EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

September 21, 2008 -

Electronic Arts has issued an apology to customers over the controversial DRM in Will Wright's long-awaited Spore.

As reported by the Los Angeles Times, EA is also relaxing Spore's extra-tight copy controls. EA exec Frank Gibeau said:

We've received complaints from a lot of customers who we recognize and respect. We need to adapt our policy to accommodate our legitimate consumers...


We assumed that consumers understand piracy is a huge problem. We have found that 75% of our consumers install and play any particular game on only one machine, and less than 1% ever try to play on more than three different machines.

As part of its reversal of course on Spore DRM, EA is boosting the install limit to five computers. Commenting on EA's decision, IDC analyst Billy Pidgeon told the Times:

The key to making copyright restrictions work is to offer value. In the end, this will blow over because Spore is a fun game, and people will want to try it.


Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

The problem is that 5 is no better than 3 in principle. The problem is that in a couple of years, you'll have upgraded a bunhc of computer parts that cause the game to see multiple machines that count agaisnt you. Or you've gone and gotten a new computer a couple of times. Or maybe EA will just shut down it's servers. I know EA is a huge company, but we're taking a gamble that they will remain stable for as long as we want to play the game.

This may look a little better. But the problem wasn't the number of installs we were limited to. The problem is that the limit exists and is dependant on an outside source to validate our ability to play a game that we purchased. I've been playing a coupel fo games for a long time. UT has made it through 15 installs or more. Jedi Knight has gone through 5 or 6. Civilization III has been in an out 5 or 6 times. These are games I love and will continue to reinstall every time I rebuild my machine. I may not be your average user, but when I purchase a game, I deserve the right to do that.

That's why this 'apology' doesn't make it all better. 5 isn't any better than 3. I don't rent my games. I buy them. I was planning on buying this one. If only EA hadn't come up with this protection scheme. My money is thus saved for the next game in a solid Fall lineup.

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

My money's for Duke Nukem Forever. I know 3DRealms isn't going to put SecureROM crap on it; they know what's good for the gamer, they know better than that!

The only copyright protection any game needs is a CD key code printed on the inside of the case, right under the game disc. No install limits, no extra software, no muss, no fuss. Just the game, the code, and whatever other goodies the developers decided to toss into the mix.

Happy gamer, though, is not included.

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

Well, they have to get Duke Nukem Forever out first, but honestly, I don't ever see that happening, but yeah, DRM is totally unnessacary, people are going to find ways to get around it, no matter what.

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

They're talking like it's late development, and Jace Hall's actually played (and aired footage of) a prototype version of it. It's real, and if it ain't done yet it's getting pretty close. I'm wagering it'll be on shelves by Christmas '09.

And the only thing DRM does is take the media everyone wants and guarantees that everyone who wants it won't buy it.

If EA honestly believes piracy is being curbed by DRM, they need a serious wake-up call. Like, "class-action lawsuit for violating consumer rights" kind of wake-up call.

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

Yeah, and footage was also shown somewhere aroudn 6 years ago of the game as well.  But then again, prey was vaporware for a long while as well, so I think DNF will come out eventually.

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

Yep, but as Yahtzee Croshaw put it, if it isn't a modern work of art and the cure for at least one major disease then every reviewer world-wide will cut the developers bollocks off and feed them to them.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

That's no apology, and changing from 3 to 5 installs is no change. It's still the same DRM shit.


I'm still not buying.

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

it's a start, but as long as they keep delivering Malware (because that is exactly what this type of SecuROM is) then I'll refuse to buy it.

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

If nothing else, at least EA were willing to admit they were a bit too harsh. still, its not too much of a change, but hey its a start.

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

That's no apology, it's 2 extra links on the choke chain.

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

Hang on everyone, just one second.

So someone can illegally have the game, and install it as many times as they want.  Or they are limited to 5 downloads now if they own the game.  I didn't make the full connection until now, I'm stupid okay...  So limited downloads have what points in this when people can illegally download it no matter what?

So they are not jsut a bit too harsh, they are illogically harsh.  I guess what someone posted before about people sharing games with their friends would be right...  So they are not really trying to stop the pre-release type pirates, they are trying to stop the local joe who shares their games with their friends pirates.  So there is absolutely no use in all of this crap at all, because it is far beyond too late.

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

When you buy the game, you can install it 5 times. that's it. If you need more activations, you hafta call EA's dreadfully inept customer service, and ask them for an additonal actication. This is handled on a case by case basis, so there's a very real chance that they won't issue you an activation for your legally bought game. On top of this, secuROM installs itself in such a way that it has administrator privlages on your system, meaning, it can do whatever the hell it wants, and you can't stop it....unless you know how to get rid of it, completely.

When a pirate downloads the game from a torrent site or whatever, this version has been stripped of the DRM, so they can re-install it as many times as they want, without hassle, and also will never hafta worry about secuROM interfering with his system's functionality.

This isn't about sharing with friends....this a thinly veiled offensive against the second hand market. That's their true motivation....all this talk of combating piracy, is nothing more than smoke and mirrors, because as we've seen, EA games "protected" by secuROM have been available for torrent download well in advance of their official release dates.

They're not trying to stop piracy, because they know they can't...at this point, they just wanna cripple the second hand market (gamestop, EBGames, Ebay, Amazon), so they can slurp as much money out of the public as possible...

This whole "we're gonna up it to five" thing is bullshit....if i legally buy a game, i should be able to re-install it to my own computer as many times as i want, and i should be able to install it the first time, without wondering if secuROM is going to cripple or disable any of my hardware or software.

