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Will DRM Exterminate Spore?

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the please-don't-make-me-insert-a-cd dept.

PC Games (Games) 881

AC Dude writes "Will an anti-DRM flash mob that's determined to give EA's latest sim game Spore a rock bottom rating on Amazon.com sink the game, or will Spore evolve and shed the DRM? Is this the beginning of the end for DRM-laden games? 'Over the past few years we've focused a lot on the music industry and how it has attempted to use DRM to control distribution. While DRM in this market segment has been unpopular, anti-DRM campaigns have largely fallen flat when it comes to attracting widespread public attention because of the fragmented nature of music. Games are a much easier target given the monolithic nature of their release — campaigners only need to spread the word on a handful of specific online outlets to reach a wide audience. A quick read through the Amazon reviews of Spore seems to suggest that the negative comments are already putting people off from buying the game.'"

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881 comments

http://thepiratebay.org/search/Spore/0/99/0 (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24921021)

Re:http://thepiratebay.org/search/Spore/0/99/0 (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24921223)

Damn you! DRM stopped me getting a p1st fr0st here, I had to stop and enter my Slashdot authentication key due to a change in Web browser.

Can't you lot see what damage DRM is doing to the Slashdot community? Without snarky off-topic first posts this site is doomed!

Re:http://thepiratebay.org/search/Spore/0/99/0 (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24921261)

If you don't believe in your cause enough to actually boycott the product, then you don't deserve to see your cause prevail.

Also, I believe it is counter productive. If you pirate the game, they will know people want the game enough to jump through hoops for it. EA will just try to make piracy more difficult than buying the product. You may be saying "Great, they will take out the DRM and the game will be easier to buy than pirate!" but you're wrong. They will litigate. Think of the RIAA and where they went when music piracy got too out of hand for them. Do you want to create another monster?

If you can prove that you can go without the product if they don't make it in a form you like, then they will be much more likely to remove DRM, because its the only enemy left.

Re:http://thepiratebay.org/search/Spore/0/99/0 (3, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921287)

How the heck is EA gonna know whether he runs it or not?

Re:http://thepiratebay.org/search/Spore/0/99/0 (3, Interesting)

east coast (590680) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921375)

You don't think that interested parties keep track of what's going on at the torrent sites? Granted, they may or may not be able to come up with a real number but if they can show their buddies in congress that it's one of the most active torrents going for any significant period of time they can easily make the case that "we would have had sales if they didn't have downloads."

I know someone is going to yammer on about how "people would have never have bought it, yadda yadda yadda" and that not everyone who downloaded it would have bought it, and this may very well be true but at least some of the torrent base was potential customers. The logic of "teh d0wnlo^d != l0st sales!!!onehundredeleven!!" doesn't go over well in the real world.

Re:http://thepiratebay.org/search/Spore/0/99/0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24921305)

Rest assured that I can live without playing spore, DRM or no DRM.

Re:http://thepiratebay.org/search/Spore/0/99/0 (5, Insightful)

cliffski (65094) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921361)

Excellent point. This is a very silly way to 'protest' about DRM. The best way to get companies to stop using DRM is to reason with them, contact them, and let them know how you feel. I can tell you 100% that no matter how many people would pirate my games, it wouldn't convince me to abandon DRM. What convinced me to do it was actually reading through what the people had to say when they emailed me on the topic.

All rating the game badly will do is make amazon's ratings look unusable, piss off everyone who worked on the game (many of which oppose DRM no doubt), and reinforce the mentality that those who oppose DRM are doing so for childish reasons. Well-thought out, considered and intelligent emails to the publishers and developers will achieve a hundred times more, as will boycotting the game (both legal and illegal copies) and only purchasing DRM-free games.

It might. (5, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921035)

I really want this game but I will wait until a patch is available that turns off the DRM.
Some would call it a crack but if I buy the game then I say it is a patch.
A piece of code that improves the program is too my mind a patch.

I have have had more problems using DRM software that I have paid for than I would ever have hunting down pirated copies.

Companies have got to learn to stop treating paying customers and criminals.

Re:It might. (5, Interesting)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921089)

Reminds me of Supreme Commander, they had 'securerom' with the original DVDs, but once installed it downloaded the usual patches, one of which disabled it. So, authenticate once and then you never have to worry about playing with the media in the drive.

I think its the best compromise we're likely to get.

Re:It might. (5, Informative)

Subliminalbits (998434) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921221)

Supreme Commander was a case where the developers were forced to ship games with Securerom, but they had no requirements placed upon them about removing it via a patch. Since that was the case, they abided by the letter of the law and then immediately stripped it off.

Re:It might. (2, Informative)

Fweeky (41046) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921433)

The patches took a few months, it's not like they patched SecuROM out on the day of release. I would hope most publishers would be happy with that, though given it's relative rarity, I guess not.

