EA: Just One Spore Account Per Copy, Despite Game Manual’s Claim Otherwise

Already plagued by consumer backlash over Spore’s ridiculous copy protection scheme, Electronic Arts faces renewed criticism from buyers who have discovered that only one user account can be created per copy.

The Consumerist explains:

EA’s DRM spyware on the long-awaited game Spore turns out to have an added side-effect: if you live in a household with multiple players, you all have to share the same account. The game’s manual says otherwise, but after repeated queries on the EA forum, a company spokesperson confirmed this.


That’s right—if you’re in a household with several potential Spore players, and you want each of them to have their own account, you will have to buy multiple copies of the game.

As The Consumerist points out, page 52 of the Spore manual (see pic) says that buyers of the game may have multiple user accounts, a common practice. The DRM, however, apparently precludes that from happening. An EA rep on the Spore forums termed it a "misprint" in the manual.

GP: With good – but not great – reviews, will the game that was to have been designer Will Wright’s masterpiece ultimately be better known for EA’s ham-handed attempt to tighten the screws on game consumers?

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  1. 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 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 http://www.byteshield.net/byteshield_whitepaper_0005.pdf


  2. Anonymous ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    My respect for EA dwindles every passing day. From what I hear: their sports titles are glitchy/bugged/freeze prone, Mercs 2 is plauged with bugs, and now this? EA is officially the @$$hole of the gaming world.

  3. Anonymous says:

    im also dissatisfied with how EA handdled spore. Honestly at first im not too mad about the DRM but the 3x installation made really pissed at EA. First of all i really live far from any EA offices. Im in manila, i bought an original game of spore what if my cpu for some reason gets f***** up and had to reinstall the game 3x then bye bye spore. i cannot call the hotline because it will be more expensive than buying a new game. we know emailsa isnt really the best way to communicate complaints to them because of the slow replies. There should be a petition to get rid of the limited installations…

    Honestly i dont buy original games that much unless i like it. As for spore i bought one waited for it a long time, once it was released i bought it instantaneously then just finding out that theres a 3 installation limit. i felt i was robbed by the F**** up EA. They treat the original buyers like criminals and honestly its not the ryt way to treat their paying customers. They should release a patch or update to take out the 3 limit rule… because it really is bothersome.

    I hope EA gets sued big time. Someone whould stand up against them and kick their big corporate A*s*es.

    As for will wright’s creation i think its really fun but not upto par with other games of his, and i think EA is also responsible for not making it a success in sales because of EA’s stupid DRM

  4. Sai says:

    The copy protection didn’t even work, it got cracked and torrented the same day it came out in Australia. Really, I love the game, I bought it legitimately, I even pre-ordered it, but this makes me mad. The game is notably NOT the same without the smooth streaming downloads, and what if I want to share it with a family member in my household? They aren’t going to get the same experience, and if we share the same account our creations are going to pile on top of each other and become cluttered. Not to mention I doubt it’d let two people sign into the same account at the same time anyway.

    This particularly effects families with children, shouldn’t mom, dad, brother and sister have their own accounts for their own unique game experience? Instead of calling it a "misprint" (which now they could be sued for false advertising) why don’t they send a patch that fixes this problem and allows multiple accounts. If their copy protection actually manages to be useful it should be able to tell the copy is legit.

  5. Mediocrates says:

    PC gaming is dying.  DRM is one of the things killing it, and EA’s hands are extraordinarily bloody.  With a console, I don’t have to worry about compatability issues, software/hardware issues (it’s not an XBOX 360) or DRM.  My worst problem is finding a game that actually lives up to its hype; but the market’s growing, and so presumably are the developers’ skills.

    I might get a copy of Starcraft II for my Mac, but that’s it.  So long, PC gaming.  We had a lot of fun, but you just can’t deliver anymore; and I’m fed up with your numerous issues.

