Spore War

By Alec Meer on September 9th, 2008 at 9:27 am.

People really don’t like DRM. And a small but very passionate/ferocious group of people really, really, really don’t like DRM. They’ve struck back by shaping Amazon’s user reviews of Spore en masse, bringing its average rating down to just one star.

While I’m aware it’s a major issue for a lot of gamers, I think it’s a hateful thing to do on this kind of scale. I do understand their concerns entirely, and would much prefer there was no DRM in Spore. Fine, don’t buy the game yourself or crack it if you’re not happy with the restrictions and privacy violations. Write to EA or trading standards, blog about it, demand there’s a big warning sticker on the box.

Even protest ratings based on your actual negative experiences of the DRM are entirely valid, but this concerted group effort (most of whom, I imagine, haven’t actually played the game or experienced its usage restrictions first-hand) is giving innocent Amazon customers entirely the wrong impression of a game they might well love: that star rating is all that a lot of people look at. This isn’t raising awareness of DRM: it’s just making people not buy the game because they think it must be rubbish.

The DRM’s a significant problem – a problem we won’t know the full extent of for a while, I’d imagine – but my concern is that one of the most influential buying guides on the web is currently only telling one side of the story. A progressive, excellent game could get sunk because of it, and we’ll end up with more licensed tripe instead. Not that likely, granted, but possible.

Appreciate that this is a subject people feel very strongly about, but please express your comments below without bellowing abuse at each other.

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350 Comments »

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  1. A-Scale says:

    I mean, where was the tremendous outcry against piracy when it crippled sales of DRM-less Company of Heroes?

    As someone who bought both company of heroes titles, it deserves to be stolen. I have never dealt with a more lethartic, uncaring support team as THQ. I bought COH:OF on Steam and couldn’t get it to work for 3 days due to some THQ activation issue. THQ told me to go to Valve. Valve told me they had no control over it, and I would have to go back to THQ. THQ told me to go stuff myself.

    I spent 3 days and about 10 solid hours trying to get it to work. Finally it did. Now after switching to Vista and losing my previous install I’ve decided to pick the game up again. Only one issue, my account key no longer works and my CD key has been banned for trying to log in too many times.

    No DRM my ass. Thanks a lot THQ. I’ll never buy one of your games again.

  2. Rob says:

    @caesarbear

    […]crippled sales of DRM-less Company of Heroes

    Cite?

  3. MeestaNob! says:

    I wont be buying Spore, and thanks to EA’s new DRM strategy I wont be buying any more of their products again.

    Crytek might want to investigate what system they’ll be using for Warhead, otherwise they might as well issue an early sook about piracy and get it over with.

    If anyone disagrees they can keep it to themselves.

  4. Cope says:

    @caesarbear

    “The paranoia over having to reactivate the three install limit is absurd, and you too seem to be guilty of encouraging that paranoia. ”

    What’s absurd is that I’m expected to make an international phone call to EA after a whole 3 installations and beg them to let me install the game I bought again. What’s even more absurd is that by pirating the game I don’t have to deal with that at all.

    Every time DRM is stepped up a notch people like you tell everyone “Hey, it’s not so bad, really. It could be a lot worse.”, and then it gets a lot worse. And the people like you come back again, “Hey look, it’s not so bad really…” Well guess what? The line has to be drawn somewhere, and I for one am drawing it here.

  5. Y3k-Bug says:

    So a marquee title may be sunken by DRM that goes too far…

    I sadly have to say that while I’m not at all happy about that, it is a point that should be made. The review is based on the overall product, and a part of said product is really bad. I would hope that this should effect the sales of the title so that EA simply doesn’t do this sort of thing in the future.

    I think the biggest sin in all of this was that the game was readily available on bit torrent days before its official release anyway. So for all the hoopla about it, the DRM was completely worthless anyway.

    Would it really be THAT outlandish for EA to simply partner up with Steam? It works and isn’t nearly as bad as this.

  6. Chris says:

    I’m a little torn, but I think the 1-star crowd is justified. You’re buying a crippled product, with inherent limitations not present in other things you buy. If I buy a console game, I can give it to a friend, swap it back, loan it to someone to try for a weekend, etc. The same is true with a book, a DVD, any number of things.