And their next RTS, Demigod [demigodthegame.com], will be published by Stardock, released via Impulse and have no DRM to speak of.

Re:It might. (1)

Subliminalbits (998434) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921595)

I can't vouch for the original game, but I got the expansion within two weeks of the release and there was already a no SecuROM patch. It certainly wasn't a few months. I can't speak for the original though, so you might be right there.

Re:It might. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24921485)

No doubt you know of what you speak, but just out of curiousity, what "law" or powerful people "forced" the developers to ship games with Securerom?

Re:It might. (1, Troll)

mxs (42717) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921515)

Supreme Commander was a case where the developers were forced to ship games with Securerom, but they had no requirements placed upon them about removing it via a patch. Since that was the case, they abided by the letter of the law and then immediately stripped it off.

That's a nice PR spin you have there.

There is no such law.

The developers were not forced to ship the game with SecuROM. Developers are free to agree or not agree to what a publisher wants.

Re:It might. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24921591)

Unless they signed a contract with the publisher that said they would ship the game with SecuROM.

Re:It might. (1, Insightful)

Rachman (1358849) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921097)

"I really want this game"

Why? It's not fun. It's basically a tech demo pretending to be a game.

Re:It might. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24921329)

Agreed. It's 5 minigames with the same goal stitched together. It's horribly boring. It plays like as tripped down Sims. You get little to no reward for anything.

Re:It might. (1)

johannesg (664142) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921369)

Let me start by saying that if others enjoy this game, great for them! But I agree with you: I completely fail to understand what the attraction is.

Glad to see there are others like me. Maybe we could set up a support group or something ;-)

Re:It might. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24921397)

http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2008/2/15/

Re:It might. (2, Interesting)

dtml-try MyNick (453562) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921593)

Tell that to my gf who absolutely loves the game.
She was planning to buy the game, solely based on her experience with the earlier released creature editor.

As soon as I heard about the draconian DRM with the three activations limit I stopped her from throwing away her money.

Three activations would in our case mean she uses them in one blow. One for her comp at her place, one for the lappy she lugs arround and one for her comp at my place.

Sorry Will Wright, usenet did it's job once again. And this time I don't feel quilty one bit.

Re:It might. (1)

Thruen (753567) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921119)

Isn't the game already cracked? I haven't checked for myself, I can't run it on my G5 anyway, but I've heard from several people that it was cracked shortly after that early release incident. Can't play it online, but I'm sure someone will find a workaround or create a private server for that eventually.

Re:It might. (1)

Hertzyscowicz (1106209) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921153)

Agreed. Who wants to bet that the patch in question will be fanmade, and relased before the official patch with the same effect?

Re:It might. (1)

MarcoAtWork (28889) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921167)

'but I will wait until a patch is available that turns off the DRM.'

if it's a patch it means you have already installed the original with its DRM: ideally you could use the patch to install from the original DVD without having to install the original DRM'd executable, odds of this happening? not very high.

Re:It might. (4, Insightful)

McBeer (714119) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921253)

As with most things, a crack to remove the DRM has been out since day one. Enjoy.

Re:It might. (3, Interesting)

caramelcarrot (778148) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921341)

I'm waiting until either the game comes out on Steam (the only DRM I'll tolerate, since it actually ASSISTS with roaming and such) or the DRM is removed. Bullshit, I'm not going to waste however much on a game that will only be reinstalled three times - especially given how it's marketed as a sandbox that you're likely to keep returning to.

Re:It might. (5, Insightful)

Cheesey (70139) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921565)

Some Steam games have both the Steam DRM and something else. Bioshock, for example, came with SecuROM regardless of whether you got it from Steam or a physical shop. (This is why the demo didn't work on my PC, and this is why I didn't buy it.)

Like the DRM used in games consoles, the Steam DRM is tolerable because it works properly, and the rules that it imposes are consistent across nearly all of the games (Bioshock being an exception). We do not see this "flash mob" rating all the XBox games as 1: why not? Because the DRM in that case doesn't get in the way.

Many of the problems with DRM can be solved by standardisation, but the standard must not only involve a single DRM platform for all software, but also a single online service for authentication. This would be a trusted third party - like a bank. It would assure us that purchases will continue to function after the publisher goes out of business. Steam does both of these things quite well, although we are all assuming that Valve won't go bankrupt and sell its IP to a company with less of a clue.

Hey (5, Informative)

PunkOfLinux (870955) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921043)

I agree. DRM on games sucks. Thanks to DRM on games, it's nearly impossible to play certain games on Linux with Wine, because things like SecuROM don't like Wine. Pretty worthless 'rights management' if it prevents a legitimate customer from using it.

Re:Hey (5, Funny)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921163)

Pretty worthless 'rights management' if it prevents a legitimate customer from using it.

Many of us define DRM more accurately as "digital restrictions management".

