EA Downplays Spore DRM and Pirated Download Count
Popular video game publishing company Electronic Arts (also known as EA) released a video game not long ago on the PC platform called Spore. First, they released a “teaser” demo called Spore Creature Creator, which let you play around with creating your own creature out of miscellaneous parts. You could change the colors, length, width, and positioning of parts on the creature you created. This alone was a pretty amusing part of the game. Spore promised an even bigger, more emersive world when the full version would be released.
Spore is a game where, much like the demo, you create your own species of creature. You start out in a gene pool, swimming around and eating things to collect DNA. Once you’ve reached a certain level of DNA, you get to “evolve” more parts, attacks, or special moves. Get advanced enough, and eventually you’ll have legs and can walk right out of the water and onto dry land. Make friends or enemies with neighboring species and live peacefully or dominate. Again, you collect DNA points for making allies or killing them.
You eventually evolve to the point of sentience and can form packs, then tribes, and then eventually you’ll gain the technology to travel to other people’s worlds. Online play allows you to interact with other player’s species they’ve created, but not with the actual player. Play in your experience does not affect the experience of others. You simply have the option of letting others’ creations populate part of your world.
SecuROM is the DRM (Digital Rights Management) technology built-in to Spore (at least the Windows copy) and is meant to prevent piracy, according to EA. Spore has set record-breaking download numbers on BitTorrent and other Peer-to-Peer networks, and remains in the top 20 downloads on The Pirate Bay (a famous BitTorrent web site).
According to TorrentFreak, EA has downplayed the SecuROM program that installs secretly in the background on Windows machines. A class-action lawsuit is being brought against the company for the DRM software that cripples the game even for people who legitimately purchase a copy of the game. A representative from EA claims the downloads do not count as full successful copies of the game or a loss of sales, because pirated copies obviously are always full of viruses and buggy code. TorrentFreak mentions that in calculating some 500,000 copies of the game, they were only counting the virus-free and known to work copies available through just a few torrents. That means the count is understated, if anything.
If you want to take any frustrations you may have with Electronic Arts, DRM, and SecuROM one step further, there’s a campaign to refuse to buy EA games until they remove DRM and SecuROM from their software. Check it out at http://www.thepoint.com/campaigns/ea-games-without-drm-and-secu-rom
Figure each game costs $50, and if 500 people sign on, that would be $25,000 in lost revenue. For its loyal customer base, secretly adding DRM and SecuROM in their install is just not the way to treat us.
The three issues are that DRM and SecuRom are being installed without the user realizing it; DRM limits the number of computers you can install it on; and SecuROM has been affecting some people’s computers to the point that they needed to re-format their hard drive and uninstall the game to get their computer returning to normal.
And it takes just a minute to sign up.