    You can’t do that with Spore. You’ve bought a product with an inherent time bomb on it’s lifespan.

  7. Olof says:

    RE: People saying this will lead to games being released more console-exclusively.

    You don’t think that would just lead to a rise in emulators & pirated console games?

  8. wyrmsine says:

    Okay, I got about halfway through the posts. The only question I’ve got relates to the many suggestions of “complaining sensibly”. When has that worked to discourage DRM? Please don’t cite Mass Effect, that DRM was an insane proposal to start with. I bought Spore yesterday – I knew there were concerns with the DRM, but had no idea how ludicrous it would actually be. Seriously – I should have pirated it, given the DRM and my inability to share the many creatures I made in the Creature Creator. It’s absolutley ridiculous that I paid for this, and it’s a really good game.

  9. JonFitt says:

    @caesarbear: Not at all. In many ways dongled software is far less draconian than what Spore has here.

    With dongled software all you really do is make sure that only the number of PCs that the software is licensed for can use it. You are free to reinstall to your heart’s content, and moving between computers is a case of passing the dongle like a key.

    The dongle is essentially the physical manifestation of the license, and you don’t have to worry about people backing up the software itself, or even passing it around. Without the dongle it’s useless. With a generous software provider you are even free to sell the license as a company asset (the technology wouldn’t stop you doing this even).
    It doesn’t need to track you, or online authenticate you.

    The downside is the dongle drivers which can be a pain in the rear.

    I fail to see the connection between restricting consumer rights to install the software they own and piracy? How is this stopping piracy exactly?
    It’s overkill for stopping casual piracy (sharing a disk between friends) because a disk check stops that sufficiently.
    Evidentially it has done nothing to stop determined pirates as the game was available before launch.
    So why am I limited to 3 installs exactly?

  10. wyrmsine says:

    @ caesarbear: as regards professional software having activation limits, come on. Spending up to an hour on the phone to have, say, CS3 “approved” is a giant waste of my time and productivity. I can’t de-activate CS3 before a BSOD. The Adobe reps also make it a point to remind me that I only have so many phone activations left before my firm loses the license, but won’t tell me how many. Very helpful, that. Is Adobe going to refuse to activate my software at some point? Will EA do the same to my game? Why do I even have to ask this about a videogame?

  11. TheUnshaven says:

    Velt says: “How would you lock it down? What form of DRM would you use to keep your work from being stolen?”

    Stardock don’t seem to have a problem with that, as others have mentioned.

    Steam IS certainly also DRM, and does add-value to the consumer particularly in comparison to this approach. But it’s still a troubling trend. New Zealand is a country where significant population centers don’t have good access to broadband, and others without much beyond dialup. The requirement to be online to install a game has caused Problems for myself and people I know.

    I’m more prepared to go with Steam than I am with Spore’s approach, because it’s obvious that Steam will shut down at the same time that Valve declares bankrupcy, so it’s a comparatively safe investment in something the company will be VERY motivated to have stick around – but is still far from perfect.

  12. Surlyben says:

    @caesarbear

    First sale is what lets you, for example, resell used books as many times as you want. If it only allows you to install it three times, then you can’t resell it… You might claim (and EA surely would) that this is all covered in their license agreement, but since the license agreement doesn’t get agreed to until after money has changed hands, a lot of people think that it isn’t valid. As for what a judge might think, I don’t really know. Last I checked, the validity of shrinkwrapped licenses hadn’t been settled, but that was years ago, and I’ve never been a lawyer. (obviously this doesn’t apply to downloads where you agree to the license at the time of purchase, and your country might have different laws)

    What I’m saying is that something that stops you from reselling it might be challengable, and if it matters so much to people, it might be worth talking to a lawyer. The class of affected people is pretty large, after all…

  13. Mustache says:

    They are also breaking the contract when it comes to consideration i.e. quid pro quo.

    we are paying for a game that is essentially a rental without being told.

  14. john t says:

    If the game were awesome, nobody would care about the DRM.