  6. Susi says:

    This game is cute and fun, but if you haven’t bought a copy, don’t worry.  Either wait it out til it’s on a console or just don’t bother.  For all the crap that EA’s pulling, you’re better off just not getting involved with any of it.  I was a little disappointed in the game itself after all the buildup.  It IS fun, it’s just not as robust and involved as I (along with others) had hoped.

    Way to go EA.  Way to screw it up HARDCORE.

  7. Nekojin ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    This game was a must-buy for me and my partner – until this came to light. This one detail, more than anything else, is what will make us say, "No way, EA," for this game and any others that have similar setups. But forcing us to buy two copies of the game so that we can both play and have separate, individual accounts is only one part of it…

    When I buy a book, I have the right to turn around to sell it to someone else when I’m done reading it. Legally, I’m allowed to do the same with software, too. But this DRM completely shuts down my legal ability to sell Spore to someone else if I decide I’m done with it. Which is, of course, part of the point… big-name game makers have long hated the secondary market, because they don’t get a cut of it. Never mind that they’re not entitled to one.

    So, count this as one more lost sale to EA. And no, I’m not pirating Spore either… I’m just encouraging others to stay away from EA.  But you know what makes this REALLY absurd? I ran a pair of Spore Creature Creator tournaments at the gaming convention I went to a few weekends ago. That won’t be happening again.

  8. Anonymous ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Just remembering download numbers on torrent sites.  If I remember right at least.  Don’t quote me on it though…  I could have sworn Sims 2 had 5,000 in the first week, and I am seeing over 20,000 for Spore….  even if more people are pirating since 2004, I doubt it is that much more on average, and I doubt the site has casually grown that much too…  especially since the Apartment Life expansion is only at 1,000.

    Not saying I didn’t pay for Sims 2, I just didn’t want to put the disk in all the time…  Rather keep them in the closet in their cases.  Between creating my own iso or downloading, I figured I might as well be lazy, especially since I had just flushed the computer.

    I am hoping for a huge backlash to go after EA hard, and not just complain.

  9. chadachada(123) says:

    Never bought it, don’t plan on buying it, but if they lied like this, then that’s False Advertising, which is worth a good lawsuit.

  10. chadachada(123) says:

    Are you suggesting that you need an internet connection to install the game? If so, then no go. Otherwise, I agree with you.

  11. GrimCW ( User Karma: -3 ) says:

    even though i’d like to know where those stats come from, i don’t doubt it one bit.

    as i’ve said before this DRM is bullox, you get to pay full price to RENT the game. god forbid you have a system problem, or upgrade at all and then want to play your game again. cause post 3 installs (or 1 if you have an error like i did in Crysis) you either have to rebuy the game or fight for weeks on end with EA to reset your install count.

    atm i have a ticket in thats been IGNORED for 5 days to reset my mass effect installs. sad thing is, they won’t actually reset them at all, they just credit you 1 more (and iirc lock out any other copies that you may have if you own more than one system) i’ve updated the ticket daily even to keep them aware i AM watching, and i CAN tell time. their site says "24 hours" for a response time. though i bet this spore issue has them bogged down big time no less 🙂 I’m one happy disattisfied customer at this point, knowing the boycott of EA grows so fast over 1 game, it took me 3 of these DRM infected games to crack and stop.

  12. Anonymous says:

    GP: "With good – but not great – reviews, will the game that was to have been designer Will Wright’s masterpiece ultimately be better known for EA’s ham-handed attempt to tighten the screws on game consumers?"

    I think that’s already happened.  If the game had been better it might have got a bit more of a free ride over the draconian DRM issue, but since it’s merely an adequate game it’s getting its reputation from the misplaced hype and the disaster that is its DRM.

    Of course, it didn’t exactly turn out to be Will Wright’s masterpiece anyway – clearly it has been significantly dumbed down from what it could have been.  It’s just the latest in a long line of games that were supposed to be masterpieces, but which turned out mediocre.  It seems like there’s some universal rule that states that any game that’s meant to be a masterpice cannot actually turn out to be one.  It’s like Freelancer all over again.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Unfortunately, things like this will only stop when either EA starts losing a large amount of money because of it or huge backlash is felt publicly.