Re:Hey (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24921339)

Technically, you probably have no right to play the game on WINE. What's the license say about reverse engineered systems? So in this case, DRM is doing what it's supposed to. (Though granted, it's a lame restriction and it sucks.)

Re:Hey (3, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921427)

Technically, you probably have no right to play the game on WINE.

Strangely enough, I don't see that contract clause on the outside of the box so that I can give informed consent.

Re:Hey (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24921353)

>Pretty worthless 'rights management' if it prevents a legitimate customer from using it.

I doubt that Wine under Linux is listed as a supported configuration.

Re:Hey (0)

PunkOfLinux (870955) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921449)

But if it doesn't work due to an artificial restriction, such as the shit implementation of SecuROM, then that prevents a legitimate user from using it on a legitimate system. If it was something real, such as, say, it making a system call (not SecuROM related) that wine can't handle, I'm fine with that.

Re:Hey (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24921415)

Thanks to DRM on games, it's nearly impossible to play certain games on Linux with Wine...

That's because only assholes, hackers, and terrorists play games on Linux.

Re:Hey (4, Insightful)

bluemonq (812827) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921581)

No, no, no; you've got it all wrong. It's not your rights that are being managed; it's the company's.

No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24921053)

The fact that the game is shallow like... I DON'T KNOW BECAUSE NOTHING CAN BE AS SHALLOW AS THIS! will destroy it.

Most "unfun" game ever.

PS: Incoming EA "PIRACY DROVE OUR SALES DOWN" talk.

I hadn't heard about SecuROM (4, Interesting)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921057)

and I'm a geek, a gamer (though mostly console) and a slashdot reader. The general public are screwed!

Spore is ace, and frankly if it wants to shaft my vista installation it's welcome to it. It's the only thing I use vista for.

Re:I hadn't heard about SecuROM (3, Informative)

Reapman (740286) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921177)

My understanding however is it actually limits the number of installs your allowed to do. EVER. I can't play it since i'll be outa the country for a bit, but when I do I'll be picking up the game and installing whatever crack is necessary so I never have to worry about this DRM.

Re:I hadn't heard about SecuROM (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921489)

As I say, I didn't know until I'd already parted with the money....

That Is a bad thing and I would have thought twice about that. I shall definitely find a crack for archival purposes, in case I want to reinstall/play in years to come.

Also - FLAMEBAIT??!?!? What?

Mods on crack? (0)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921525)

Would someone explain to me why my previous post should be considered flamebait?

it#s not that I'm sore, I'm kinda mystified.

Mind Numbing Dullness Killed Spore (0, Redundant)

Rachman (1358849) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921063)

It's like a grad school tech demo with a giant marketing hype campaign bolted on.

Re:Mind Numbing Dullness Killed Spore (2, Informative)

FinchWorld (845331) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921385)

Its certainly entertaining, but then after you play space age for about an hour it gets old. However the cell stage, with more body parts, and more evolution stages, would make a fantasticly fun mini game.

The idiots (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24921067)

The server side community is an integral part of the game. What do they need DRM for? Are they so used to annoying their customers that they just added the DRM out of habit?

Re:The idiots (5, Insightful)

thermian (1267986) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921257)

The server side community is an integral part of the game. What do they need DRM for? Are they so used to annoying their customers that they just added the DRM out of habit?

Because they are too big as a company for people with a clue to make policy decisions. The DRM choice will have been made by upper management who weren't really understanding the impact it will have.

After all, they still think DRM is a good thing.

The DRM has made me certain I will not be buying this game. Its no loss anyway, there are plenty of games out there, and if the concept is good, someone else will do something similar soon enough.

Re:The idiots (1)

pilgrim23 (716938) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921579)

what about games that never use the internet, are stand alone puzzle games but require a internet conenction FOR NO OTHER REASON then to activate the DRM? TellTale Games: Sam and Max series fits this model. Download the game, thne yoru internet conenction must be up to play it. I Downlaoded it via a mac then transfered it to my young son's machine (which has NO "Net" connection and it refused to play. As the company also releases the game on a CD I did not bother with the episodes but just waited till the CD came out. Dumb DRM in my opinion.

Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24921081)

I won't have to read any comments on Amazon to know whether or not to buy the game but that's because I've already read about it elsewhere. Had I not I would be grateful to everyone writing about it. I was planning on buying Spore but changed my mind after hearing about the DRM.

What about my legal rights? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24921085)

Yes.

DRM does not make sense for a medium that is about freedom of expression and creativity; What about my rights as the spore creature creator?

Been bitten (2, Interesting)

aztektum (170569) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921099)

I was bit by BioShock's DRM (didn't realize the extent of it until after my purchase.).

Whenever a game is coming out that I'm interested in, if it's laden with such anti-consumer machinations, I intend to e-mail the publisher explaining that I would rather pirate it than pay them money thanks to their greed.

