Gamers Vent Spore DRM Frustrations via Reviews

September 8, 2008 -

Frustrated Spore users are slamming Will Wright's new release with poor, 1-star reviews on

Of 642 user reviews posted as I write this, 586 are of the 1-star variety, hardly what one would expect for such a hotly-anticipated game. The negative reviews invariably mention the digital rights management (DRM) system built into Spore. This one, posted by Amazon user dwemer22, is fairly typical:

I was EXTREMELY excited about this game... Then I got on Amazon and noticed that a large number of the forums devoted to Spore were complaining of something called "SecuROM." I did a little digging and discovered that SecuROM is a piece of [DRM] software that is installed along with the game to prevent you from installing the game more than three times, in an attempt to combat piracy.


I was fine with that. I then read further through the forums and the Wikipedia article and discovered that SecuROM does a number of other things too, including sending mysterious packets of data back to the company from your computer (identity theft, perhaps?), prevents you from using certain programs, such as DVD and CD burners, makes it impossible for you to modify your root drive and, worst of all, will NOT uninstall without the help of a third party application. So I canceled my order...


I encourage EVERYBODY to not buy this game until the SecuROM Digital Rights Management is patched out or removed from later releases. On a final note, the SecuROM didn't do a thing to stop the pirates: the day after it was released in the UK, a pirated copy was to be found on the internet, SecuROM and price free.



Re: Gamers Vent Spore DRM Frustrations via Reviews

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Re: Gamers Vent Spore DRM Frustrations via Reviews

Well, apparently, Amazon didn't like the DRM bashing and, as of today, it says that there are no customer reviews of the game.

Re: Gamers Vent Spore DRM Frustrations via Reviews

The guy in that Amazon review who thinks Sony are collecting billions of terrabytes of information from everyone who has SecuROM installed (incidently most of you do already, it comes as standard DRM with most games released over the past 2 years) is insanely deluded.

Besides the manpower drain it would take to even analyse this information, I am assuming he thinks they stick it all in a big spreadsheet FFS?

And anyway why the hell does he think Sony would want an endless list of dat files listing all the pornsites gamers have visited since the last reformat of the drive coupled with a giant mass of registry entries from demo's, software and other odds and ends of the endless camount of crap thats been installed on your PC since the last format?

I'm no fan generally of DRM but the biggest issue here is the 3 authorization policy not SecuROM. This is EA's policy and one THEY have decided, on not Sony SecuROM.

And I'm fine with the policy itself what I am not fine about is NOT having an automated way to reclaim a previously used license. That is the only think that stinks about Spore in its current EULA.

Re: Gamers Vent Spore DRM Frustrations via Reviews

"And I'm fine with the policy itself what I am not fine about is NOT having an automated way to reclaim a previously used license. That is the only think that stinks about Spore in its current EULA."

Wherein it says EA can do whatever they want with the information (whatever it is, they neglect to explain) that they collect from every user who activates their game.  No opting out.

Re: Gamers Vent Spore DRM Frustrations via Reviews

Redux: You'd think EA would've learned...


Papa Midnight

Papa Midnight

Re: Gamers Vent Spore DRM Frustrations via Reviews

As much as I want to recommend people pirate this game, I think someone who had already bought it sue them for damaging DRM on it

Re: Gamers Vent Spore DRM Frustrations via Reviews

Spore: Galactic Edition, you sit on my game shelf taunting me.  When someone, either EA or some guy in a basement, I don't care who first, releases a SecuROM-free, multiplayer-enabled version, I will play you.  Oh EA.  I would love to play your game I have been worshipping for years but I want to control my own computer and principles more.  At least I can watch the National Geographic DVD without losing control of my computer; on second thought, I'd better only watch that on a standalone player, shouldn't I?

Re: Gamers Vent Spore DRM Frustrations via Reviews

Instead of complaining about the DRM/SecuROM and how it's messed up, and instead of saying "Oh I'm going to pirate all EA games!" how about filing a class-action lawsuit against EA? It could screw up EA, and you *might* benefit somewhere.  Then again, it may lead nowhere, but what's life without taking a few risks?