    If you want EA to stop using underhanded tricks like this everyone has to stop buying their games or everyone has to rally together publicly and start a campaign to stop this crap.

    I can tell you right now, that was no misprint in the booklet.  This isn’t the first time EA has put out a game and did not disclose the truth about what exactly you are purchasing and if people don’t stop and confront EA on it, "misprints" will continute to happen just to get your money.

  14. Anonymous ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, we no say no site of no sort in public.  We lie and say we got it from a friend that is done using it instead.  We dont need to get a perfectly good site shut down…  Wait, never mind, there is 100s of those sites.

  15. Deep Thorn ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I’m with you buddy.  I want to get a whole rally of people together and make this site a location for us to organize.

  16. Saregos ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Please god, PLEASE let this come back and beat EA upside the head.

    Preferably before the release of Red Alert 3.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I bought this game. I love it, but I consider the purchase to be a mistake politically. The next EA game I get, if any, ever, is coming from the PIRATE BAY! The next game I intend to purchase is Fallout 3, which is %100 free of EAids, but still probably doing the DRM nasty. EA: Go suck it, you did it to yourselves.

  18. Time for a Lawsuit says:

     I read the manual saying it was multi account possible, so the DRM wasn’t going to bother me much.  Besides when I’m going to reformat my computer this upcoming month like I do every month. Which then I’m going to start getting pissed.  But getting back to the issue.  I accepted the terms and agreements. Meaning this is a contract with them that I agree to their terms and like me they also have to meet those terms.  

    Since I can not create multiple accounts for spore.  They are not living up to their agreement. Be it a misprint or not it’s time to tell EA they can not take advantage of it’s customers and just try to milk as much money from them as possible.


    Anyone up for class action and take it to them hard?

  19. Anonymous says:

    glad to see i’m not the only one not jumping on the anti-DRM bandwagon.  not that i say its a great thing to have DRM, but i’ve never had any problems with it either

  20. kurisu7885 (can't log in) says:

    Was bound to start happening when the ESA began buddyign up with those dinosaurs at the RIAA

  21. Steve ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I’m predicting Mr. Wright is going to sue EA for mishandling the publication of his work, and leave for greener pastures. 

  22. Dia says:

    I actually have an ongoing support issue open with EA over this matter, which has just been moved to "senior level" due to nobody being able to explain to me (in a satisfactory manner) why I’m expected to buy 2 copies so that both me and my partner can play on seperate accounts.

    I’ve tried everything to get a second account registered, but with no joy.  Also, according to support, EA will not reset the account which makes it impossible to give the game to anyone else, or sell it on, not that I have any desire to do that at present.  Of course, you don’t find this out until after opening the game, at which point it’s virtually impossible to return anywhere (UK).

    Here’s a couple of quotes from my replies so far for those interested, directly copied and pasted from the emails in the order they were received.

    "I would like to inform you that you cannot create another account for this game. This is because of the unique serial code that’s included with the game. If you want to create another account you will need another game for the registration of it."

    "A registration code can only be used once to create one account. In addition, the account registered once cannot be reset. You will need to login to the game using the same account name and password with which the game is registered."

    "Just a quick follow up on your issue, you will not be able to create multiple Spore accounts on one computer."

  23. Anonymous says:

    And EA continues to uphold their reputation of ruining what most likely would have been a great game.

    Honestly, EA is nothing more than a plague in the gaming industry.  It buys the controlling stock of a game development company, slaps on a dead line, imposes cost restrictions, and then releases a game with problems and bugs left in the game.  Then, when you ask them to address these problems, they ignore you, argue the fact that such a problem exists with the game, and after a few months of attempting to resolve the issue, the move on to the next project since they already have your money and leave the game broken as hell.

