get your games.
Screw retail stores, screw DRM, I’m done buying crap that infects my computer.

Anonymous Coward says:

DanC, that’s a very unpopular stance around here. I think the party line is that software developers should pay graphic designers to make T-shirts so that people who love their software will also want to buy a T-shirt because T-shirts are scarce. Or something.

No, wait, that’s wrong. It’s rarely about what someone should do, and mostly about what they should not do. Strongly coupling intellectual property work that can be easily copied to payment is “out.” Of course, we’ve already seen what happens in the music industry when you trade in musicianship to sell “celebrity” instead — Britney Spears.

I think the real problem is that =bad= DRM annoys legitimate users. Good DRM should not. It sounds like EA used bad DRM. This gets generalized to “free good, DRM bad.”

Anonymous Coward says:

I have a feeling that EA’s policy has less to do with pirating and more to do with undercutting second-hand sales from used games. Second-hand sales cost media millions more in lost revenue than piracy ever has. Someone mentioned buying from companies that value their customers, and unfortunately, that’s a sad too few companies. Video game monoliths, like EA, Activision, or Blizzard for example, have grown accustomed to immature consumers (which is a large portion of the gaming community unfortunately) who will shell out $60 for the latest game (and all its buggy or incomplete glory) and then whine about how its not worth $60 bucks and demand service from a company that already has their money, rather then refuse to pay outrageous prices, for an unfinished product. Its like such companies already KNOW that they can make money hand-over-fist while adopting a “f**k you” attitude towards their clients. Maybe I’m just being bitter (I have had horrible customer service experiences with the above companies which is why I reluctantly buy from them, if at all), but that’s my two cents.

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