Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Spore's DRM Backfires

This is very interesting. I wrote before that I decided against buying Spore because of the SecuROM DRM scheme being implemented, and it looks like I wasn't alone in that decision. As of 9:04 AM this morning, there are 1,272 one star reviews on Amazon for Spore.

Reviewer Brian Fox wrote:

DRM is a show stopper. I doubt this game will work for me after a few years given my habit of new hardware purchases and system snapshots. Like others have said, this game is for rent not sale.
Reviewer Fox News Sucks wrote:
The DRM for the game utilizes securom which is essentially a virus that installs itself without warning when you install the game. There is no way to completely remove it without reformatting and it is constantly running in the background if not removed. Sucking up computer resources.

It also is overpriced. This is actually a RENTAL, not a bought game because it only lets you install 3 times. If you install over 3 times then you must call EA customer support and beg them to let you play the game you bought. Did I mention the call is not free? If you live outside the U.S. it will be a very expensive call.
Reviewer N. Bolten wrote:
I was looking to buy the ultra-nerdy $80 package at release... no more now that I've learned of the crippling DRM. A message to EA: if you give your customers what they pay for, they're *not* going to pirate (they've already proven they will buy the game). Games are cracked *before* release, so that is not something you can avoid. Stop screwing your customers under the guise of protecting your copyrights and you'll get my cash. Until then I'll be happy playing games released by people who don't punish me like I've done something wrong for forking over $50-$80.
Further reading -- this blog post by a commenter at the Quarter to Three forums puts the issue into perspective nicely. Author peterb makes a point worth repeating; it's essentially what Brad Wardell of Stardock has been saying all along.
The damnable thing about Spore’s DRM is that it gives up some of the platform’s few advantages for…what, exactly? Is protecting yourself against pirates who are not and will never be customers really worth infuriating your paying customers and squandering your company’s goodwill?
Let's see if EA takes notice of this consumer insurrection against the DRM used for Spore.

[UPDATE]: In the span of one hour's time, another 42 one star reviews have been added to Spore's Amazon page, bringing the total 1,314 one star reviews.

[UPDATE 2]: It's nearly the end of the day here, so I checked in at Amazon one more time to see where the review count is. As of 4:19 PM, there are a total of 1,551 one star reviews. Looks like this little protest is getting some mainstream news coverage.

[UPDATE 3]: Another full day later -- as of 4:36 PM, there are 1,928 one star reviews. Doesn't look like this is coming to an end anytime soon.

[UPDATE 4]: Amazon deletes all reviews on their Spore page. Looks like it happened sometime today, 9/12/2008.

[UPDATE 5]: Looks like sometime over the weekend, Amazon put the Spore reviews back up. There are now 2,133 one star reviews, as of 9/15/2008 at 9:42 AM.

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