EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

September 21, 2008 -

Electronic Arts has issued an apology to customers over the controversial DRM in Will Wright's long-awaited Spore.

As reported by the Los Angeles Times, EA is also relaxing Spore's extra-tight copy controls. EA exec Frank Gibeau said:

We've received complaints from a lot of customers who we recognize and respect. We need to adapt our policy to accommodate our legitimate consumers...

 

We assumed that consumers understand piracy is a huge problem. We have found that 75% of our consumers install and play any particular game on only one machine, and less than 1% ever try to play on more than three different machines.

As part of its reversal of course on Spore DRM, EA is boosting the install limit to five computers. Commenting on EA's decision, IDC analyst Billy Pidgeon told the Times:

The key to making copyright restrictions work is to offer value. In the end, this will blow over because Spore is a fun game, and people will want to try it.


Comments

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

100% agreed I hate how ppl still peddle the 'steam == MUST be connected to internet' myth,

 

It hasnt been that way for at least a good year now. 

 

The reason steam works is becuase it atually provides more benefits than hindrance. It actually makes it EASIER for me when iformat my harddrive as i just install steam and *boom*, it installs about 20 games for me. I dont even have to click.

 

couple that with having it on multiple computers, and getting a CRAPLOAD of free updates withouth haveing to ever manually patch, and its fantastic. saves me loads of hassle. Ea just dont get that.

Have you ever tried using Ea download manager? OMFG that thing is literally a textbook case of how NOT to design a piece of software. Awkward, clunky, non informative, buggy as HECK.

 

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

That was a problem at one point I believe, but Valve listened to the consumers and changed that.  You can easily play any single player game while not connected to the internet.

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

Who the fuck plays games and doesn't have an internet connection?

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

Anyone who travels.

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

Um.. once youve activated you can play offline..

JUST been doing it..

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

Agreed, there is something fundamentally wrong when there are more people discussing a games anti-piracy 'protection' than there are people discussing the game itself.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

The core of the issue is not merely DRM, but SecuROM, which damages computers, and warps the functioning thereof.

It's still there, therefore the game is not something I can install on my system. It's not Starforce, but it's still not good.

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

all this says to me dates back to the nineties movie Hackers..."Hack the planet!"...that's about right.... I'm sick of EA's DRM bull****

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

I couldnt disagree if a group of hackers attacked EA...  Just saying, I couldn't hate them for it one bit.

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

Too little, too late EA. Giving people two more installs doesn't change the fact that the install limit is still there, and the install limit, while annoying, isn't the big deal. EA is trying to make it look like they're compromising and letting up on their ridiculous security measures, but they're still keeping the worthless DRM in there. And people will keep pirating until they remove the DRM completely. Give it up, EA. The pirates had you beat before you even released the game in North America. Just suck it up, admit your mistake, and remove the DRM. You might still get a few customers who were going to pirate it otherwise.

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.

That's something that we as Gamers need to make EA realize, is that we won't give in simply because EA wants to "combat piracy"

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

we assumed EA understood consumer and privacy rights.

Here are we -- and yonder yawns the universe.

Here are we -- and yonder yawns the universe.

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

All this change does is slightly delay the time it takes paying customers to get shafted by the install limit.

Myself, i used all 3 original installs just trying to get the game to work.

It wouldn't be quite so bad if the DRM actually did something to stop piracy... It doesn't.
As it stands right now the pirated version of the game is vastly superior to the legal version of the game...

I got burned with the DRM on mass effect and again with spore, i've learnt my lesson now and will not buy another EA game until they change their ways.

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

If you completely remove DRM, I bet the sales would go crazy. DRM actually does nothing to prevent piracy, and people perfer to use the pirate version because of DRM.

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

"We assumed that consumers understand piracy is a huge problem. We have found that 75% of our consumers install and play any particular game on only one machine, and less than 1% ever try to play on more than three different machines."

I can just see the EA execs eyes rolling at that comment.

Congratulations EA, with THAT insulting statement you just made it even LESS likely that I'm going to by Spore.  I wouldn't buy something from a company that insults me BEHIND MY BACK, which is what I considered the DRM, why would I buy from a company that effectively just SPAT in my face?

That is has got to be one of the most insulting statements I've ever heard come from a company.  They basically say "Fine, you guys are idiots so we'll throw you a bone," and expect it to make all us mouth breathing gamers go away.

Clearly EA subscribes to the Jack Thompson theory of gamers, that we're all ignorant mouth-breathers incapable of higher thought.