    By almost all accounts, the game is kind of shit, so I think this may really end up hurting them. I’m downloading the mac version now. Since the creature creator wouldn’t even start on my macbook, i imagine this won’t be any better.

  15. grumpy says:

    [I am very angry]

  16. Zeus says:

    While I don’t agree with giving a game 1-star if you haven’t even played it…

    …I think we can all agree that Spore deserves a 1-star rating after you’ve installed it three times.

    Once you’ve installed it “too many times”, it becomes a coaster, every bit as useless as a game that simply refuses to work out of the box. And any game that refuses to work deserves 1-star. Right?

  17. Lh'owon says:

    Zeus, I believe you have to call EA after three installs, after which it gets reactivated.

    Which I completely agree is draconian bullshit that treats paying customers like criminals on home detention, but it is not the same as making the game a coaster.

  18. Zeus says:

    Okay, not a coaster. More like it’s impounded by the EA secret police.

    But I can’t help but think how much this reminds me of the Red Ring of Death fiasco. What’s the difference between “Spore” breaking down and an Xbox 360 breaking down? A longer wait to get your 360 working again? Only this is by design, not oversight.

    They actually want this to happen.

    It’s insane.

  19. Trousers says:

    @Ravenger

    “Have dual authentication. If you have an internet connection active, the game authenticates via the net. If your internet connection isn’t active, it asks for the DVD and does a standard DVD check. No activation limits, no messing about, simple and flexible, and also allows people to play without the DVD in the drive.”

    I have no sympathy for EA or anyone defending spore seeing as I’ve had RAM problems ever since I installed it ( in addition I also think it’s terribly dull), however, that suggestion is the most reasonable thing I’ve read in this thread (and I tried to read through all the comments).

    Like everyone else has said, the amazon rating is one of the few ways the critics can actually get their point across without being overwhelmingly ignored, so I see no good reason to criticize these tactics.

    Someone said something along the line’s of “Gamespot, 1up, and IGN are a game reviewing website, however Amazon is selling you a product, and there is no reason not to include everything associated with the product in the review, instead of just how fun the game is”.

    I completely agree, I find it disturbing that Amazon UK and Gamespot are deleting all reviews related to only the DRM issue, when that is something that is completely a part of the product.

    EDIT: especially when gamespot doesn’t sell the games, therefore why should they care what the reader reviews state, so long as they are a review of the product?

    sporegate anyone? = o

    PPS: I’m still incredibly pissed that my (legitsorz) copy of Mercs 2 didn’t include my native (and common) resolution of 1680 x 1050 (or a fucking tutorial with key bindings help instead of icons), so I may seem a little biased or spiteful :)

  20. Esha says:

    I picked up Spore a few days ago almost on impulse after something Kieron said, and I’ve grown to love it and it’s become a new addiction (damn you, Kieron!). The ability to shape life into exactly the kinds of things I’d want to see is special, and half the problem I have with the majority of games out there is the lack of imagination and the terribly boring things I’m forced to play. In Spore, I chose to play a shamantic Dragon race and I fly around space in a retrofitted Galleon, that’s highly entertaining and something I’m sure I won’t see repeated elsewhere.

    Plus, turnabout is fair play. “It is the evil of Man, they come for us with their mechanical machinations and their brainwashed beasts, we must drive them back!”

    …where was I?

    Oh yes.

    The only problem I have with the DRM thing really is that I don’t trust SecuROM. I don’t trust any company who’d propose the things they tend to propose (and anyone who’s read up on the SecuROM specifications will know what I’m talking about here), and at the end of the day I’d much sooner trust a known cracking group like Reloaded (love those guys) rather than a system of supreme shadiness such as SecuROM.

    Is that a problem? I don’t know. At least the cracks exist, that’s a good thing. I just wish I knew it was alright to crack a game that I’d legally bought, because from my point of view groups like Reloaded are heroes. Without their efforts I would never have let Spore touch my system, and EA wouldn’t have had my money (just as I avoided every Star-Force game back in the day, and I really wanted some of those!).

    I definitely don’t agree with people being militant about this though, that’s just bloody stupid. It’s nerd rage, and I’ve seen enough nerd rage to last me a lifetime. I’m hoping that eventually I’ll come across a cache of calm nerds who’ll herald in the future of online communities, berobed in their Linux symbol laden smocks. But until then… nerd rage.

