EA responds to Spore DRM complaints

Publisher defends its policy to limit installations as necessary against piracy

EA has defended its use of SecuROM DRM in Spore, saying that it "has not changed" its basic copy protection policy, following a backlash by internet users on Amazon.

Earlier this month, consumers expressed their anger at the limitations imposed on them by the mandatory installation of SecuRom, which allows EA to limit the installation of each copy of Spore to a maximum number of three times. Mariam Sughayer of EA's corporate communications, told Gamasutra that the current DRM system is merely an extension of what they've always done.

"EA has not changed our basic DRM copy protection system... We simply changed the copy protection method from using the physical media, which requires authentication every time you play the game by requiring a disc in the drive, to one which uses a one-time online authentication," she said.

Three installations is more than enough for EA's customers who mostly only ever install their games once, according to the publisher's research, while combating piracy. Sughayer claimed that during the activations of the Spore Creature Creator, 77 per cent only ever activated it on one machine and 23 per cent activated it on more than one, of which only 1 per cent attempted to activate it on more than three computers.

Frustration at EA's anti-piracy policy risked further inflammation upon the confirmation that each copy of the game can only have a single account attached to it, meaning only one person can play the game at any given time.

"There is one Spore registration/account per game/serial code so... you cannot make multiple accounts at this time," commented an EA representative on Spore's forum. "I have sent your guys' feedback to the game team though since I can understand the desire to share a game on a system that you entire family uses."

This follows news that in the period between September 1-11, Spore had been illegally downloaded 171,402 times, according to Big Champagne, a peer-to-peer research firm, and reported by Forbes.

"The numbers are extraordinary," said Big Champagne's chief executive, Eric Garland. "This is a very high level of torrent activity even for an immensely popular game title."

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Latest comments (1)

Christian Olsson VP Marketing & Alliances, ByteShield, Inc.13 years ago
This is a terrible story for 2 parties - legitimate users who simply wanted to play Spore and couldn't because the activation servers went down and EA because Spore's DRM was cracked even before it was released.

Often developers walk a tightrope with the tradeoff between protection strength and the degree of impact on legitimate users but this was a failure on both dimensions! Is this really what the publisher wants to 'accomplish'? Why not use a solution which is friendly to honest users, has no impact on development time and the strongest available protection against crackers - see the whitepaper "Is Anti-Piracy/DRM the Cure or the Disease for PC Games?" which can be downloaded here

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Christian Olsson on 15th September 2008 4:44pm

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