Re:Been bitten (5, Insightful)

domatic (1128127) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921249)

Your emails would have more force if you explained you'd never buy it or even better will spend money with their competitors rather than pay them money. When you threaten to pirate, that is the only thing they are going to see or consider. Tagging yourself a pirate means you weren't apt to be a customer in their eyes anyway. You are also threatening to combat a wrong with wrong. The corporation may be faceless but a human probably reads your mail at some point and such a statement isn't morally impressive.

Re:Been bitten (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24921493)

Morality has nothing to do with business. Business operates purely on the principle of accumulating profit. Any argument which threatens that profit will pique the interest of the company in question.

Re:Been bitten (1)

thermian (1267986) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921327)

I intend to e-mail the publisher explaining that I would rather pirate it than pay them money thanks to their greed.

That would be like going into a shop and saying you plan to shoplift. They could quite easily take you to court over such a stupid statement, especially since they'd have the email you sent.

But what the hell, go ahead, it'll make interesting reading as they roast you.

Re:Been bitten (1)

Seakip18 (1106315) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921421)

Agreed.

Bioshock helped, but not solely, set this in motion. When I bought it, I didn't see the chains till they were already on. In the end, I was happy with the game, but not enough to reinstall after a format due to the stupid activations.

Others have said that it only affects those who pay thanks to cracks disabling the check. I'm not sure I'd even buy a legit version to make up for it, since it'd just reinforce the idea that "Hey, they'll still buy it."

What is this about DRM? (5, Insightful)

Alonzo Meatman (1051308) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921103)

All the reviews I've read about Spore have said the same thing - great toy, boring game. I'd think that would be far more likely to repel potential buyers than some scuffle over DRM.

Nope, neither. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24921127)

Will an anti-DRM flash mob that's determined to give EA's latest sim game Spore a rock bottom rating on Amazon.com sink the game, or will Spore evolve and shed the DRM?

Neither. This strategy will result in more people discovering that Amazon ratings are simply manipulated by both corporate shills or advocate shills, devaluing the ratings system itself.

Hopefully, this will result in Amazon cracking down on shill reviewers, and modifying the system so that those who attempt to game the system in either the positive or negative direction have a substantially reduced score.

DRM will not... (-1, Flamebait)

matt4077 (581118) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921129)

...but the total stupidity of the game will. It's basically a series of mini games, starting with packman, each of which has been done better before. There's nothing evolution-like in there, unless you believe in Intelligent Design. The science is terrible and the visual style is more kindergarden than Vista.

Science terrible? (3, Insightful)

rk (6314) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921555)

Because it's supposed to be a game. If it were truly evolution-style, the player would have nothing to do but watch. Games that are made to be realistic are oftentimes dull as wet cardboard. That you design your creature I hope doesn't come as a shock to you, since every Spore tech demo Will Wright gave in the last two to three years showed exactly that.

Personally, I really enjoyed it until I got to the space thing. I wasn't aware that I'd have to play a broken tech-demo version of Master of Orion to finish the game. I was in constant space combat using a control/camera system that I'm sure was designed to make space combat as painful as possible. And my race had been pretty much a peacenik during the whole history. None of that mattered anymore, apparently. The cell, creature, and tribal stages I thought were fun. The civ stage was okay. Once you get to space, just quit and go load up Sins of a Solar Empire instead.

Development of DRM: (5, Interesting)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921137)

I don't understand how the cost of developing DRM protection on games and then dealing with the support costs of having DRM can outweigh the "cost" of a few pirated copies of the game.

Wanted More from Spore (5, Insightful)

Alaren (682568) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921143)

Forget the DRM. Spore just fails to live up to its promising premise.

Actually, my 5-year-old and 3-year-old love it. They create creatures in the creature creator and play the cell and creature levels over and over. I barely completed the tribal stage before I got bored with it.

The fact is, PC games are the only digital medium I see taking a genuine hit from piracy, because pirating PC games doesn't change them (and sadly often makes them work better). People want their books to be books. They want their movies to play on their TVs. And everyone listens to music, even complete luddites. A technical person can make these things happen, but most people don't even know where to look for pirated stuff, let alone how to make it work.

The skillset required to tweak a PC for gaming and really enjoy PC games overlaps significantly with the skillset required to play pirated games. Consequently, there are two ways to really turn a profit on PC games: make the game online-only, or release a mega-hit. And face it--if you release a mega-hit, people will accept the DRM. Grudgingly? Sure. But they'll accept it.

Spore was supposed to be a mega-hit (and who knows, maybe it will be). But I would submit that Spore, while fun enough in itself, is basically five mediocre games crammed together and bundled with an amazing, stellar toolset. This makes it easier to complain about stuff like the intrusive DRM, but DRM is the least of Spore's worries, I think. Given the chance to do it again, I'd wait for Spore to hit the bargain rack at Wal-Mart.

