Feeds

Amazon flash mob mauls Spore DRM

EA's big title gets 1-star rating

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

For software that appeals to a wide audience like EA's latest sim game Spore, it's sometimes the first time the average person gets a good taste of how digital rights management (DRM) puts the screw on legitimate users.

Spore's DRM limits customers to only three activations after the game is installed. That number isn't restored even if the game is uninstalled. Three is what you get unless you call up Electronic Arts customer support and give them your sob story.

While the restriction may not seem terrible at first blush — consider wanting to install the game at a later date. Consider a computer malfunction that forces the user to wipe their box clean. Consider making room on a hard-drive. There's plenty of legitimate reasons why a paying customer may need (or simply choose to) install the game multiple times as time goes by.

The theory behind EA's SecuROM DRM (also used in Mass Effect) is that it combats piracy by keeping file sharers from reusing activation codes.

That lasted almost a full day after Spore debuted in Australia, September 4.

Spore's DRM being almost instantly cracked was a matter of routine for modern PC games. Now pirates can install Spore to their heart's content while paying customers unwilling to get a cracked version are stuck with the restrictions.

Clearly people are mad as hell. But will we take it anymore?

Presently at Amazon.com, Spore has only a one-star user rating. Mostly, this isn't about the quality of the game, which is for another discussion entirely. It's about the DRM restrictions.

Shenanigans from a flash internet mob? Maybe. But the score is a result of 1,662 one-star ratings out of a total of 1,797.

Most of the reviews wax dramatic, such as reviewers claiming the DRM is a "travesty" that ruined the game entirely, or labeling it a "virus."

The legitimacy and appropriateness of the volume of outrage on Amazon may be debatable, but its clearly not good news for EA's PR department. EA has recently been attempting to change its image in the gaming community from a project-killing developer sweatshop to something more positive — but this happening to what it surely expected to be a video game blockbuster is doing it no favors.

Perhaps it's the kick to the pants EA needs to rethink its DRM policy before it demands stool samples at every load screen. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Batten down the hatches, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS due in TWO DAYS
Admins dab straining server brows in advance of Trusty Tahr's long-term support landing
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
Windows 8.1, which you probably haven't upgraded to yet, ALREADY OBSOLETE
Pre-Update versions of new Windows version will no longer support patches
Microsoft TIER SMEAR changes app prices whether devs ask or not
Some go up, some go down, Redmond goes silent
Red Hat to ship RHEL 7 release candidate with a taste of container tech
Grab 'near-final' version of next Enterprise Linux next week
Ditch the sync, paddle in the Streem: Upstart offers syncless sharing
Upload, delete and carry on sharing afterwards?
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.