The AbyssThe Abyss

Posted on Sep 14th 2008 at 12:28:14 AM by (TraderJake)
Posted under OH NOOOO!, Modern Gaming, Spore, EA, SecuROM, God Hates Righteous People

Oh dear, it appears as though EA doesn't realize that people really, really hate intrusive Digital Rights Management, which you might begrudgingly know as DRM. Some places do DRM right, like Valve. Sure only one user can have a game, but at least that user can install the game as many times as he wishes. Apparently, EA just wants to piss you off if you buy Spore. Never mind enjoying the game, let's find a way to punish you for being on of the righteous buyers of Spore. How does EA do that? By using SecuROM, of course. As stated on everyone's favorite encyclopedia, Wikipedia, "SecuROM is a CD/DVD copy protection product, most often used for computer games running under Microsoft Windows, developed by Sony DADC. SecuROM aims to resist home media duplication devices, professional duplicators, and reverse engineering attempts. The newest versions (v4 and up) prevent 1:1 CD-R copies from being made. Certain programs can circumvent its protection. The use of SecuROM is controversial because certain aspects of the protection are similar to functions of malware, and users are not always informed when SecuROM is included with a product."

So, what aspects of SecuROM make it hated? Well, SecuROM phones home. You want to install that game on your PC? Well, go ahead, you have three installs on three PCs. But here is the thing. Let's say you install on your desktop, and then it goes into an incessant Blue Screen of Death and you have to reformat? Well, you reformatted, so that PC is no longer authorized to play the game. So, there goes a second authorization. After three installs on "different" PCs, you're done with playing the game. Gone are the days where you could reinstall as many times as you want, and here are the days where you're stuck with what the publisher gives you.

Spore, happens to have SecuROM, the lovely piece of software that phones home whenever an update is done or whenever the game is installed. A lot of people don't like that, so much so that on Amazon the customer rating sits at 1 out of 5 stars with 2216 reviews and growing. Turns out people really, really, really hate the DRM known as SecuROM, and they've shown their ire through the Amazon rating system. As one such reviewer says, "First of all, the game incorporates a draconian DRM system that requires you to activate over the internet, and limits you to a grand total of 3 activations. If you reach that limit, then you'll have to call EA in order to add one extra activation. That's not as simple as it sounds, since when you reach that point EA will assume that you, the paying customer, are a filthy pirating thief." Doesn't that sound wonderful?

It gets interesting though. A few days ago, Amazon pulled the Spore reviews. A few hours later, they were back, and their absence was attributed to "a site glitch". You know, I can claim that monkey's fly out of my ass, but that does not make it true. I bet their statement on it being a site glitch is a dirty, malicious lie.

It's really a shame that EA had to sully Will Wright's game with DRM. It's even more sad that EA doesn't trust you as a paying customer, and thinks you are obviously a dirty, filthy pirate. Perhaps people would have not had this backlash if only EA trusted them to be righteous consumers. But no, look where we are today. Spore has a 1 out of 5 star rating on Amazon, and people are pissed. Here's to you, EA.

Ed Note: I just noticed that over the last month that "Oh Noooo Otter" was the number 3 referral for our site, just behind the keyword RF Generation. Isn't that fun?

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Is this really a big deal? MS has been doing this with Windows for years. You call say your computer exploded and that you need to re-install it and they give you a new one, at least that's what it's like for MS and I can't see EA being any worse on pirates than MS.
Know what's also sad, that piracy on the PC has gotten so bad that companies feel the need to do this kind of thing.
Oh Nooooo!

You sum it up perfectly, TJ. I only wonder if EA didn't see this backlash coming when deciding to put SecuROM in.

@Tondog:It is sad. Even though PC games are systematically cheaper than console games they seem to enjoy getting the game illegally more than actually playing it.

I don't know what it is with PC games/gamers. It's really rooted deep because I knew this guy last year that had never bought a game/program in his life. Yet he was playing Supreme Commander and Overlord on his PC. The amount of people who choose not to buy the game are shockinly high, I think. That's why they had to be sure that everyone who buys a legit copy really buys one himself and not loans his neighbor's for a week. Otherwise EA wouldn't have done this, they're not stupid either.

Oh well, PC gaming is going to die except for MMORPGs and the occasional new FPS...I've always known consoles were much better to game on that PCs Cheesy Tongue
I hate to say it, but I pirate a hell of a lot of PC games.

You know why?  Because copy protection and other DRM crap never agree with my computer.  I used to actually buy titles a few years ago, but after several episodes where my legit copies of games started asking me to insert the original instead of what it thought was a backup I just gave up and started downloading no-cd cracks and then moved on to downloading entire games, and I discovered that it was way easier to get the games to run and I wouldn't be penalized if I don't like a game (because, I've picked crappy titles a few times and then been unable to return them OR sell them because of store policies and DRM techniques)

DRM just doesn't work, it's cracked fast and only screws people who actually buy the game.  Spore was the first PC game I've bought since 2005, and I only did that because I felt that Spore was a good enough game to deserve my money.  I probably should have pirated it, though, because in a couple years this DRM's going to come around and slap me-- I can see it coming...
Couldn't really put it any better than Tondog did just there.
Well, Sean Sands at Gamers With Jobs has said it way better than I could dream of.
That was a good read. Thanks for the link.
I don't even pirate games now considered abandonware, if there's a way to buy it on Ebay somewhere. That said, I won't buy any game like this until they crack these DRM systems so that I can actually own what I buy.

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