Re:Wanted More from Spore (2, Interesting)

bencollier (1156337) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921179)

Of course, by the time Spore has hit the bargain rack, EA may have turned off the activation servers for the game, and it won't work any longer!

Re:Wanted More from Spore (2, Interesting)

caramelcarrot (778148) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921293)

How about you play the game all the way through, and don't just complain when you get bored after the first two stages? Which, I might add, are practically tutorials and character development leading into the later levels?

Re:Wanted More from Spore (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24921429)

How about you play the game all the way through, and don't just complain when you get bored after the first two stages? Which, I might add, are practically tutorials and character development leading into the later levels?

Ooh! Fanboy, much?

Re:Wanted More from Spore (1)

Blimey85 (609949) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921307)

I agree with you regarding books. I've pirated a few but once I've read enough to know I want the book, I go out and buy it because I want an actual book in my hands. Movies and everything else work just fine when pirated. My xbox 360 is connected to my network so I can download whatever I want to any of my computers and then play it on my tv via the 360. Works great. It even works better than my dvr because if I download my content, I get a better version. That's the funny part of this.

See I have an SD tv but I like to watch widescreen video because then I get the full frame rather than pan and scan or worse. With my dvr I can record regular shows or hd shows but if I record hd shows, the dvr fills up really fast. I also have to hit the fast forward button every so often to skip through commercials. My alternative is to download shows that are in widescreen format and have no commercials. They show up online usually about the same time they air on tv because I'm on the west coast and people on the east coast get stuff up immediately. The only time when my online access fails is for live events like swimming in the Olympics. There was great online coverage of other events but the big events, like Phelps swimming weren't shown in realtime online... at the main site anyway. I have however watched streaming tv for stuff like the NBA playoffs last year and that worked great.

Napster brought digital piracy to the masses and broadband made it possible to pirate large files. There's nothing at all difficult about pirating movies, music, or tv shows, and programs and games are only slightly harder but usually include a readme and any crack files you might need. Plus there is help all over the web if you run into problems, so who is that is suffering from The Dumb and can't math today?

Re:Wanted More from Spore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24921395)

If you only reached the tribal stage - you're half way through a 4 hour character creation tool. The space game changes everything.

A real review:
http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2008/09/05/spore-things-to-know/

Excerpt:
"... the three things you should know about Spore.

1) Spore is a four hour character creator for a polished version of Space Rangers 2. It's neat.
2) Ignore anyone's opinion who's played it less than - oooh - eight hours. There's certainly good reasons to dislike or even dismiss Spore, but it takes that point before you see past your preconceptions.
3) There is no Autosave. I repeat: there is no autosave"

Re:Wanted More from Spore (1)

mxs (42717) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921557)

The skillset required to tweak a PC for gaming and really enjoy PC games overlaps significantly with the skillset required to play pirated games. Consequently, there are two ways to really turn a profit on PC games: make the game online-only, or release a mega-hit. And face it--if you release a mega-hit, people will accept the DRM. Grudgingly? Sure. But they'll accept it.

Different people might accept it, and therefore more people. I have not accepted it, and will not accept it. I haven't bought HL2, either -- even though I had the money in hand, ready to fork it over. After all that hype, I might even have bought Spore, DRMless.

3 Install limit is the kicker. (4, Insightful)

RyanFenton (230700) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921169)

All the messageboards commenting on the game are discussing the issue - and most everyone realizes that they tend to move games from machine to machine over the years, or at least are forced to reinstall windows enough that a 3 install limit is FAR too limited a deal. Oh, and uninstalling the software anecdotally does NOT appear to give you 'back' installs of the game so far.

I've worked making software protection schemes on occasion - from encrypted dongles with 'click counters' to sequentially mutating upgrade codes linked to custom hardware to send customers to extend licenses, all to make sure software was limited in terms of what users could do with it under license. This is one limit that really is too far for honorable customers.

The biggest suspicion is that all this was done to minimize the chance and value of the reselling the game. I can see that perspective... but if it's at the cost of actually selling the game in the first place, or of pissing off future customers, they've made a terrible mistake.

Ryan Fenton

You got that right. (2, Interesting)

BitterOldGUy (1330491) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921431)

...at least are forced to reinstall windows enough that a 3 install limit is FAR too limited a deal.

or, if you uninstall something, let's say MS Office because you're turning the machine into a Linux server or something, it should do its call home to tell MS that its no longer installed. That way I can move it to another machine if I wanted to. Blowing hundreds of dollars on a piece of software and have it stuck on one machine is ridiculous. Which brings me to this:

The biggest suspicion is that all this was done to minimize the chance and value of the reselling the game.

It's one thing to install software and then give the license away or sell while still using your installed copy - that's assuming you don't need the CD/DVD in a drive to use it - but, if I don't need the software anymore, what's it to the publisher if I sell it; other than a loss of extra revenue because they couldn't sell another license?