    If the game flops, which most do, they lay off the majority of the staff of the development company they just bought and then let it burn to the ground.

    The Battlefield series is a perfect example of this.  If they haven’t deleted all of the posts, take a look at the Battlefield 2 forums.  Probably about 90% of those forums was nothing but complaints of how the game did not work, one way or another, and how people do not have to cheat in that game because the majority of that game code has holes in it to allow people to easily exploit, from walking through walls to be completely invincible.

    After Battlefield 2 had terrible results at launch they laid off everyone at DICE Canada and closed it down.

    The reason EA is so big on DRM now is because people got tired of paying them for games they would never fix so they got it for free and, honestly, I can’t blame them for doing so.

    Maybe if EA would stop releasing games that have alpha relesae issues in them and had a customer support team that doesn’t argue with you every other sentence, maybe they wouldn’t have to worry about people pirating their garbage games.

  24. Arlen ( User Karma: 1 ) says:

    I’m seconding

  25. Brian says:

    I was reluctant to even try to install the game on multiple computers at once, but decided to let the wife give it a try. Like her Sims 2 expansions she was unable to read the disk at all in her Plextor DVDRW drive, so I put the disk in my drive and shared it over the network which worked just fine. She plays Spore offline with no problems, but now that I know the manual states that multiple online accounts are permitted we will give it a try.

    I have no problems with this DRM so far. We can install the game on multiple machines and neither of us need the disk in the drive. That’s a lot more generous than 99% of games out there. Except for my wife’s problems reading the disk I’d take this DRM over most others any day.

  26. Anonymous ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I have an open door for him, and he can email me or Trip Hawkins to point him to me, haha. 

  27. Anonymous ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Illegal downloads tripled between Sims 2 and Spore.  So that shows you how many people are pissed at EA and DRM.  So if anything, it hurt them with illegal downloads, because you just can’t stop them.

  28. MRK says:

    Whats really sad is they could have turned Spore into a good example of how to do a DRM free game that still has some copy protection.

    e.g. When you buy the game, you get 1 username/password, which you register online when you install the game. That CD-Key is tied to the username/password.  You can run the game without a username, but then you don’t get access to the On-line content. Done. No DRM, no Install Limits.

  29. metroidprimegmr says:

    WOOHOO!!! Somebody besides me realizes the epic narrative behind the Myst games!

    /internet buddies yay

  30. Anonymous ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I’m not buying it, haha, the game is decently good though takes too much time to do simple things, it is a massive time hug.  Mario Kart Wii, you play the game, and you look at the clock and it seems like you have been playing for a while because you just ran 8 races, then you realize it has only been 30 minutes.  Spore, you just did a minor task that you think should take only 5 minutes, you look at the clock, it is 2 hours later.

    It is one thing to make the game take longer to play so you can’t finish it in 5 hours, it is another that you are wasting time with meaningless animations/sound FX/transitions when you just make it all take 1/10th the time and still be as entertaining.  (esc is your best friend in spore, skip the sceens, then just read the little box in the top left that is only 15 words long or so instead of wasting 3 minutes watching the video.)

    Replay value is almost non-existant, which is how I got the game, friend played it through twice, and said, I’m done with it, you want to try it?  I figured why not, I’m not going to buy the game anyways.

    DRM is definitely not right…  EA deserves a class action suit against them for it.  I feel bad for Wright, because he got screwed.  EA getting a bad rap for taking over BioWare and trying to take over TTwo, SecuROM, $10 demo, EA making deals with id to publish some games for them and give them all the money exclusing cost as long as they talk nice about EA to help their reputation…  If he still had his own company, he would have broke records with this game, even though it is a flop IMO, it is extremely innovative with the dynamics of the game.  Dynamic worlds, animation, and so on.  So it is a must have game, but not for the gameplay. (I don’t remember ever saying that about a game before…  For my I guess Myst was the same way, but gameplay was decently fun and interesting with a great story behind it…)

  31. Anonymous says:

    It’s actually really simple. They made spore accounts thru the CREATURE CREATOR, not SPORE so that way you can have multiples. Just buy the creature creator instead of spore and create your account. MONEY SAVED!!!