I say, do try a class-action lawsuit.  What could it hurt? It's better than complaining and admitting to piracy, and you COULD benefit in the end and EA could end up removing the SecuROM because a judge MADE them.

Seriously. Piracy won't get you anywhere. (Except for in jail if you're caught.) Complaining without taking action won't get you anywhere. Take action.

I just don't buy EA games. I usually just borrow them off of friends.  (What can I say?  I prefer to borrow them from friends before I decide to buy.)


Re: Gamers Vent Spore DRM Frustrations via Reviews

pssst borrowing software is considered piracy, similar to "borrowing" a music CD :p

thats why they want to limit the installs, to PREVENT this exact form of piracy :p

Re: Gamers Vent Spore DRM Frustrations via Reviews

You want to stop EA from using this kinda DRM then there is only 2 ways to really accomplish it.

1. Lawsuits over the damage the DRM causes and its virus like nature

2. Get more reviewers to start taking DRM into account when they review a game and give it a score.

You think if IGN, Gamespot, ect ect, started giving games abysmal scores to EA's games because of the DRM that EA wouldnt respond by changing it? I feel its a fair tactic too because frankly youre reviewing a product, and if that product limits your ability to use it, damages your system, or refuses to work if other common applications are present... well thats someting the reader should know and its something that should be taken into account when the final review score comes. Because that score is basicaly the review in compact form and serves as a recommondation to get the game or to pass.


Now is it likely that were going to see this happen? Sadly no. Sites like that trive off the money from advertisers and the pressure from up top to give better scores is going to be too great for many reviewers to get away with creating waves. The guys up top usualy wouldnt even care if the game formats your computer every 10 days, just so long as they get their green. Sad.

Re: Gamers Vent Spore DRM Frustrations via Reviews

Question- Has DRM ever, at any point in time, actually protected a game from being pirated?

Re: Gamers Vent Spore DRM Frustrations via Reviews

You know the answer to that as well as anyone here. No it has not. Even back in the days when bad floppy sectors or pop quizes were being used it only slowed it down for a few days/weeks and then it got pirated like everything else.
DRM does not and never has worked.

Re: Gamers Vent Spore DRM Frustrations via Reviews

actually CD keys did limit/restrict online access to pirates by the "no valid cd key = no MP" but it also damaged legit players (fewer than if there hadn't been any key) cause if a pirate generated the legit players key, it was hell to prove you owned the game and not the pirate, so you could get a new key (they wanted shit like a scan of the game disc, case, manual, and reciept... reciept?! that went into the trash right after i got home 2/3 of the time!)

the DRM's purpose supposedly is supposed to be to a deterrent to keep average joe from loaning the game to a friend and letting said friend "copy" it to his comp.

this DRM does do that, but so did a simple CD-Key.

the problem is now, its gotten carried away beyond belief, and restricts actual gamers from maintaining long term interest in their games.

like others above i still play my old games (like recently i've taken back to playing Quest for Glory and Tie Fighter, games from the 1995 and prior era of gaming) but with this freaked out DRM, this wouldn't be possible unless i had a pirated/illegal copy of my games. instead, a couple of years or so from now i'd be outta luck as support would be dead on the game, who knows if the activation servers would even be up anymore, let alone the download (for the DD versions. as apparently they even cut you off after 6 months if you didn't back up the files yourself, or didn't pay them for "insurance") whats a person to do when that happens? just shrug and consider it $50 bux or whatever was spent wasted on a rental service for a few months?

Re: Gamers Vent Spore DRM Frustrations via Reviews

Actually, in my opinion requiring a valid CD-key for online play is fine with me. I've been through the key-retrieval mill with the original half-life (had a pre-steam version, it did not play nice when my bro decided to reinstall it later, because it wanted steam after an update. Got rejected, then indeed had to send a scan of my disc, package (DVD-case, no box, this is the EU afteral) and receipt (which I always keep in the DVD-case))
Received a new key a couple of days later, worked a treat.
It's a bit of a hassle, but less dramatic than something like this borderline malware stuff EA is pulling now.
Infact, because of how agressive this thing is (installing unannounced, not removeable, doesn't uninstall when you remove the game, etc), that may actually make it illegal in the Netherlands, providing enough attention is drawn to it.

