If you feel the urge to download Spore or any other game from publisher Electronic Arts, it's probably best to do so via Steam, rather than EA's online store.
That's because, as Ars Technica reports, EA offers consumers their choice of:
a.) lousy purchase protection or
b.) slightly less lousy, but needlessly expensive protection
At issue is the right to re-download your purchased game, in the event of, say a hard drive meltdown or switching over to a new PC. When buying through EA's online store, such rights are limited:
- re-download rights are offered for only six months after purchase, or...
- paying an additional $6.99 extends re-download rights to 24 months
As Ars Technica's Michael Thompson writes:
Why, exactly, would something like the Extended Download Service even be in existence? Keeping records of who buys what and when they bought it seems like standard business practice and would appear to be one major advantage to buying digitally. Allowing customers to access these records and re-download what they've already paid for seems like a no-brainer; charging people for that option just seems slimy...
In this brave new world, could it be that having to keep track of a physical game disc is actually a better long-term prospect than purchasing something from the cloud?
Thompson notes that EA subcontracts its online game distribution chores out to Digital River. But that's of little consequence to the consumer, since EA is ultimately responsible for interactions with its customers.