Spore and DRM

My husband has been waiting for Spore for two years now. Its a game created by designer Will Wright. The same guy who made SimCity and’ The Sims.’ The focus of the game is the development of’ a creature through various stages of civilization.’ Starting at single celled organism and’ reaching space exploration’ society the player gets to control what the species looks like as well as design buildings and vehicles. Its a cute game but this post isn’t about’ Spore. Its about the DRM’ on Spore.

Sunday was release day of Spore, and many fans chose to’ preload the game. This means that you pay for the game before launch day, and’ at a specific time it automatically downloads’ to your computer. The version my husband bought will’ be saved electronically for 2 years in case we need to download it again.’ ‘ What gamers that pre-ordered disc copies of this game, or bought them in a store on Sunday didn’t realize is that EA has only given you permission to install the game onto your computer from discs’ three times. If you need more than this you can simply call EA’ explain the circumstances for how you used your three installs and possibly get’ another. However computer enthusiasts that frequently upgrade their computers are concerned that’ this means EA is going to force them to buy a new copy of the game.’  So about 1,000 users have taken action by informing potential buyers on Amazon of this situation by spamming the review system with 1 star reviews.

Bloggers have been buzzing about this today mentioning that reviews on other sites such as www.gamespot.com and’ www.gamestop.com informing future buyers that you only get three installs per disk have been deleted making the ratings for the games a crystal 5.

As if you didn’t have ample opportunity to talk about DRM as it relates to music now is another chance for you to have a discussion with your teens about DRM and games. I hope’ the general’ news will report on the various websites that are deleting reviews that talk about the DRM, because of this whole situation that may be the scariest part. I look forward to talking with my teens about this situation and ask them what they would do in EA’s shoes.

About Jami Schwarzwalder

Currently a teen librarian with the Pierce County Library System in Tacoma, WA.She is passionate about technology, making, and learning. See what I'm up to at https://about.me/jamischwarzwalder
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3 Comments

  1. This also means that the game won’t be a good choice for circulation from a library!

    Did anyone else see the Gamer’s Bill of Rights?

    http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=20027

    This EA policy violates #8, at the very least.

    My husband installed Spore for me, while I was at work today. He said he had to UNINSTALL Creature Creator, that I paid $10 for, and I’m not sure if it wiped all all the creatures I made, or not 🙁

  2. Gamers have been getting around issues of limited downloads and product keys for ages, and the internet has become a great resource for finding help. (Not that I’m encouraging pirating or anything. Cough.)

    I just checked Gamstop and was able to easily find a review mentioning the limited downloads, so I wouldn’t necessarily trust all bloggers on the issue. But I would always recommend finding a local game store (for me it’s GameStop, so I may be biased–but I’ve visited other branches and found them not nearly as helpful as mine) to get game reviews and advice. And consulting other gamers in real life, too–it’s good to get out of the house now and then!

  3. In some ways it seems like EA is lining up with other software vendors. There is lots of software these days, including the Windows OS, that only allows users to install the OS a certain number of times. And, with iTunes you can only authenticate on 5 (I think it’s 5) computers. I’m not saying this is a good thing. But, EA does have precedent for this behavior. It does speak to the need to be aware of how DRM works in all types of digital worlds.

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