I'll give them one thing, they're probably right that less than 1% of their customers ever try to play on more than 3 machines AT THE SAME TIME.  I keep all my games on my desktop and only have WoW and Starcraft on my laptop (low resource use and easy to play with a touchpad). 

But I'll bet EA a year's worth of their profits that more than 60% of their customers try to play on more than 5 machines over the course of several years. 

But of course this is a business decision, they want you to re-purchase the game.  Unfortunately, most people are too ignorant of their rights and will probably assume EA is on the up and up with this.

But they aren't, it is not legal to engage in that kind of restriction of a property owner's rights.  And whatever EA's "copyright" theory is, the purchaser OWNS that copy of the game.  That gives the purchaser many, MANY rights and its only a matter of time before someone decides to press those rights.  I've said it  before, I'll say it again, EA needs to realize that its customer's are growing up.  There's only so much longer they can assume that their customer base is a bunch of ignorant teenagers.

This is the first time I really feel like this is coming home to them.  In the old days this would never have been a concern because the vast majority of purchasers wouldn't have even known what DRM was let it alone its effects. But that isn't the case anymore and it's actually starting, just starting, to hit the bottom line.

Let's keep it up folks.  I'd love to see the ECA really get behind this.  I mean REALLY get behind this.  We have some members with influence in the industry, they should be speaking up on this.  The organization as a whole should be doing something, ANYTHING.

What I'd really love to see (and you can consider this an official proposal) is a rating system for games that isn't based on the game but is based on how the game treats its customer.

For example: Spore

Give it an 8 for the game itself.  But make the ECA rating like a 2 because of the DRM scheme.

Take a stand ECA, represent who you say you do.  Tell people "Yeah this is a decent game, but don't buy it because of DRM."  Get something from an organization out there and people will pay attention.  And if EA tries to come after you saying that you're supporting piracy...well SUE THEM.

Sue them for defamation, they just called your membership a bunch of pirates.  Make them PROVE it.  Plenty of lawyers will do that on a contingency fee (no payment without a win).  Yeah the lawyer takes a 30% cut of the winnings but so what?  This isn't about money.  It's about making EA recognize reality.

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

I'm sure if there was a chance of getting his picture taken and his name in headlines, Hal Halpin would be all over this like a rash...

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

I couldn't agree more. The comment about how they "assumed that consumers understand piracy is a huge problem" is not only downright insulting towards us but blares the horns of obvious ignorance on their part. We have been telling them, through a myriad of communication channels, why nobody wants to buy this game but instead we have some corporate shill that thinks that we don't understand the issues.

I'm no professor but I'm pretty sure Business 101 doesn't start with "Now when you start losing customers by the droves, just keep insulting them and eventually they'll come back".

Frankly, I'm not sure there is a way for them to gain back what little affinity we had for them in the first place. They've gone too far at this point and that's just too bad. The game has been pirated in record numbers because of the measures they put in place and that's a mistake they should at least have the decency to acknowlege whether they believe it or not.... instead of simply calling us, in no simple terms, blithering idiots.

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

I love how the EA exec in the article says "This will blow over because Spore is a fun game"

No, it won't blow over.  In fact you just made it WORSE.  Yes you've relaxed the copyright controls.  Bravo.  You basically through a bone (although they apparently are shifting to a "no more than 5 computers at a time" system.  Presumably you get your install back in you uninstall then). 

But you INSULTED your customers. Literally, you called us idiots.

That isn't "blowing over" that's being profoundly stupid.

And the fact that EA is doing this shows two things

1) They didn't need the draconian DRM scheme in the first place.

2) We hit their bottom line, which means we can keep doing it

 

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

Precisely - this proves both that EA doesn't really care about us, only our green (they called us morons, which is hardly what i call respecting informed costumers) and that we CAN hit them where it hurts.

We have them by the balls now. I say squeeze until they back down completely - EA deserves a lesson.

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

Agreed, squeeze them tight until they give up by choice (new version without all that crap) or by passing out (going out of business).

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

heres an easy example of why there should be no limit, lets say I have a desk top and a lap tap, then my brother also has a desk top and a lap top. in a year atleast 2 of these machines will be formated. Well looks like every time from now on I will be checking in with mommy and daddy to make sure I can play. But not befor they take data from me to make sure I play safe.

 

F#@!$%* DRM

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

*Wooosh*

^ The sound of the point flying over EAs head.

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

Even if is was BADDA BOOM and their entire building blew up right in front of them with the smoke spelling it out, and a letter detailing it, they wouldn't get it.  All they understand is green, and even explaining it that way, they dont seem to understand...

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

If less than 1% install on more than three computers, then why did they go to the trouble of creating a limit?