No software is allowed to install anything without your permission, and that tiny bit of hell in software form definately isn't wanted.

Re: Gamers Vent Spore DRM Frustrations via Reviews

oh i didn't mean any complaint of CD Keys really, i actually kinda preferred that one despite its minor and only minor drawbacks. i was just using it as an example of how the copy protection is meant as a deterrant, not to "prevent"

new DRM relying on online accounts, locked install numbers, and malware is just bad and i won't support it. This is why people pirate, and what causes it (as seen by those here who admit to preferance to the hassle free, malware free installs of an illegal copy of EA products now)

i LIKE steam, but i have the fear of what happens in 10 years? 15? when Steam dies what happens to my games?

its convenient NOW, but what about later? Unlike the copy of Tie Fighter i reinstalled, or the number of other old games i currently have installed (Duke 3D), i won't be able to just pop in a backup or original disc and go at it again.

the digital distribution of games i do enjoy (no cd swapping! woot!) but the required online registration with servers that may not exist later scares me some here as i KNOW for a fact EA and Ubisoft aren't the kind of companies that'll release a patch before they die that'll unlock their games.

i'm not to worried about that atm though as much as the issue i upgrade/rebuild my system every so often and usually dual boot, so limited installs damages me, as i can't just reinstall and go anymore. i lose everything, $50 or so bux down for a rental. a play once and trash it later game.

Re: Gamers Vent Spore DRM Frustrations via Reviews

I don't give two shits about the DRM thingy.

So you have only 3 installations. BIG FUCKING WOOP. These fucks are just over-reacting. Last time I checked, don't alot of non-game programs give you only 3 installations ANYWAY?

These.... dare I say...... NERDS are just pissed because they can't pirate and they just need to meet their "I HATE EA" quota for the week.

That's how I see it.

Re: Gamers Vent Spore DRM Frustrations via Reviews

Maybe if they didn't count hardware changes as installations.  i'm gonna buy a new mobo soon and a new gfx card when i earn enough money.  So i have basically used my installations up.  I might have to upgrade to vista.  that's another installation and I would have to go through their horrible customer service and spend a lot of time in it.

Re: Gamers Vent Spore DRM Frustrations via Reviews

3 installation limit on software already? News to me but then I don't really use commercial software...

I assume you're the type of person who doesn't like to go back and play a game from more than 1 or 2 years ago correct? If that's the case then I would suppose the 3-installation limit would be no big deal to you because in a year or two the game would find its place in your trash heap. However you seem to assume that's the way all gamers are... MOST gamers like to go back and play their old games. I've got games that date all the way back to the 80's that I still go back and play. I don't buy a game just to have it for a year or two. When I buy a game I'm investing in it for the LONGTERM. I anticipate playing it again at some point so installation limit is UNACCEPTABLE and I don't always expect the game company to exist forever (so the phone home crap needs to go).

But what do I know? I'm just an angry, overreacting nerd.

Re: Gamers Vent Spore DRM Frustrations via Reviews

Well Overreacting Nerd you forgot a couple of things. If you update your drivers, that uses up an install point. If you get a new graphics card, thats a new install point. Pretty much any time your computer auto updates a driver, your using up an install point, any questions?

Re: Gamers Vent Spore DRM Frustrations via Reviews

That makes things even worse and reinforces my argument.

Re: Gamers Vent Spore DRM Frustrations via Reviews

"These.... dare I say...... NERDS are just pissed because they can't pirate."

Considering how ANYONE CAN pirate spore at just about any torrent site or p2p hub, i don't think the inability to pirate is an issue for anyone... If you haven't heard the DRM has already failed in it's purpose to stop pirating

It's an issue of being limited to 3 installs, needing to go through hoops and hurdles to get more installs if you need them, and vicious malware that can cause trouble from some people... overall, pirates remained unstopped, and the actual paying customers get treated like criminals

Re: Gamers Vent Spore DRM Frustrations via Reviews

You know, if i'm missing something here just tell me. Without the "EA IS GAY FAGGOT EVIL" bullshit.