It hurts them more. Because now, I'm much more hesitant to by software. Unless I really need it for some reason, I won't buy because I know that there's no recouping the cost if I should fin that I don't need it in the future. So I make do without or find a F/OSS alternative. I'm not a gamer.

Thank you, DRM! (5, Funny)

Mascot (120795) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921199)

For once I find myself happy a game has DRM. I was going to buy Spore, until I heard of the DRM. Once that information became available it was off my to-buy list and I forgot about it.

Then a few days ago I am informed there's a cracked version available. I decide to see if it lived up to the hype and install it. Three hours later, I delete it out of boredom.

If it hadn't been for DRM, that would've been money out the window. There can be but one conclusion. DRM really is there for my benefit.

I use a flash mob blocker (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24921205)

It's called soap.

x2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24921209)

I was going to buy the game until I found out it had DRM.

if drm doesn't, being a terrible game will (5, Informative)

Surt (22457) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921217)

Sadly it's just terrible. Horribly boring. Evolutions is largely meaningless. There's basically no point in playing more than once, even going down a completely opposite tree was an identical experience. Just painfully dull.

DRM used to be a nuisance, now it's a hazard (4, Insightful)

topham (32406) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921225)

At one time the various methods of DRM used to be a nuisance. However, in the last few years they have become a hazard. Getting tired of this crap, if I ever have to fix another PC that gets screwed over by bullshit DRM (screwed up CD/DVD drivers, etc) I'll be filing a lawsuit.

Money speaks... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24921239)

And EA loves $$$. I'm glad that customers are (potentially) hitting EA where it hurts.

My only regret is that Maxis and Will Wright may also suffer (undeservingly?).

Re:Money speaks... (2, Interesting)

bhodikhan (894485) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921477)

Let's see. Warhammer Online is coming out next week. Oh look! It's publisher is EA. Guess I'll cancel my order for that. Only way to get EA's attention is to cut their income. Even then I'm not sure they'll learn. They're too greedy to be sensible in my experience.

Summary Full of Misguided Assumptions (1)

mpapet (761907) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921269)

There's an assumption about targeting "a couple" of sites, but EA's reach is much broader than that. They have a ton of big-box retail distribution whose customers probably don't care about DRM.

Games are a much easier target given the monolithic nature of their release
Like music, their customers are not monolithic and most don't give a moments care to DRM. Worst case scenario, "Urgh stupid Windows is broken again!" No real connection to what's "broke." Losing the DRM key for itunes is another example of the same thing. Itunes "breaks", not "DRM is to blame"

Finally, there's nothing like a little controversy to sell a few more boxes. Unfortunately, anti-drm advocates are easy to marginalize so it stands a good chance of enriching EA. In the U.S., enterprises get the benefit of the doubt well after the facts prove harm. Consider it the downside of our vibrant economy.

Re:Summary Full of Misguided Assumptions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24921439)

Losing the DRM key for itunes is another example of the same thing. Itunes "breaks", not "DRM is to blame"

Eh? How do you lose the DRM key for iTunes?

I've even gone as far as install a new OS on a new piece of hardware several times, and "old" DRM'd music files, and iTunes didn't even blink and eye. All I had to do was to get a new key using my iTunes account.

Maybe I'm an apologist, but I honestly have no idea what you're talking about. It sounds like you just made it up. Oh yeah, you did.

Its a universal media rule... (2, Interesting)

vimm (1300813) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921273)

The rule for media is: If it's good, you don't have to protect it to make some massive profit.

Same goes with computer games. If your game is popular enough to start getting viral through torrents, then you probably should be working on the sequel. Look how good Batman Begins, and now The Dark Knight, are. Even if they invent a new DRM to go on the DVD for that one, they're going to sell millions.

DRM isn't an issue for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24921279)

Because I can't even get that far on the install. Tried it on six systems with three different Internet connections so far, and none will make it past the remote activation screen. EA didn't test their installer at all. Of course calling EA support did no good. I don't think the people handling support for them have ever even seen the game. Not testing the installer means they're incompetent and arrogant. They know by the time the installer fails, the customer has already paid them and the vast majority of their dealers won't do returns.

Re:DRM isn't an issue for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24921571)

So what you're saying is:

They fuck you at the drive-thru!

Add me to the list... (1)

tillerman35 (763054) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921345)

...of people who have absolutely no interest in buying the game, but who will claim they didn't because it was infected with DRM.

I'm surprised there's not a hardcore fundie backlash against the game due to the fact that its creatures evolved- or do they secretly love it because you get to play "intelligent designer?"

A: No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24921393)

You're welcome.

DRM? (1)

Jimmyisikura (1274808) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921411)

How exactly does this drm work, I know they all have their own annoying tick, but seeing as I just bought the game and am patiently waiting for it to arrive I would like to know what problems I should expect.

Re:DRM? (4, Insightful)

Seakip18 (1106315) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921563)

If it's anything like they are saying, it will be like Bioshock/Mass Effects DRM. I'm sure it's in more detail around here.