Head over to the EA forums, in the red alert 3 section, there's a stickied thread about the DRM in RA3....it's like 50-something pages strong...so many people saying they're gonna cancel their pre-order, and people pledging not to buy the game.....EA's flushing money down the toilet, and blaming everyone but themselves....what idiots..

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

Wow...  Okay... I said I was never going to underestimate their greed, but damn...  That is insane...  I never thought of that end of things, but you are right...

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

Oh yeah! Now we get to install 5 TIMES! That makes everything all better (sic). Thanks EA! Seriously, we still have EA's spyware, no DVD-R/CD-R writing, no easy uninstall, etc. When EA says, "We realize that SecuROM was a bad idea. We're removing it completly," then I'll accept their appology. Until then, I'm still sailing with the pirates.

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

Wow, how principled you are.

Give me a break. If you were really taking a stand you just wouldn't play the game at all. You don't get to be morally self-righteous unless you're actually giving up something.

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

The torrent download shows a solid number of lost sales past the statistical average torrent download, that is the logic behind that.  You can compair those numbers, you can not compair number of sales that just didnt happen, because people could just not be interested in the first place, or have other excuses.

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

try harder. the # of people torrenting the game does NOT in any way show what EA is 'losing' due to piracy. many people will torrent a game to try it and then they go out and buy it after giving it a good run to see what they think. quite frankly i think thats a great idea considering EA's track record for putting out garbage games in the last few years.


most piracy comes down to one thing: people are sick of paying for crap. sure theres always the thieves, but put out a game worth buying and it will sell regardless. those thieves will find another way to get what they want.

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

Agreed, anyone that backs down because of getting 5 installs, still no way to unregister that install, still has spyware on your computer with no easy way to remove it, and just an apology is NOT enough.  You know these guys don't care, they just want the money.  If they cared, they never would have put SecuROM on any of their games, would have kept the original install method, and just made better games and incentives for people to buy the game instead so they could get other FREE stuff that is actually worth something down the road.

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

"You know these guys don't care, they just want the money."

In other news, scientists have determined that the large bodies of water covering most of the planet contain alarming quantities of SALT that make them unsuitable for immediate consumption. More breaking news at 11.

Are you for real? Of course they just want the money. Otherwise they wouldn't be in business in the first place. Why should they care about anything besides how much cash they can milk out of gamers? These aren't artists or charity workers, they're businessmen and merchants.

That said, they're only going to back off of DRM when it becomes clear that it's costing them more than it's saving them. That's it. Unfortunately, it's hard to judge how many customers you DON'T have. After all, software pirates have been saying for years that a pirated game doesn't equal a lost sale (which has always been a sketchy argument), so who knows? Maybe kids handing out install disks to all their friends IS a huge problem, though with five installs, you can still give away a legit copy to your buddies if you're not worried about re-installing it.

I personally abhor piracy, and would much rather not play a game at all than steal it, but it's easy to see the appeal with these protection programs that border on electronic oppression. Piracy is a difficult and debilitating issue, and I would love to see all the cheap A-holes that partake in it stamped out or denied. But obviously, harsh product protection isn't helping, and companies need to know that.

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

How about how I run my company, make the best product for the consumer possible for the love of making the product, and though money matters, not more than integrity of the company, which results in more money anyways.

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

I have no idea what your company is, so I can hardly judge whether your statement is remotely applicable.

So long as pirates are able to offer a complete copy of your product, and are willing to distribute them free of charge, there will be a large segment of consumers that will happily take something for nothing, no matter how great your product is. "Love for making the product," as you put it, is not part of the equation.

The logical counter to piracy is to make content that is somehow only available to those that have accessed the game through legal channels. However, I have no idea how possible that is. It's well-understood, though, that software protection like DRM does not accomplish this. AT ALL.

Of course, the other logical counter is to track down pirates and sue them out of house and home, which I personally support, but that's time-consuming and generates bad press.

Truly, if the answer was so simple as running a company with integrity and loving your product, then we wouldn't be having this conversation. Unfortunately, consumers aren't any more respectful and scrupulous than businessmen (nor any less greedy. Getting a game for free is an expression of greed as well, you know).

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

 Yeah, and maybe your house will burn down and you'll be on the street; one can only hope.

It's funny you see nothing wrong with ruining people's lives over some software.  It's funny you cannot recognise the difference between piracy and theft.  It's funny stealing a cd from a store gets you banned from the store and maybe a $100-200 fine while online sharing gets your house and savings taken away and your paycheck garnished for the greedy SOBs running the companies that oh so need that extra money.  Self rightous asshole.

Fact of the matter is, a download does not equal a lost sale, period.  Software is nothing like hardware, period.  Software doesn't cost anything to distribute and replicate, period.  Corporate CEOs don't have a right to your money because they aren't making pure profit anymore.....period.

EA is last on the list for making quality games, they are however first on the list for churning out crap year after year and charging full price for it while dropping support the next.  Companies come and go, if they cannot adapt to the times beyond sueing individuals rather than re-evaluating their business models then they will go the way of the dodo.


Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

If you took the government's handholding of the outdated copywrite laws out of the equation and treated piracy as a marketplace reality rather than something to fight (like war on drugs, war on crime, etc) and simply looked at ways to make your product superior to the product that piracy can offer, you will do well.

Spore's most compelling feature is the interaction with EA's servers and realtime automated content downloading and uploading. Spore doesn't need any DRM, spore itself is the solution to piracy.

If spore was DRM free, anyone pirating it probably wouldn't have bought it, because they're missing a large part of the experience. As it stands many refused to buy it because we don't want borderline spyware on our systems.

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

did you really just sic yourself?  I don't think you can do that

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM


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