Re: Gamers Vent Spore DRM Frustrations via Reviews

Moar horror stories:


My upstairs roomate bought a Sims 2 Expansion pack 2 weeks ago. It SecuROM'd her computer and she had to uninstall the expansion. She's gone through 2 weeks of EA Customer Service hell, including my favorite part: They offered a cracked EXE file but the link to the download is invalid. lol. Of course the usual sites had a cracked copy of said expansion pack within a day. But, ya know whatever.


If/When I buy Spore, I'm not going to install it. Instead I will download a pirated copy. That way I'll have a legal but useless copy and an illegal but functioning copy. GG EA!

Re: Gamers Vent Spore DRM Frustrations via Reviews

she got it easy then :p

i had to argue back and forth with EA tech support for nearly 4 months to get them to admit there was a problem with my Crysis license.

and rather than fix it even, they just had me create a SECOND account for EA Downloader, and credited me a free copy of the game to that account...

so now i have TWO EA accounts, 1 with a few games in it and a broken copy of crysis, and the other with nothing BUT crysis on it.    and i have to swap back and forth to use the games set to each account...

Considering the dubious nature of SecuRom, why not sue them ?

Personally, I don't have any problems with Securom, because I don't copy games. Sony's DRM was much worse in that sense, and it took a lawsuit to stop using it. Why not use said lawsuit as a precedent against Securom if it really causes that much trouble ?

Re: Considering the dubious nature of SecuRom, why not sue them

 It doesn't affect your ability to copy games. It affects your ability to burn DVDs/CDs and plays havoc with antivirus. It is installed as part of the software but there is no notification whatsoever on the outer packaging other than mentioning that it doesn't work with all drives (which is true, securom  isn't compatible with all drives). If you do run into a problem (like firewall settings keep you from contacting the authentication servers) you're up shit creek without a paddle.

Re: Considering the dubious nature of SecuRom, why not sue them

Yeah, but that's my point: Securom, for all the crap it gets from other people, doesn't apparently do the things to my computer.

So, for as long as I have Securom on my computer (Pretty much with every game I play, including Steam) I do not have problems burning DVD's/CD's, I do not have problems with my Anti-virus, and I do not have firewall problems.

Then why is it such a problem elsewhere ? Am I the exception, or is this issue just overblown ?

Re: Considering the dubious nature of SecuRom, why not sue them

 If you play russian roulette with a gun that has 6 chambers and 1 bullet with 6 people, at least 5 of those people will walk away saying "I don't see what the problem is, the gun didn't kill me when I pulled the  trigger"

There are no two PCs exactly the same after a few months of use, what might be completely compatible with your particular setup may bring someone else's machine to their knees. In example, it might not stop Roxio from burning a CD on a Sony drive, but it might prevent Nero 8.0 (but not Nero 7.5 mind you) from burning a dvd on a lite-on drive.

That's why you want software which only does what it says on the side of the box.



Re: Considering the dubious nature of SecuRom, why not sue them

Securom Created by sonydadc ;)

Re: Gamers Vent Spore DRM Frustrations via Reviews

I installed the game on my laptop and main computer both work fine, it hasn't done anything.

Re: Gamers Vent Spore DRM Frustrations via Reviews

Quite frankly this is a complete disgrace,

1.  SecurRom is basically a bit of software that writes itself to the core elements of your pc/mac,  it can shut down legitimate programs Such as roxio,  it sends packets of information accross the internet to it's creaters etc etc etc.
Quite frankly im sure this is a violation of my rights as a legitimate consumer (not that i buy PC Games anymore but was definetly considering this game as a possible purchase)

2.  Limiting the number of activations is just totally anti-consumer.

Simple soloution in my eyes is to have a CD Key attached to an activation account so unlimited installs should be allowed against this activation account but only 1-3 users are allowed to be assigned to this activation account.

Allow some free content to be downloaded on these activation accounts to entice people to have legitimate copies.