    And the problem is that those who’re opposed to SecuROM on a more technical level–i.e., anyone who has even the most basic understanding of computers just shouldn’t trust them as far as they can throw them–is washed out in the din, and that’s a shame because the biggest problems with SecuROM are technical.

    The only thing I take umbrage at is someone trying to achieve a foothold scenario on my computer, for whatever reason. This leaves SecuROM (much the same as Star-Force) in the same camp as script-kiddies, because really they all just want the same thing, but the motives are different. And why should anyone trust something that dishonestly wants to gain a foothold situation on a person’s computer?

    So what I’m going to do is keep cracking my games and simply ignore games that cracks aren’t available for, and really I’ll leave it at that because as long as the cracks exist, that’s a viable solution for me. I just wish the big companies new how much the cracking teams were actually their friends, as opposed to their enemies. They’re removing a system that doesn’t work and opening the door to business they wouldn’t have otherwise had. That’s a great thing.

    Eventually, I’m hoping for a system like Steam to become dominant, but one less restricted. I say this because I realise that when battling against corporations who’re entirely about the money (and I really hope that won’t get horribly misconstrued, even though it likely will), you can’t convince them to opt for a system that might mean less money for them. So it’s got to be something that will–at least for them–look like it’s assuring them more customers.

    The ideal solution for me would be one that used a login server, but anyone on the same IP could login through the same address. This way, a household of networked computers could run on one game (like the days of yore). The only problem I have with Steam at the moment is that if I buy a game on Steam, my roomie can’t give it a spin. Whereas if I buy a game on disc which doesn’t have a system as insane as SecuROM, he could.

    And I’m willing to put money down as a bet that that’ll be the eventual outcome that most people will settle on and become happy with as some kind of middle-ground. It won’t be soon, and given how stubborn companies can be it might even take a decade. But that’s what will likely happen.

    Until then, there are cracks. If there aren’t cracks, don’t buy the game. Unfortunately, in this World, money speaks.

    I prefer Draicki – where money is considered a pointless allusion to the wonder of life in general, and a trapping of lesser minds who aren’t able to embrace their fellow beings in a grand community who endeavour to press forward on every possible ground of knowledge and culture, for the greater good.

    <3 Spore.

  21. Esha says:

    s/same addresss/same account/ – missed that one on the proof-read, probably because it wasn’t actually a typo, just an incorrect word.

    I also didn’t exactly notice how much alliteration slipped into that post, as it was quite a bit. Oh well.

  22. Trousers says:

    @esha

    Thank you for making some sense out of this and then proceeding to blow my mind.

  23. Stromko says:

    I found the game overall to be a bit deeper than I expected, though I had curbed my expectations a bit over the years. There’s a lot of funny little limitations that make no sense, and the space game is rather imbalanced (80% being pestered by random events with dire consequences, 20% free-roaming fun).

    The rest of the game though, really saves it for me. I spent 20 hours in various editors making the Thraddash Culture 19 juust right, complete with solving most of my problems with weapons of mass destruction and brutal attrition warfare!

    The only thing that occurs to me about this DRM fiasco is that Spore was cracked and working 5 days before it was available in the U.S. I still bought it because I wanted the online features and after a few days of play I decided it was a really awesome game that deserved praise, but it would be easy for people to just put a bunch of their creations in a .rar and distribute that to share with pirate users.

    I am a little anxious that after a few PC upgrades they’re going to invalidate my copy of the game, but with it being so damned easy to pirate I’m not THAT worried; by time that happens I’ll have downloaded tens of thousands of things with my legal copy and can use the ‘illegal’ copy without missing out on much. I’d call that Fair Use frankly, I buy a game, I own a game, it’s mine forever — F**K EA, but hey it’s a great game anyway.