Basically, on install, it calls home to check if the unique DVD you got has been installed more than three times. If so, it halts the installation process until you call EA and get it removed. The problem should be apparent.

No internet? In this day and age, hard to believe but I'm sure someone out there had their internet being fixed, etc.

Problems with EA's connection/equipment? A bit more believable

What if EA doesn't believe you/you don't fulfill their requirements? No install for you.

EA goes under/stops support for activation servers? Don't expect an official fix.

Honestly, go find a cracked version, and install that. You did your part in paying for it.

anti-drm stuff starting to appear on newsvine (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921423)

Re:anti-drm stuff starting to appear on newsvine (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24921501)

I love how when you like something and if it's not Apple, Google or F/OSS you simply get labeled as a shill and the accuser doesn't even have to create a basic argument to get taken seriously.

The magic word for today, kids, is shill. Can you say shill? I knew you could.

Fans, Industry, not DRM (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24921425)

DRM itself, won't kill Spore. The backlash from potential mainstream users is what will kill Spore.

There will always be those gamers who will put up with it any new 'features' surrounding the next 're/evolutionary' game. Despite the DRM, 3 install limitation, they will always be there willing to put up with what ever the industry dishes. THEY are not the majority however. The majority, KNOW that there are so many hours in a day, and know just what games are on the market, and know what they are willing to put up with in terms of user rights, and money spent. THESE are the people posting to message forums, creating backlash that they view is past the boundary of user expectation. THEY will kill Spore before DRM does.

I don't know about you, but $50 doesn't go as far as it used to. Your gonna tell me that this game is SO 'RE/EVOLUTIONARY', that it is a must buy despite all those restrictions, and more than potential hassle that might(see probably ...) come along down the road? And I'm not talking about the game here...(looking at you Microsoft)

People have wised up, and expect the gaming market/distribution system to change. EA's Spore is the last desperate throw of an industry that doesn't want to let go. The sooner they realize the fans are on THEIR side, the sooner their profit margin will increase.

Bad experience with Mass Effect DRM (4, Insightful)

Tridus (79566) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921465)

I own Mass Effect PC. No, really. As in went to the store and bought a copy. The game is great.

But the DRM? Not so much. A few days ago it just decided to stop working for a while, and instead of running would tell me that I wasn't authorized to run it. Seems odd, since not only was I running it just fine before that happened, the box is still sitting on my desk. Why am I not authorized to run a game that I paid for, while some guy who pirated it can run it just fine (and with shorter startup times due to the lack of SecuROM)? Nobody has ever really had a good answer for that other then "bend over and take it."

Since then it started working again as inexplicably as it stopped working in the first place, but the whole thing put a bad taste in my mouth.

Now, throw the three install limit on top of that, and I'm really not sure why I should ever give EA another dime. In fact I am sure, I'm not buying anything from EA again until they start acting like they care about paying customers more then pirates.

Spore is the first on the "would have bought, but won't due to DRM" list for me. It won't be the last. EA can try to blame it on piracy all they want, but the fact of the matter is that they're doing more damage to their own sales then any pirate ever did.

Selling pretty well (5, Informative)

kopo (890010) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921483)

A quick read through the Amazon reviews of Spore seems to suggest that the negative comments are already putting people off from buying the game.

This line from the product page [amazon.com] seems to suggest otherwise:

Amazon.com Sales Rank: #1 in Video Games

I wonder ... (1)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921503)

I wonder if these people (the flash mob ones I mean) would be rallying towards any kind of online store that sold legal (but unhealthy) stuff. Like alcohol, tobacco and firearms. Let's throw pot into the mix just for fun. Yes, people can get bitten in the ass by DRM. Just like they can with alcohol, tobacco, firearms (well, shoot themselves in the foot more likely) and pot. Yet that is (almost) always argued to be a personal choice. "I can damn well fuck up my own body if I want to!". Why not so with a computer? The DRM isn't a virus or a worm. Malware, sure - but it's not infecteous to other people's computers, so I say "let those who wish to use a DRM program/game do so". No skin off of my back. "But I want that game!" Then buy it. You can't just go around buying non-cancerous cigarettes or alcohol that doesn't impair your judgement. If you don't want DRM, don't buy that game. It's a game. Nothing more. Do I like DRM? No, I can't say that I do. But I can live without that game. Or any other game that has it. My "sollution" and fairly good compromise would be to include an electronic one time pad token in the game box. To play you have to do a challange/response against an online server (alright, doesn't work for single player games), but at least it'll be 100% platform agnostic. Would work great for online games like World of Warcraft, since someone not only need to steal your token, but also know the password to the token to steal your account. Probably not so much for offline games. Though I suppose you could just have to verify to get new online content (like Spore does when you download).