All in all this seems to be a money making exercise first and foremost and i believe is totally unjustified from EA.
Could we have a comment from the ECA regarding this.

This may be wrong but i believe in your ECA Adverts Will Wright is a member.  If i am right about this would seem like a conflict of interests as his company have basically green lighted draconian anti-consumer measures on   his creation.

Re: Gamers Vent Spore DRM Frustrations via Reviews

There is a lot of information and opinions here. What I feel has already been said.

Right now DRM serves no purpose. If someone wants to download the game illegally, then the DRM does absolutely nothing to stop them. If someone wants to borrow the disc from a friend, it will take him about 15 seconds to find the crack to let him play it.

If DRM doesn't deter pirates, who does it deter? Legitimate customers only. The only people being hurt by DRM is those that buy the game. Is this the way it is supposed to be? Is this what they want? Are the masses looking at the pirates and saying, "It's because of you that the game is like this?" No, they are looking at the pirates and saying "They don't seem to be having this problem..."

Personally, I'm not into Spore. I really couldn't care less about it. But the problem of DRM has caused me to seek out cracks for games I've purchased. In the end, the solution with the best customer service wins. If the worst customer service coincides with the highest prices, then what chance do they have. What ever happened to pirated games being buggy, prone to crashing, and may contain malware? I've actually gotten cracks that improved stability, added support for higher resolutions, unlocked extra levels in the game, added options like invincability or unlimmited ammo. Now off the shelf games are buggy, prone to crashing and full of malware, and the pirates are releasing the better quality games.

I'm not condoning anything, only observing and stating the obvious. For me, the best corse of action had been purchaing the game and cracking it.

Quick question

The only reason they can use the DRM is because it because in the end user license agreement you agree to it, so how is it legal for them to keep files on your system that are unremovable such as this DRM once you terminate your agreement with EA (through the methods listed that terminate the license in the EULA) and thus no longer have any agreement with the company.  Also with the termination clause it says that one can terminate the agreement at any time by destroying the software, however if some software remains on your system, how do you fully do this?

Re: Gamers Vent Spore DRM Frustrations via Reviews

For a moment, I was intending to get Spore myself. I was stopped by the Mac requirements: Leopard and up (I'm running Tiger). Now I'm not even going to. I'm not sure how this SecureROM crap affects the Mac OS, but I'm sure as hell not crazy about finding out. At around $2000, his thing ain't cheap!

Now I'm going to hold onto my money and pray 3D Realms quits screwing around and gets Duke Nukem Forever on the market by Christmas next year. Speaking of which, is there any word yet on how far along it is other than "when it's done"? I haven't heard anything about it since June (heard plenty about Duke Nukem 3D coming to XBLA, though), and I'm sure a lot of Nukem fans would like to know when they can get their hands on it after 12 years.

Re: Gamers Vent Spore DRM Frustrations via Reviews

A lot of you are pissed, as well as you should be.  This was known about for at least 6 months though... if not a year...

This has highly encouraged pircy, and a site I know of that normally only gets 500 downloads of a game like sims 2 after 3 months.  Spore is at 1,500 today...  This shows that if anything, this encourages more people to pirate than the opposite.  People do not like their stuff being messed with, and I do not blame them one bit.

I am not encouraging stealing the game, most of you that will already have, and most of you that have not already wont.  I just suggest buying this game used since it sounds like there are a lot of people that will be returning their game due to not liking the game as much as they hoped, and what is said above.  There are applications to remove SuckROM, and though it is against the user agreement, I don't see a problem with it as a gamer, as a developer, or as a company owner.  It should have never been installed, and if anything, it has hurt them more.

@Werrick - This was EA's choice, not anyone on the developement team, I would go further into that story, but I don't want to get anyone in trouble.

Re: Gamers Vent Spore DRM Frustrations via Reviews

I haven't been this disappointed in a game developer since Jack Emmert.

I always thought Wright was a good guy who was not only a gamer himself, but also acknowledged some of the more pressing issues that we faced. I resent the hell out of this DRM thing and while I'm sure EA is the big bad guy in this issue, Wright has more than enough pull to have fought this for his gamers.