Too little, too late.

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

Haha...very good point.

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

I really wish I could believe EA on this, but... this "apology" is really patronizing.

"We assumed that consumers understand piracy is a huge problem. We have found that 75% of our consumers install and play any particular game on only one machine, and less than 1% ever try to play on more than three different machines."

 

Sounds like they think we don't understand the issue to me. Sounds to me like they are way off base from their average consumer who may need to upgrade their computer, reformat their machine, or do other activities that would cause them to reinstall the game within the play expectancy of their game. Or they are seriously underestimating the life of this game.

 

Or perhaps I'm overestimating.

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

oh, let's not overlook the fact they can't do math to save their lives....either that, or they're just pulling numbers out of their asses, and hoping nobody notices....take a look at this little gem, from one of their "responses" to the DRM controversy..

-------------------------

Spore Creature Creator
• Total activations: 453048
• Users activating on only 1 machine: 77%
• Users activating on more than 1 machine: 23%
• Users trying to activate on more than 3 machines: 1%

(101%, wtf?)

Spore (main game)
• Total activations: 437138
• Users activating on only 1 machine: 86%
• Users activating on more than 1 machine: 14%
• User trying to activate on more than 3 machines: 0.4%

(100.04%, wtf?) 

-----------------------------------

UPDATE - An EA representative has clarified that the above numbers cover a sampling of the people who have bought “Spore” and should not be interpreted as a representation of sales data for the game.

------------------------

too bad they couldn't also confirm that the numbers aren't outright bullshit, lol
 

so what do we learn from this kids?......"101% means DRM is A-OK!"

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

Spore Creature Creator
• Total activations: 453048
• Users activating on only 1 machine: 77%
• Users activating on more than 1 machine: 23%
• Users trying to activate on more than 3 machines: 1%

(101%, wtf?)

This is actually okay,  as the stats show that 23% of users activate on more than 1 machine.
Now as a completly seperate 1% activate on more than 3 machines.

So to belong to the more than 3 machines they also belong to the activating on more than 1 machine. 
so to be totally correct the headlines could be

• Users activating on only 1 machine: 77%
• Users activating on more than 1 machine: 23%

and
• Users trying to activate on 3 or fewer machines: 99%
• Users trying to activate on more than 3 machines: 1%

Feel free to say that the figures are rubbish but the actual stats are okay

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

I agree 100%

 

the 'apology' seemed very insulting to me, it seemed like it was telling me that im too dumb to understand the real issues here, and that their choice for DRM and limits are totally justified, n that they arent making ammendments because they themeslves are 'wrong',  but because just im incapable of understanding why they're are right.

 

 

Sorry EA... the point is this.. i DO understand piracy is a problem. i DO even understand that perhaps it isnt the majority of gamers who want to install more than 3 times.

 

but what i DONT understand is how you using securom and install limits POSSIBLY IN ANY TINY WAY prevents these issues. it doesnt. CLEARLY it doesnt. the game is available for illegal download RIGHT NOW. so .. i dont understand how the issues you bring up in 'justification'  relate in ANY, even minor way, to the restrictions we are angry over.

Seriously. How does placing a limit on me, and not on a pirate, (since thats the factual reality ) in ANY way justified as dealing with the issue of piracy?

As a gamer i DO understand. And thats why im angry. I know piracy is important.

The problem i have is that im vocal about it, because you have employed a system which is actively ENCOURAGING piracy!

And piracy is bad news for everyone. The point is, dont make out like we are the ones who are going to screw up the industry with your 'developers will just stop making games for pc' remark. We are legit consumers. YOU are the ones screwing up the industry, and increasing a problem,  by ENCOURAGING pirates.

Thats why im vocal. so stuff the apology where the sun dont shine and actually fix the problems.

You know what'd be nice too? if you just admitted the real reaon for install limits.. to stop second hand sales. i find it insulting that a company would treat me as stupid. install limits do NOTHING to stop piracy (A) the game is already out there illegally and (B) by YOUR OWN ADMISSION AND (very bullshit) 'REASEARCHED STATISTICS' , apparently only 1% of users install over 3 times.. so arent you only affecting a TINY number of users with that 'limit'. If its there to stop pirates it isnt really doing much is it? its only stopping 1 % of all users..  of which only a fraction will be pirates. SO.. why emply a system that only ever affects one pirate in a gazillion?