  32. Anonymous ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Yeah, keep us updated man.  I am interested in knowing how you got through it when so many people seem to have problems.  My girlfriend doesnt play games other than Mario World 3 and Mario Kart and such.  So I am the only one playing Spore.

  33. Anonymous says:


    wishfull thinking could mean that we probably got one of those glitches that works in our favor


    I’d also have to ask my friend how he went at this with his brother. could been different or maybe it didn’t work for him..  he said he only created an account for himself on his brother’s game but hasn’t used it yet

  34. Anonymous says:

    i can’t see how its so complicated,


    both me and my sister made an account for my Creature Creator and we still use the same for my Spore,  nothing special was done

  35. Anonymous ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    are you talking about account as in the account you log into, or account like an online account where you have a log-in and upload your creatures?

  36. Anonymous says:

    You need to go to the Spore forums and do EA’s job for them by telling the folks there how you are accomplishing this feat.  From my reading there, no one else is able to do this and I’m sure they’d love to know how you accomplish what no one else apparently can.

  37. Anonymous says:



    i bouth the game, installed it and used the only CD key it came with.

    sister hops onto my PC and plays on my game but on HER account

  38. Anonymous ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I meant log-in of the computer…  So maybe you have to create the accounts in the creature creator then download Spore?

  39. Thomas Prescott ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    That really wasn’t so much a misprint as after they printed the manual they decided to change things for the sake of balance.  Keep in mind that the manuals were printed while WoW was still in beta.  Plus, nobody ever reads the manual for an MMO. 

  40. PHOENIXZERO says:

    You mean Mass Effect right?


    Some day compaies will learn how useless DRM crap is and a total waste of money.

  41. MechaCrash says:

    They only removed the limited number of installs. It still infects you with SecuROM and requires online activation.

  42. sortableturnip says:

    I’ll just wait until they decide to remove the DRM and install nonsense (like they did with Bioshock) and I’ll pick up the game on the bargain rack…

  43. Derovius says:

     Manuals are misprinted all the time, and its not malicious. I think I have the original World of Warcraft game manual somewhere, and it has completely different racial perks than are in the released game. Believe it or not, some development teams wise up/down prior to release.

  44. Anonymous says:

    Wow, limited installs, manual "misprints" regarding accounts, evolution vs creation…  I’m starting to miss the good old days of Spore controversy when the only issues were "Will it ever come out?" and the Penisaurus Rex.


  45. Deep Thorn ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Why not form a group of people on here to go after EA?  It would get people to GP, get a chance to finally get EA thinking right, and the consumers would finally get some respect from them.

  46. NovaBlack says:

    Definitely couldnt agree more NightWng2000.


    Its such a shame since they are gobbling up developers left right and centre. Action needs to be taken now otherwise this kind of unfair DRM will become the norm.


    Ea have some good titles/licenses at the moment. Shame.

  47. Anonymous says:

    k this is bull, me and my sister are using 2 different accounts on the same game, and so is my friend and his brother.

    come on GP, i think you should check your source to see if it is exageratedly biased against DRM

  48. Klokwurk ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    On the subject of their evil DRM, since I installed Spore my PC won’t shut down properly. It just gets stuck at ‘Saving your settings’. :s

  49. Anonymous says:

    One of these days, EA is going to get nailed by a class-action lawsuit over how they do business.  And then, everything will start getting settled the more it dawns on EA, that consumers are generally annoyed and angry at their business practices.


    Until then, just dont buy the game if you dont like it.  Its disappointing, as the game itself looks to be alot of fun.  To bad, creative genius and fun, have to be killed in the game of corporate greed.

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