Spore Spawns? Kinda.

By Kieron Gillen on December 19th, 2008 at 9:11 am.

Too early to get a new screenshot, methinks.

EA have released a deauthorization tool for their much debated DRM system for Spore. By running it, you get back one of your five installations instantly, even if you haven’t actually uninstalled it. If you try to run it, it’ll require to be reauthorized, but this means that abstractly you can now install Spore on as many machines as you want – it’s just that you can only run five of them at once. Hmm.


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  1. Dreamhacker says:

    Wow….generous of them. It was only three months late this time! I bet they’ll send my Trabant any year now!

  2. Ian says:

    This will somehow make them them even more hated.

  3. Heliocentric says:

    They are treating the symptom. No thank you i’m quite happy with the creature creator. The free one mind you.

  4. ChaosSmurf says:



  5. James G says:

    I shall praise them for taking a step in the right direction, as otherwise if we continue to spit and foam at them then what reason would they have for improving? (Still don’t have Spore, but that’s not a DRM thing and more down to the fact the game didn’t really appeal to me.)

  6. SwiftRanger says:

    Spore was fine, you just have to subscribe to the PC Gamer spodecast to ‘get it’ if you’re lazy. Can’t wait till the space addon comes out. Good thing they ‘solved’ this issue now.

  7. Bobsy says:

    This has made me more confused.

  8. GibletHead2000 says:

    I’m happy about this. It’s been sitting unplayed on my HDD for a while, while I shuffle things around to make room for the likes of Fallout3 and GTA4 (which, suprisingly it seems, works fine for me!)

    Now I can uninstall it without feeling I’m losing something.

  9. itsallcrap says:

    Well, it’s bad they the DRM was so over-the-top in the first place, but they don’t deserve more whinging now they’ve sorted it. The past being the past, this is A Good Thing.

  10. Ravenger says:

    I’d be careful with activating/deactivating Spore too many times in a short period, as it may lock the game out anyway as it could think the CD-key has been pirated. I’ve read about other games with activations doing that, even if they don’t use activation limits.

    This is a step forward for EA, but I don’t think we’d have even got this if users hadn’t created such a fuss. Now can I have de authorisation tools for my copies of Mass Effect and Warhead please?

    I still won’t be buying any more games that have limited activations though, due to the possibility of being locked out. I had a scare recently when my PC stopped booting into windows, and I realised I might have lost an activation for both Mass Effect and Warhead. I was not pleased. Luckily I managed to get it working again, but it reinforced my distaste for these schemes – if my machine breaks I don’t want the additional hassle getting games with these nasty DRM schemes working as well as getting my computer working.

    At least with Steam all I have to do is reinstall the app, and download my games again. No worries about having to call several different premium rate lines just to beg to be allowed to reinstall my games.

  11. cliffski says:

    what kind of people have really needed to reinstall spore more than 5 times since release anyway?
    wtf do people DO to their PC’s that mean they need to do that?

  12. Evangel says:

    cliffski, some just mess with their Windows install too much (me), some change their hardware a little too often to try out their brothers shiny new graphics card while he’s at work (me), some just clean their PC every few months so it doesn’t accumulate too much shit. Throw in an occasional error when doing any of those things, maybe you didn’t get your Windows install just the way you liked it after installing Spore, you reinstall Windows. Maybe you fried your RAM when changing the hardware.

    There’s any number of reasons to use up 5 installs over a period of a few months.

  13. Catastrophe says:

    Is that really the issue though Cliffski?

  14. rocketman71 says:

    I’d like a tool to deauthorize EA, please

  15. Jesse J McLaughlin says:

    I tried selling my copy of the game within a week of purchase. The buyer contacted me and said that they couldn’t install because the key was already associated with my EA Games account. EA told me that I would need to give the buyer my EA Games account information.


    Why not just remove my account association so that the buyer can install? Why have a DRM install limit when it’s linked to an online account anyway?

    I’ve quit buying EA products because of this. If it was possible to resell, then at least I could get part of my money back. As is, I’m stuck with a crappy product.

  16. manu says:

    But do we still need the horrible “EA download manager” to get and install patches ?

  17. mrrobsa says:

    I still wouldn’t buy this until I am free to install/uninstall at my leisure.

  18. Azhrarn says:

    Now if only they could release this thing for Mass Effect and Red Alert 3, then I can do some more research and maybe buy those as they do look quite nice.

  19. Rei Onryou says:

    @Cliffski: My issue with restricting installs is that 5-10 years down the line I will still want to be able to play my games. In a year, I won’t need to install a game again unless something goes wrong and a format is in order. However, when getting a new PC every few years, or a new laptop/second machine, installs start to add up.