(ps i dont believe the 1% stat for a second, but im showing that if they are 'truthful' then they still dont justify anything. And if they arent truthful, everything we have already been saying about limits IS justified... they cant win)

 

 

 

 

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

Knowing a couple of these people, they hack the game out of challenge, not to just get the game.  So if you provide nothing new to hack, there wont be a big deal about hacking anything, and it proly wont happen right away.  There is NOTHING they can not hack either.  So dont encourage them to hack something early by making a more advance something to stop them for making it easy for people to pirate your game.

Also, if consumers are going to get screwed, they will make sure to hack it as early as possible, then make it public as early as possible to screw over the company that is hurting the consumers.  These people stand up for the average person more often than not, so I love them for it.

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

They came to that statistic via the Spore CC, giving it about a 3 month window. All it's really saying is that, in 3 months, 75% of coppies sold were installed on one machine, and less than 1% ever tried to install on more than 3 machines.

So, two main issues there.

1, most people didn't consider the CC to be a "game," but rather a demo that they paid for. It was, more or less, something to play around with and get a taste of how Spore will work, and was not played like a "game" in most households.

2, THREE MONTHS is not a game's lifespan. People are not worried about being able to play their game in 3 months. People are worried about not being able to play their game in 3 years.

They're moving in the right direction with trying to rectify this, but it's not enough. They know that 5 installs is hardly better than three, but want the news articles, "EA apologises and makes changes to Spore DRM." The extreme anti-DRM side won't be happy with it, sure, but just getting that headline out there is going to give them plenty of good publicity.

It's an improvement. When the DRM scheme was first revealed, we only had 3 installs and were REQUIRED to access the internet every 10 days, or else the product would un-activate itself. Now we have 5 installs and no time limit on how long a single install will stay activated. They've backed off plenty, but I don't think this is over yet. I'll be interested in seeing how this "apology" goes down with gamers. I think that these next few months will be crutial to the future of PC gaming. The consumer has finally said, "enough with this," and are forcing the corperations to take small steps backwards. It's up to the PC game community as a whole to decide when they will stop pushing, and that will be where the line will lie with developers. Install limits, online activations, and privacy-invading DRM should be the limit. It's not up to me, though.

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

That is an EXCELLENT point about the news headline.

Dennis;

You really should think about changing the headline of this article to something that doesn't seem like EA really caved it.  They basically insulted their entire customer base with that sarcastic comment.  Call them out on it.

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

I concur.  The headline is much more flattering and hopeful than the article warrants.  I was actually disappointed when I read it because my hopes had been inflated by the headline =\

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

I do as well.

 

EA did not make any statement remotely close to an apology but instead tacitly bitched slapped its customer base and insulted gamers everywhere.

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

Agreed.

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

Agreed

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

ps agreed on the call for dennis to edit the headline.

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

remember- what 100% were they interviewing?

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

Fred in marketing, Sam in playtesting, Suzy in accounting, and that weird-looking guy who does cover art.

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

Translation on the apology: "Instead of us wanting to cut your foot off when you want the privilage to play our game, we just want a few toes. Your pinkies will do. Is that better now?"

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

At least they are trying to find a middle ground. Personally I love spore and dont think i could do without buying the game thats just me, but i understand the feelings about the DRM, my problem is the packets being sent i could care less about the 5 installs or 3 installs it really seems like its spyware of some sort.

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

For those who still complain about the DRM, should realize that Valve uses the same DRM for Steam.

Now, how much of a disaster is that ? Not much.

 

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

With Steam, you have unlimited installs on one computer so long as it knows that your account has purchased a game.  Steam doesn't put malware on your computer (but it can have a tendancy to fuck up a computer still, but it's not as common as it used to be).  Steam Improves over time.  When it was first released, steam was a POS program that was far too buggy to touch with a 10 ft pole, and today it's still a POS program, but compared to what it used to be it's godly, and it will continue to improve as time goes on.  Valve admits when they're wrong, listens to their consumers, and changes things based on user feedback.  You can also buy games on Steam.

 

So...How is this like SecureRom?

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

Uninformed idiot is uninformed. 

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

 Where did this shit come from and can a mod please just delete any user that does the

<X> idiot is <X> 

thing.

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

I'd rather he deleted posts by anonymous people who try and say how the site should be run and that people should be censored just because they don't like it.(irony alert!!)

Or to put it another way: Anonymouscoward is a coward.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

Signed. If you want to be anonymous take your lumps.

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

I call bullshit on that. Steam IS the DRM and Steam is NOT securom.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

Same...not accepting the apology...it's not good enough....what about the Malware and stuff?

Re: EA Apologizes for, Makes Changes to Spore DRM

Aaand what about the datamining, OS access digs and hardware interference?

No thanks, I'll stay clear still.

 
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