    The only flaw offhand is a camera system that feels very different at every phase, requiring you to rewire yourself. The way your view twists and flexes around while the minimap remains static makes navigation a pretzel-brained chore. And like I said there’s all those little peculiar limitations, like not being able to use the ‘Creature Tweaker’ on sentient species, or interact with pre-space civilizations in a meaningful fashion, and only have access to 3 – 4 rows of mouthparts based on your diet in the creature phase( even if a carnivore mouth would look better for your omnivorous creature) — it’s these limitations, as well as events imposed on you on a constant basis, that make Spore’s largest and most open-ended phase (Space) the most buggy, incomplete, and broken phase.

    If they’d just take the brakes off, Spore’s different phases couldn’t possibly be called mini-games.. but as it stands right now, your actions are funneled down into as few possibilities as they can get away with, maybe to cut down on coding and development costs, or leave things open for expansions and sequels.

    Also the collector’s edition was 20$ extra, and all you get is standard tchotchkes, ridiculous.

  24. Esha says:

    @Trousers

    You’re quite welcome.

    All it really comes down to though is that DRM is today’s square wheel, and considering that I’m not a person of great business acumen I know I’m not the person who’ll show the World that the wheel can be circular, thus improving expedience, efficiency, and improving the state of happiness amongst The People (or at least those that have to pull the cart/carriage).

    Every system has its own square wheel to start out with, and it needs to be recognised as just that. It’s not something that any moral practices should enter into, it’s just a square wheel. The only thing for one to do is bide their time and make sure that they aren’t one of those pulling the aforementioned cart, eh?

  25. RandomEngy says:

    Do the negative reviews about the DRM unfairly skew the rating of the game? Yeah. Has this negatively affected sales? Almost certainly. Just because it wasn’t prevented from ever taking #1 doesn’t mean the tactic didn’t change the number of sales.

    But all that’s not the point. The reviews are a real form of internet protest: something that’s noticed directly by people interested in the game and that’s now being picked up by major news outlets. If you write an angry blog post and sign an online petition, you’re just reaching the same group of people who already all agree. But this is a protest by nature, it reaches out and makes others notice an injustice. People are genuinely outraged that these measures are looming to erode and possibly destroy a piece of art they want to keep and enjoy for years. They see a future where more of their games are held up by flimsy, invisible strings and they take real action.

    Which is why I think this form of protest is admirable.

  26. perilisk says:

    I don’t know about arguments that DRM is a bad idea — DRM doesn’t just fight piracy (if it fights it at all), it also enables companies to extract more money than would otherwise be legally possible from law-abiding customers.It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t stop a single pirate; if the money brought in from making customers buy more than one copy or buy new copies instead of used copies outweighs the money lost by customers avoiding such products or turning to piracy, it’s still worthwhile.

    I’m not saying that DRM can’t be simple idiocy — just that there’s a difference between a motive (making money) and a rationalization (stopping piracy). Rationalizations are intended for an audience, or your conscience if you have one. Never attribute to stupidity what can plausibly attributed to a combination of malice and misdirection, especially where government or large businesses (or, particularly, both working together) are concerned.

    PS: Unlike games that break due to technical obsolescence, trying to fix a game that broke due to DRM is against the law. The difference does matter.

  27. MichaelW says:

    I agree with the Rock Paper guys – Spore is an excellent game that is getting average reviews because people went into it with the wrong expectations.

    To those who said it’s not a deep game – you’re wrong. It’s not the TYPE of deep game that YOU like but it IS a deep, engaging, entertaining game for those of us who [like Spore].

    The game has higher goals than maths-turbation for nerds – we don’t NEED to micro-manage our cities in Spore because you could end up with 14 billion of them, at which point you’ll be thanking Will Wright for assuming that you’re intelligent and taking the task off you. That, at least in its own way, is reasonably realistic. How many presidents select the buildings that go in their cities? And you’re playing a Galactic Demigod – “realistically” you wouldn’t want more management than the simple 3 building options you have at present.

    The game’s meta concepts come across stronger and are taken on more deeply thanks to the enjoyable creative aspects and thanks specifically to the fact that all of your mental processing power is not employed in the minutiae of system management – you have enough going on to keep you interested and those big ideas that are pushing at your cerebrum in the background make their own connections and force their way into your consciousness thanks to Will Wright’s intelligent (game) design. He’s always been good at that and he’s perfected it for the masses here.

