Thursday, September 11, 2008

DRM Backlash...

In case you haven't heard or seen already -- the new EA game Spore is taking quite the beating in the review section on Amazon on account of its accompanied DRM. (You can see it here). I remember checking in on it earlier this week, before I got sick -- unrelated to Spore or DRM -- and there were maybe 1,000 reviews total... well it's broken the 2,000 mark now and is still averaging a 1-star rating.

This whole thing just bothers me. I was actually looking forward to when Spore came out, to possibly buy it and have a new game to refresh my current lineup at home. But, like these crazy Amazonians, when I saw you could only install it 3 times before having to call EA to beg for more chances, I just decided it wasn't worth it. Like with music, I take the position that DRM is only harming your legitimate customers and in some cases pushing them away. If someone wants something without paying for it, they'll inevitably find a way, so really, what's the point?

Maybe EA (or other publishers) will learn something from this outburst and realize that maybe DRM isn't that great after all...

UPDATE: Apparently, EA got wind of all of the uproar and responded. Their response (paraphrasing): "3 installs is plenty, only 1% of gamers ever install something more than 3 times, so stop whining." Are you kidding me? This is how you respond to your user community? By telling them that they're wrong and you're right, without compromise!? What about all the people that want to play the game 10 years from now -- since that sort of thing has been known to happen? Ridiculous.

UPDATE x2: I just found this other article that talks about EA compromising by easing the DRM restrictions on a future game. A future game? How about patching Spore to meet at least these restrictions? (which by the way is lifting the install limit from 3 to 5 and not requiring the CD to play -- which isn't really that much better in my opinion. It still misses the point).

UPDATE x3: I really didn't think that I would be updating this post again. But, after finding this article, I had no choice. Apparently, users that have purchased the game have discovered that even though the manual says you can have multiple player accounts per install, the game will only let you have one. Guess how EA responds: by telling everyone that it's a misprint in the manual -- way to go EA. Way to go.

Update x4: Well, EA finally decided to "remedy" the Spore situation (read this article) by increasing the number of installs from 3 to 5 (like I mentioned in the second update above for a future game). In addition, they're creating a "de-authorizing" system to effectively move your registration to a new computer -- which to me, sounds similar to the current model that Apple uses for music purchased on iTunes. I would say that this is a step in the right direction, but still completely missing the point... EA clearly doesn't get it.

1 comment:

Josh Augustine said...

ooo good updates. EA is the evil microsoft of the gaming world. They couldn't care less about the gamers or even about their employees. It's all about their stockholders and that, my friends, is not the way to keep people buying your games.

Also, making the same sports games every year just with different names and slightly better graphics.... really? That's not game development any more than cooking store-bought salmon is fishing.