EA relents, changes Spore DRM. Too little, too late?

#1 Posted by brukaoru (5079 posts) -
http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20080919-ea-relents-changes-spore-drm-too-little-too-late.html
"The install limit for Spore will be upped to five, from three, and EA promises it is working on a way to deauthorize the game on your machines so you can move your installs between five computers without having to contact customer service, an expensive proposition in places like Australia where the call costs nearly $3 a minute. Talking to MTV Multiplayer, EA claimed that it was rare for gamers to install the game on multiple machines, or almost unheard of for gamers to want to put the game on more than two systems.

Here is a look at the data EA provided, although it stresses that these numbers are a sample and shouldn't be taken as indicative of total sales:

Total activations: 437,138
Users activating on only 1 machine: 86 percent
Users activating on more than 1 machine: 14 percent
User trying to activate on more than 3 machines: 0.4 percent

If this data is to be believed, the newly implemented five-install limit should be more than enough to keep customers happy, along with the to-be-released deauthorization system. Still, the very idea of any kind of limit seems to gall many gamers, who believe this system turns their game purchases into glorified rentals. It's likely these new "loosened" restrictions will be hit with the same vitriol.

EA did confirm one thing to MTV: if the authorization servers are ever taken down, the game won't become useless. "If we were to ever turn off the servers on the game, we would put through a patch before that to basically make the DRM null and void," the company claimed. "We're never walking away from the game and making it into a situation where people aren’t going to be able to play it."


Quite late, indeed, EA. Do you think EA will change their minds about DRM with Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 now? I am glad that they clarified that if the servers are taken down, they will release a patch, because that would not be very good if someone enjoyed a game so much that they would want to play it years from now and they couldn't. 

I however do not agree with this last statement:
After all this madness, one thing is sadly clear: gaming DRM isn't going anywhere. "Without the ability to protect our work from piracy, developers across the entire game industry will eventually stop investing time and money in PC titles," Gibeau stated. The pirates remain in the back of the room, giggling. 
I think pirates are already laughing because DRM is useless, and you are continuing to counter customers. Will EA ever learn that DRM is pointless? (My opinion: DRM is pointless)

Your thoughts?
#2 Posted by Jayge_ (10222 posts) -

People can still get the game DRM-free if they pirate it, and they will. So why bother with anything other than an account registration? There's a UPC code on the back of every box, right? Let people make as many offline things as they want, but for games with online, make the UPC the serial code, and let that be their online authentication. Seriously. Anyone messing with the UPC code will get fucked over on many more things than just Piracy, so the government should be happy too.

#3 Posted by breton (1437 posts) -

It's not too little, too late. It's bullshit, and still bullshit. What the hell kind of statistics are those, anyway? People have activated on one machine in the first two weeks... What about a year from now? I don't understand how they can continue to stand by the fact that they're protecting themselves from piracy when the damn thing was cracked a week prior to release.

#4 Edited by jangofett88 (324 posts) -
breton said:
"It's not too little, too late. It's bullshit, and still bullshit. What the hell kind of statistics are those, anyway? People have activated on one machine in the first two weeks... What about a year from now? I don't understand how they can continue to stand by the fact that they're protecting themselves from piracy when the damn thing was cracked a week prior to release."
Agreed. Activation statistics aren't meaningful until about a year after the game comes out when people have upgraded their hardware. It took me a little under a year to reach the install limit on Flight Simulator X. Now I have to call Microsoft every time I install the game. At least Microsoft has a dedicated toll-free activation line that is automated and pretty well streamlined. Just tell them I have it installed on only one computer, and they give me an activation code. If I had to pay 3 bucks a minute, you can bet I would be using a crack, which is what I will be doing for Mass Effect if I reach the install limit on that game.
            One more thing. EA claims that all these security measures are so they can protect themselves from piracy, but wasn't a cracked version of Spore available on torrent sites a couple of days before the game even came out?
#5 Posted by Jecrell (241 posts) -

There is no justification for the stupid shit EA is doing. If you bought the game online you had to pay an extra five bucks to guarantee you could download the game for 2 years on those 3 limited installs.

#6 Posted by Jecrell (241 posts) -

There is no justification for the stupid shit EA is doing. If you bought the game online you had to pay an extra five bucks to guarantee you could download the game for 2 years on those 3 limited installs.

#7 Posted by StaticFalconar (4849 posts) -

Yeah its too little too late. EA is making a really bad name for themselves now, this kinda shit is just bad press overall that a little patch ain't gonna fix.

#8 Posted by coakroach (2478 posts) -

Piracy wont kill PC gaming, it will keep it on a tight leash though

#9 Posted by xWOBBx (30 posts) -
#10 Posted by Rowr (5237 posts) -

sweet.

I gave my copy to my sister today.

Kids game.

#11 Posted by zeus_gb (595 posts) -

DRM is a necessary evil and it's not going away any time soon.  What I really don't like is when this stuff stops legit customers like myself from playing the game.

The deactivate tool should have been available from day one, yet again EA shoot themselves in the foot.  I think most people will be happy with this compromise, after all it's better than nothing.

I just hope EA learns from this experience but I won't hold them breath.

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