    So yes, you can be a so-called “hardcore gamer” and go and sulk in your corner about all the “casual” players who are making your past time […] more of a popular pursuit but don’t cling to this belief that you have exclusive domain of “intellect” just because you like games that choke you with detail (I’m referring to comments like: “this has been dumbed down for the masses”). I used to be a “hardcore gamer” <— please insert irony here) and now I have a life so I welcome games that focus on giving me enjoyment with minimal game mechanic and interface convolutions rather than expecting me to learn the equivalent of a 747 control panel at the cost of entertainment.

    However, I DON’T agree with the Rock Paper guys as far as the DRM issue. Not everyone who posted one star reviews on Amazon was an anti-DRM fanatic. I’m sure it started out that way but thanks to the initial press it received on the ‘starter’ blogs it picked up interest from the rest of us and we all started posting 1 star reviews. I think as long as you stated in your review that you rated the game itself (as 5, in my case) but were rating the product overall as 1 star because of the fact that you want to raise the profile of EA’s greed, then I think that is most definitely the forum to do it. It’s gotten a lot of attention and I think that is needed on this DRM issue.

    I’m not a fanatic campaigner of any kind (I still bought the game; my friend – who is a big Will fan – refuses to, until EA sort the DRM) but I am angry that the anti-consumer actions of EA and other companies slip under the radar as far as the average consumer goes and only issues like this will make any difference (as small as it may be). Just because you – Rock Paper guy xD – and the rest of us in the gaming community are very familiar with DRM doesn’t mean anything to the general public – and for a game of the potential mass appeal and far reach of Spore, this is probably the best time to raise the issue so that they start to become aware of it.

    (BTW – I love Rock Paper – why didn’t I discover you a long time ago? (only been a reader for the last 4 or so months))

  28. Steve says:

    If people are so lazy that they base their decision to purchase a game solely on a star rating, they deserve whatever happens to them.

  29. AbyssUK says:

    Congrats RPS you’ve reached the internet highs on having to add a messages per page viewing limit… i’d say keep it lower than 100 messages per page… and perhaps add message trees ala Slashdot. Because frankly to read this mess above and try to find the replys is just too hard.

  30. elmo says:

    DRM is needed. I am actually happy when a game has a draconic DRM or it takes the scene groups 2-3 weeks to get a working crack for it because this leaves the devs a window to sell their game without the availability of pirate copies on the net.
    I don`t hate piracy, i don`t hate pirates and i don`t think they are thiefs but let the ppl that made it get some sales so they will make another one and put the PC industry in a good light.
    As long as i buy the game i can live with any type of DRM. If that DRM really pisses me of than i`m off to torrents. So i am with Alec on this one: let EA get the money, don`t boycott the game just because they are trying to sell their 4 years and millions of $$ investments
    EA is as greedy as Activion or Codemasters is. Activision buys a cash cow. Codemasters sue consumers after demanding $$ from them. EA just protect their games. Live with it. Did the DVD have protection ? It did, you could not copy it till someone cracked the prot. Do the PS3 games have protection? They do and nobody is complaining. It`s normal to try to protect your values. I don`t understand why the fuss.

  31. tentacleraep says:

    I finally get it, DRM is here to make the public angry at the pirates that cause companies to DRM so that the public will create lynch-mobs that will run around and hang all the pirates and thereby put an end to piracy.

    Or, that is at least as conceivable as some of the reasons i have heard from the companies.

  32. Shadout says:

    elmo says:
    DRM is needed. I am actually happy when a game has a draconic DRM or it takes the scene groups 2-3 weeks to get a working crack for it because this leaves the devs a window to sell their game without the availability of pirate copies on the net.

    But the point is the draconic DRM doesnt stop the pirates for 2-3 weeks.

  33. Shadowmancer says:

    @ elmo spore was pirated straight away all people have to do is input a random cd key and block spore by their firewall and they can play for free, got my copy today from the shops was shocked that no where in either the box or installation it makes any reference to the drm at all.

  34. Grant says:

    Fine, don’t buy the game yourself or crack it if you’re not happy with the restrictions and privacy violations. Write to EA or trading standards, blog about it, demand there’s a big warning sticker on the box.