Goddammit, Will... you really let me down.

Re: Gamers Vent Spore DRM Frustrations via Reviews

I was lucky, my boss bought a copy (and was smart enough to not register it yet), an dlet me play it last night. I started at 4:30PM my local time.. and totally spaced out until about 6:00 AM. The game is very addictive, and while a majority of it is played at the space stage, nurturing your little creations from the single-cell level gives you a bigger feeling of responsibility, plus seeing it's history is aweomse.


I really wish EA didn't screw this one over, innovation in SPORE is here as promised despite a few naysayers. It runs VERY well even on low-end machines for the complexity it has. Simply put: The DRM is the only reason it would fail.

---- There is a limit for both politicians against video games, and video games against politicians.

Re: Gamers Vent Spore DRM Frustrations via Reviews

I bought the game on day one and am loving it. I had no idea that it coudl potentially damage my system...

That said, Daemon tools works fine, and I haven't had any issues with secuROM itself, but 3 installs and then I have to fucking call up their stupid hotline?

Im going to downloaded the game and seed it for everyone else. Like a virtual cockslap.


Screw you EA.

Re: Gamers Vent Spore DRM Frustrations via Reviews

I hate EA for doing this.  Now I am torn between a game I *really* want and not wanting to install this malware :'(

-- mostly harmless

mostly harmless

Re: Gamers Vent Spore DRM Frustrations via Reviews

You could buy the game and then install the pirated version.

Re: Gamers Vent Spore DRM Frustrations via Reviews

I have always been "google"-ing for Spore stuff way back when it first came for review. Will this game be better than "Black & White"? As far as the reviews and previews are concerned, Spore is a great Me-as-God game. But then, the Amazon reviews came and the field is not anymore on how the game's graphics, interactivity, explorability or playability is concerned. It is now, do I really own it? Paying $50 and not "really" owning it is pure crap. EA should know better. If you bought it you owned it. No further restrictions necessary.

Re: Gamers Vent Spore DRM Frustrations via Reviews

Technially, no one "owns" the software they buy.  They own a license to use it.  Ever since the old days.  The only difference is that pre-SecureROM, you didn't have someone looming over your shoulder, breathing down your neck when you used that license.

Re: Gamers Vent Spore DRM Frustrations via Reviews

Spore was a must buy for me (along with the PC version of Mass Effect) until they added this totally insane install limit.  Words cannot begin to express the sheer amount of hate I have towards "Satanic Art's" right now.


Re: Gamers Vent Spore DRM Frustrations via Reviews

 This is why god gave us P2P networks.

Re: Gamers Vent Spore DRM Frustrations via Reviews

You people are insane.

Re: Gamers Vent Spore DRM Frustrations via Reviews

Anyone else reminded of that author who trashed games on Fox news and people spammed her reviews on Amazon?

Oh well it seems much more appropriate here then in that instance.

---------------------------------------------------- Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it's over they have the same positions they started in.

Re: Gamers Vent Spore DRM Frustrations via Reviews

Yeah, that was pretty juvenille, but this time around it's very appropriate, as it really is a matter of product quality.


-Remember kids, personal responsibility is for losers! For information on games and psychology, look up: Jonathan Freedman(2002)Block & Crain(2007) Just to name a few...

Reality/////////////////////////////////////Fantasy. Seems like a pretty thick line to me...

Re: Gamers Vent Spore DRM Frustrations via Reviews

well guess i wont get red alert 3 too bad i wanted to try that game out never played the games before guess i have to stick with companys who make great pc games. I guess i have to buy EA games on consoles.

Re: Gamers Vent Spore DRM Frustrations via Reviews

 I hope the Mac OS X version doesn't have this crap.

Re: Gamers Vent Spore DRM Frustrations via Reviews

Yes it does.  Transgaming ported SecureROM to OSX.

I'd avoid anything by ported in this manner (anything using Cider) until the effects of the OSX version are known.  It's already claimed that it modifies system files.. and that can't be healthy.


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