    I have some games I would have installed more than 10 times. And in 5-10 years, I don’t want to have to remember that I need to phone EA who will be just as surprised as I am phoning to install an old game.

  20. Nosferatu Man says:

    @Azhrarn: Deauthorization is in Red Alert 3 already – in the 1.05 patch I believe. Bizarrely not for Mass Effect yet.

    What worries me most about this limited installs system is that nobody seems to know quite how it works – not even the developers/publishers (i.e. does an uninstall free up an authorization, how much hardware do you need to change before you need another one, and so on). As a consequence a lot of myths and misinformation are flying around.

    I read on the Mass Effect forum that the EA server runs on chicken blood and voodoo and you can get an extra authorization by licking a toad while slathering your torso in goose fat.

  21. qrter says:

    what kind of people have really needed to reinstall spore more than 5 times since release anyway?
    wtf do people DO to their PC’s that mean they need to do that?

    Besides what Evangel and Rei Onryou have already mentioned, how about installs that go awry? I’ve had that plenty of times with several games, over the years.

    A part of PC gaming is that quite a lot of things can go wrong, which is why a lot of people slag off PC gaming in general. Something like limited installs only makes PC gaming more unappetising and ungainly.

  22. RichP says:

    EA’s DRM would bother me more if EA made any PC games worth playing.

  23. Bobsy says:

    what kind of people have really needed to reinstall spore more than 5 times since release anyway?
    wtf do people DO to their PC’s that mean they need to do that?

    This is like asking “Who DOESN’T have broadband these days?” There’s no one single reason, just lots of individual circumstances which can mean

  24. TheSombreroKid says:

    a deauthorisation tool for mass effect would mean didly squat to me now as i have used all my installs on one pc though regular formating as is my right, i don’t want a deauthorisation tool for mass effect i want the limit removed and until they abandon install limits i will always chose the superior distributor if you know what i mean

  25. malkav11 says:

    Still doesn’t remove online activation, therefore still isn’t a fix. Anyway, even if the only issue were install limits, this is the sort of thing that should be available immediately upon release *and* built into the uninstall.

  26. Scandalon says:

    but this means that abstractly you can now install Spore on as many machines as you want – it’s just that you can only run five of them at once. Hmm.

    As opposed to my copies of HL2, TF2, Portal, and Peggle, that I can install on as many machines as I want, and can only run one copy at once.

    Yes, obviously I can’t DL Spore at my leisure, and I trust Valve more than EA, but still, I’m just sayin’…

  27. jackanator says:

    Finally, EA giving up to piracy.

  28. Clovis says:

    Is cliffski required to ask that question every time this issue comes up?? I bought the game, so I should be able to install it as many times as I want. Pretty simple.

  29. Gap Gen says:

    Well, most EULAs state that you don’t actually own the game, merely the license to run it. Legally, EA are entitled to restrict the number of times you install it, no matter how good an idea it is.

  30. SPLastic says:

    Everyone is understandably angry at EA for imposing the DRM on Spore, restricting installs to five and completely obliterating re-sale value (which EA was probably aiming for – you can’t buy Spore second-hand).
    But I am more angry with Maxis for hyping the game up for so many years and then releasing a horrible combination: a game whose controls are too complicated for children, with gameplay too dull for adults.

    Anyhow, EA’s already shot itself with the release of Spore – releasing a semi-fix for a long abandoned problem is pointless. As is releasing any further expansions for the game.

  31. jalf says:

    Is cliffski required to ask that question every time this issue comes up?? I bought the game, so I should be able to install it as many times as I want. Pretty simple.

    Or even simpler. “It didn’t say on the box that I only got X installs, so I don’t want to be limited to X installs”. That’s the most ridiculous part, the way they know full well that their DRM is unacceptable, so they *try to hide it*. I could live with it if it said clearly on the box that it comes with DRM that does so and so, limits you in these ways, and lets you reinstall so many times. That way, people could look at the box, decide “nah, that’s too restrictive, I won’t buy it”, instead of only finding out *after* you bought the game.

  32. jalf says:

    oh and cliffski: For spore, I doubt the install limit would be a problem. I doubt I’ll dig that game up again. But for games that are actually *good*? I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve reinstalled DoW since it came out in what, 2004? I even regularly reinstall old DOS games. Fallout has probably been installed a good 15 times so far. Monkey Island too. To me, limiting the number of times it can be installed and claiming it’s not a big deal only signifies one thing: You don’t believe in your own game. You don’t believe that the game is good enough to play again once you’ve finished it! And you want me to pay for that? No, I’ll pass. I’d rather buy games that its developers/publishers had faith in, and actually *expected* people to replay over and over.

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