    Ha ha ha. You don’t think they’d like those things? But EA is not going to give that to them. There is no negotiation between companies like EA and its critics, or at least not until EA thinks those critics have something to barter with.

    The 1-star rating is a bartering chip. “We’ll vote your games down to 1 star on Amazon if they ship with DRM” is a pretty powerful message.

    So while I kind of understand what your complaint is, you should realize that for a DRM CRUSADER, it doesn’t matter at all. They’re far more interested in promoting social change and protecting their rights online than they are in the sales of a single game.

  35. Oily says:

    @ Jim Rosignol
    that started with HL2 and has continued with Bioshock and Mass Effect

    Are you saying you missed out on these games because of the way their DRM worked?

    I missed out on HL2 as the DRM stopped me from playing it, once they removed the DRM, the botched Miles Sound System bug, kept me away for another 2 months. By the time I had a properly working game I’d had enough waiting, so I uninstalled it and left it at that. I keep looking for the Orange box to get cheap on 360.

    Played Mass effect on 360, tried the demo of Bioshock, didn’t get on with it.

    I actually bought Spore, (galactic edition) upgraded my PC to play it actually, even bought the book. the Girl in Game who sold it to me told me it had maps for all the planets. I didn’t have the heart to tell her it was procedurally generated, and randomly seeded, so she was lying through her teeth, and/or stupid.

    Then I discovered it had DRM, so I downloaded it last night and I’ll use that instead. I’m amused that the protest caught on as well as it did. Ah the oxygen of publicity!

    Yo Flub!

  36. Shadowmancer says:

    @ Jim Rosignol
    that started with HL2 and has continued with Bioshock and Mass Effect

    Are you saying you missed out on these games because of the way their DRM worked?

    Half life 2 never had drm it had steam since you have to register the game to an account but it still got pirated allong with the orange box on release.

    @ Oily “even bought the book”

    which one the strat guide or the artbook, I got the both the galactic edition and the artbook today, games good but at the end of the creature stage 2 epic creatures both raided my nest and killed everyone it was funny seen no penis monsters do far but one ufo.

  37. Esha says:

    What I don’t understand though is why people would even put up with the online activation. I buy my games (and I have the receipts and boxes to prove that) but I always use cracks from known groups/sites to open up my games. I’ve never once had a virus or malware, and thanks to the fact that I can quickly clear DRM off my lappy it’s probably more stable than most computers are.

    I agree that the online activations are bad, but why embrace them at all? Bioshock was cracked before it was released (if I recall) by Reloaded, and that worked perfectly. Mass Effect was cracked, also by Reloaded and that was great too (there was some FUD spread around but I completed the game with the crack that I was using), same goes for Spore and I’m messing around with the space stage of that right now.

    The best form of protest is simply to not use the activation system, as opposed to not buying games you don’t like. If there were no cracks available, like in those dark days of Star-Force, then I’d be with everyone on clammouring for the removal of The Ultimate Evil (damn Spathi).

    I’m just curious why more people aren’t using cracks and why it’s not a more widely accepted thing – if you’ve bought the game then what’s the problem? Is it just the fear of viruses and malware? I’m just curious, that’s all.

  38. Esha says:

    Instead of not buying games you do like, rather. Oops.

    Note to self: Get an account eventually, mgiht be able to edit typos.

  39. ron says:

    the point isnt to make DRM an issue with the general public, but to drive down sales enough so that in the future game makers wont put DRM in their games.

    duh.

  40. SixStringSamurai says:

    seriously, who likes this game? maybe it’s just me not being impressed with the barebones mix of different genres into one game, but i suppose it’s good for a semi-educational childs game.

  41. Tei says:

    Forget the DRM word.
    Only 3 installs, dude, 3 installs. Thats bad.

    And about the game. It deserve 3 stars out of 5, and 2 of these stars are because the editors (Graphic editors), the other one is for the space one, … I like 4x games.

    Othat than that. Is a very bad game. It can be very good for some people, maybe you, bur overall, is crap.