That's why they call them Block Puzzles (4, Funny)

CorporateSuit (1319461) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921511)

I don't know about you guys, but the DRM is the most exciting part of the game I've seen so far! Find out what programs must be stopped before proceeding, navigate the legal work, avoid deadly lockdowns! They are like today's minotaur's maze -- for free!

Thank you! (2, Informative)

Freedom Bug (86180) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921517)

Slashdot has just saved me $50. I was an hour away from buying this game, but a 3 install limit is insane.

EA sucks all around (1)

j.sanchez1 (1030764) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921529)

I haven't given EA any of my money since the Need For Speed: Carbon fiasco. Going on 2 years old, and they haven't released a patch to fix video/audio syncing issues. No thanks EA, I'll pass.

Actually, the game isn't all that great... (4, Informative)

Emperor Shaddam IV (199709) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921531)

I'm an avid gamer. My first games were games like Zork II, Ultima I, II, II I played on my C-64 and 20 or 30 carts I had for my 2600. I've played most of the major Sims, Strategy Games, and RTS titles. Everything from Dune II to Warcraft III. From Sim City I to CIV IV. From MOO to the demo copy of Sins of a Solar Empire, which I'm about to try.

And let me say, Spore is an interesting game, but after playing it yesterday for the first time, I think it was a real let-down considering the type. I would say that its a GOOD game, and I actually had some fun during the creature stage "tweaking" my creature, but the cell stage was a boring arcade style game. And the tribal stage was a let down because basically all you do is collect food and either kill the other tribes or play "music" to impress them.

Not really an "in depth" game like I was expecting. I'm on the civilzation stage, and I was a little disappointed to find out that you have to "harvest spice". Come on, how original is that? That goes all the way back to Dune II and Dune 2000 from Westwood. At least they could have come up with something original like "Smithore" ( M.U.L.E. )...

So I think the negative reviews are probably just that. Negative reviews.

Although one cool thing was that I encountered one of the creatures I designed about a month ago with creature creator show up in the creature phase of the game in "EPIC" size! It proceeded to "eat" half my population...

EA will translate DRM backlash and low sales as... (2, Insightful)

WCMI92 (592436) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921537)

An excuse to dump PC games completely. They already have pulled most of their sports franchise games (which pissed me off).

Look for Bioware even to drop the PC.

In the short term, dinosaur clueless behemoths like EA getting out of the PC gaming market will be bad, BUT keep in mind the installed base of PC's is STILL far greater than that of any console, that means opportunity for others to enter the market. There is opportunity there, and where there is opportunity, there will be those who will take advantage of it.

EA et all pulling out of the PC arena will serve to give indy and start up gaming companies more oxygen.

EA has been only barely relevant as a game publisher for some time in the PC arena anyway. Other than their sports sequels it's been forever since they've put out anything groundbreaking. Burdening their mediocre game lineup with DRM just makes it worse.

DRM could very well push PC gaming over the edge (5, Interesting)

zifn4b (1040588) | more than 5 years ago | (#24921543)

DISCLAIMER: I'm a die-hard PC gamer. I go all the way back to the Commodore 64 and I've owned and I have had the privilege to play some of the best games of all time.

PC gaming is already in a fragile state. There is much competition from the Console market. Cheaper hardware, less compatibility problems, more stability and no DRM (at least until they go all download based). Assuming that DRM will eventually permeate every PC game, it could very well be the factor that pushes PC gaming over the edge. It just adds one more reason to choose Console over PC as a gaming platform. Soon, everyone will compare the two and most likely arrive at the following conclusions:

  • With a PC, I have to upgrade my hardware almost every year just to play the latest and greatest games. With a console, I just buy a game for my console and it's guaranteed to perform decent because the game developers develop specifically for that hardware.
  • With a PC, I have to install the game, download updated drivers and deal with software incompatibilities. In addition, most technical support departments are awful at helping users with these issues and more often than not leave them to fend for themselves. With a console game, it just works out of the box.
  • I can play a console game on as many consoles as I wish but it can only be one console at a time. I can only play a PC game on a certain number of PC's and after that I have to go through a time-consuming, annoying process to make my case to get additional activations.

In today's day and age, consoles are unfortunately what most people want. They want to go buy a game at the store, plug it into their console and start playing right away. As much as I hate to say it being a long-time PC gamer, this is just one more nail in the coffin for PC gaming.

If the PC gaming platform is going to be saved there are many issues that need to be addressed. Gaming PC's need to be cheaper to be competitive with the price point of Console rivals. There has to be some sort of compromise about DRM. There has to be a way to raise the level of quality (stability, hardware support) of PC releases. Most PC releases, especially console ports, seem like they were just slapped together. Lots of products are released that are buggy as all hell and you have wait for 2 or 3 patches to get to play the game properly.

I sincerely hope that PC gaming lives on but right now it seems like it's fading away.

DRM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24921597)

Spore came out on the interwebs last week sometime, DRM free.

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