  42. mister k says:

    Broadly speaking the issue here isn’t whether DRM is right or wrong, but whether it is correct to protest against a product you believe has something vile attached to it by reviewing it badly on amazon. My answer… well yes. If you truly believe that DRM is that awful I see no harm in leaving a one star review, because EA will keep using this set up if it thinks it is not damaging sales. I’ve been put off spore by DRM, which makes me sad, because I would really like to pick it up.

  43. Txiasaeia says:

    If anybody managed to get down this far…

    I didn’t buy Bioshock because of the DRM. I’m still not going to buy the bloody game until they completely rip it out. Same with Mass Effect, and it looks like the same with Spore. If this trend towards more and more DRM becomes more commonplace, I hope that computer gaming dies a slow and hideous death. My Wii uses DRM, sure, but I can play my copy of No More Heroes on more than three fucking Wii systems without having to call up Nintendo and beg them for another activation.

  44. Kevin says:

    I for one stopped buying PC games a number of years ago when I learned about the corporate malware that comes bundled on most if not all of them these days. I don’t want hidden processes running on my computer in the background needlessly consuming resources and opening me up to exploits. I don’t want hidden device drivers being installed on MY computer without MY explicit permission. If they want to use CD-Keys to stop the copying of games, that’s fine with me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad EA is doing this to their customers. This is partly because I’m an evil person, but I also compare the deployment of increasingly invasive forms of shackleware like this to a rubber-band being stretched further and further. Eventually the band will snap and there will be a backlash from consumers against the shackleware. The storm of bad reviews is evidence to support my analogy. This is why I hope for more and MORE restrictions! The more these companies irritate their customers, the sooner the customers will irrupt with rage.

  45. Paul Moloney says:

    “My Wii uses DRM, sure, but I can play my copy of No More Heroes on more than three fucking Wii systems without having to call up Nintendo and beg them for another activation.”

    Why exactly do you need to play your PC games on more than 3 systems? How many PCs do you have, exactly?

    Personally, I find having to swap console game discs in and out far more annoying than any PC DRM scheme I’ve encountered so far.

    As for the thought that _you want_ PC gaming to die and be left with kiddy shovelware systems like the Wii, I find that tragic. And I _own_ a Wii – which I pretty much use for Wii Fit, RE4, and not much else. Looking at a typical Wii game retail section is one of the more depressing experiences known to man – all that artistic and technical expertise devoted to mindless inoffensive pap.

    P.

  46. ripclaw says:

    First of all: woah, that’s one long comment thread.
    Second: One thing I am missing in the discussion: the anti-one-star group is saying that not only is this behaviour unfair, but to use a “proper” way to voice your anger over DRM publicly. So far I have not seen where this public forum is supposed to be?
    Gamesite forums? Nobody outside that particular community cares, neither EA nor the general public.
    Newspapers? Don’t care.
    Games magazines? Live off ads, are mostly read by “core” gamers who knew it all to begin with.
    Quite honestly, as unfair as these reviews are to the developers, who are just pawns in the whole game, Amazon is one of the few sites that is public and general interest enough to actually have some sort of effect. I can see both points: from the developers view this is unfair. But why blame the protesting users? Blame the publisher! This is like people protesting on the street against e.g. layoffs and all you guys can see is that “those idiots are blocking a perfectly good road”.
    Plus: just one account means that if I and for example my kids or wife want to play on our own account, we need to purchase a separate copy. How nice.

  47. Tei says:

    I feel a great disturbance in the Force. As if 1600 voices suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced

  48. Krupo says:

    It’s interesting that amazon doesn’t use the vote re-weighing formula tools that imdb.com has deployed, eh?

  49. Mungrul says:

    Just to chime in with an additional, this has spilled over to the recently released Crysis Warhead Amazon page now.
    I’ll be interested to see Crytek’s opinions on piracy this time around considering there’s already a cracked version of Warhead available on popular torrent sites.

  50. Paul Moloney says:

    “Just to chime in with an additional, this has spilled over to the recently released Crysis Warhead Amazon page now.”

    Oh well, Crytek have announced they’re heading for Console Land now, so PC zealots will have no fear that they are sullied in future by impure DRM restrictions. Of course, they won’t be sullied with any games eithers, but that’s what a scorched-earth policy will get you.

    P.