Bugbear's 'Next Car Game' Rakes in $1 Million in a Week

January 30, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Game developer Bugbear Interactive has announced that its Steam Early Access initiative for its new racing game, simply called "New Car Game," is a smashing success. The company said on the official website for the oddly named game that they managed to generate $1 million in sales in its first week of availability. A free tech demo of the game is available to those willing to sign up for the company's newsletter as well - if you want to try the game before you actually pay any money for it.

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Spore Evolving to Big Screen

October 2, 2009 -

DRM issues shouldn’t affect the Will Wright-designed Spore videogame in its feature film incarnation.

Variety reports that 20th Century Fox has acquired film rights to the Electronic Arts title, with plans to make a computer-generated animated motion picture. Ice Age and Robots director Chris Wedge is aligned with the project, while EA Entertainment’s Patrick O’Brien and Maxis VP Lucy Bradshaw will serve as executive producers.

Other EA properties currently being adapted to film include The Sims, Army of Two, Dante’s Inferno, Dead Space and Mass Effect.


DRM Company CEO Asks for Gamer Feedback

August 6, 2009 -

Given the recent history of consumer-unfriendly DRM fiascos surrounding Spore and other high-profile PC titles, it's refreshing to hear from a vendor of copy protection software who is actively seeking gamer input.

While we will confess to knowing very little about a DRM product called Byteshield, we note that CEO Jan Samzelius posted in the GamePolitics/ECA forums last night:

We pride ourselves on listening to gamers and try to configure our solution accordingly... We are trying to convince game publishers and developers to put gamers first and organize everything else around it. I want to hear from everybody about what you do not like and then see if you like what our solution does.

Byteshield appears to have received positive reviews from the anti-DRM crowd at The Prism.

GP: This is certainly not an endorsement of Byteshield as I haven't tested it myself. But as a game consumer, I'm always pleased when company execs keep gamers in mind.


DRM in Your Car's Engine

May 20, 2009 -

GamePolitics readers are familiar with the Digital Rights Management controversy which marred the release of Will Wright's long-awaited Spore last year.

But DRM and the consumer-unfriendly Digital Millenium Copyright Act are apparently concerns for drivers as well as gamers.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation reports that a proposal before Congress would allow independent auto repair shops to break the DRM which currently locks them out of your car's diagnostic computer:

The Right-To-Repair Act of 2009 (H.R. 2057)... points to a much bigger consumer issue... One underlying legal problem here is the DMCA, which prohibits bypassing or circumventing "technological protection measures..."

And the issue goes beyond the importance of being able to get independent repair and maintenance services. The use of technological "locks" against tinkerers also threatens "user innovation" -- the kinds of innovation that traditionally have come from independent tinkerers -- which has increasingly been recognized as an important part of economic growth and technological improvement...

In short, thanks to the DMCA, we need a Right-To-Repair Act not just for cars, but increasingly for all the things we own.

Via: boing boing


Stung By Gamer Backlash, EA Releases DRM Fix

April 1, 2009 -

Last year's angry consumer backlash over Spore's intrusive DRM apparently convinced the suits at Electronic Arts that they had made a mess of things.

Edge Online reports that the publisher is now offering a software tool which can be used by PC gamers to remove authorization limits. This will allow computer games to be re-installed or moved to other PCs without limitation.

In addition to the bad press, the Spore DRM situation spawned at least one class action lawsuit against EA.

Download EA's De-authorization Management Tool (DMT) here.


Sims 3 To Be DRM-Free, Says EA

March 28, 2009 -

Having apparently taken a lesson from the Spore DRM fiasco, publisher Electronic Arts announced this week that The Sims 3 will be DRM-free when the game launches in June.

The Los Angeles Times reports that The Sims 3 will feature only serial number-based copy protection. EA exec Rod Humble said:

We feel like this is a good, time-proven solution that makes it easy for you to play the game without DRM methods that feel overly invasive or leave you concerned about authorization server access in the distant future.


TIME Names Top 10 Video Games of 2008

December 8, 2008 -

TIME has cranked out a feature which serves up Top 10 lists for just about everything you can think of (breakups, foot trends, open mic moments), including video games.

Lev Grossman penned TIME's list, which starts with GTA IV and ends with Spore. Here's what Grossman had to say about R*'s controversial, runaway hit:

It's ironic that GTA became a football in the debate over sex and violence in video games, because where it belongs is in the debate over whether video games count as art... It's a grade-A shoot-'em-up that doubles as an interactive novel and triples as a sly critique of American consumer culture.

Grossman's entire Top 10 list follows:

  • Grand Theft Auto IV
  • Braid (video at left)
  • Little Big Planet
  • Rock Band 2
  • Gears of War 2
  • Dead Space
  • Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
  • Hunted Forever (Flash)
  • Fieldrunners (iPhone app)
  • Spore

Spore Tops List of 2008's Most Pirated PC Games

December 6, 2008 -

Despite its nasty DRM scheme, EA's Spore tops the list of most pirated games for 2008, according to TorrentFreak.

Although EA downplayed the stats on Spore piracy, TorrentFreak stands by its numbers:

When we posted about the impressive download rate on Spore - inflated due to the DRM that was put into the game - EA doubted our statistics. EA’s Mariam Sughayer said that every BitTorrent download was not a successful copy, and that several downloads didn’t work, were buggy, or contained viruses. We wont deny that on badly moderated torrent sites, malicious torrents probably can be found. However, this constitutes less than 1% of the available torrents, and they are not added to our statistics.

Here's the Top Ten (all are PC titles) along with their d/l count:

  1. Spore     (1,700,000)   
  2. The Sims 2     (1,150,000)
  3. Assassins Creed     (1,070,000)
  4. Crysis     (940,000)
  5. Command & Conquer 3     (860,000)
  6. Call of Duty 4     (830,000)
  7. GTA San Andreas     (740,000)
  8. Fallout 3     (645,000)
  9. Far Cry 2     (585,000)
  10. Pro Evolution Soccer 2009     (470,000)  

New Class-Action Suits Target EA, SecuROM, The Sims & Spore Creature Creator

November 8, 2008 -

GamePolitics has learned that a pair of new class-action lawsuits were lodged against Electronic Arts in October. Both suits were filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California and both target EA's use of the controversial SecuROM digital rights management (DRM) software on the company's PC games.

In the first case, a Pennsylvania man, Richard Eldridge, alleges that the Spore Creature Creator Free Trial Edition secretly installed SecuROM on his PC, a violation that Eldridge terms "deceptive and unlawful." From the suit:

The inclusion of undisclosed, secretly installed DRM protection measures with a program that was freely distributed constitutes a major violation of computer owners' absolute right to control what does and what does not get loaded onto their computers, and how their computers shall be used...


[SecuROM] cannot be completely uninstalled. Once installed it becomes a permanent part of the consumer's software portfolio...


EA's EULA for Spore Creature Creator Free Trial Edition makes utterly no mention of any Technical Protection Measures, DRM technology, or SecuROM whatsoever...

In the second case, Dianna Cortez of Missouri, described as "an avid Sims player," makes similar claims against EA over the publisher's alleged inclusion of SecuROM on The Sims 2: Bon Voyage, which she purchased in September, 2007. Cotrez claims that she immediately experienced problems with her PC :

After installing Bon Voyage, Ms. Cortez began having problems with her computer. She had previously made backup Sims 2 game content on CDs, but her computer's disc drive would no longer recognize that content, reporting the CDs as empty. She could not access files that were saved on her USB flash drive or iPod, either...

Cortez alleges that she was only able to get rid of SecuROM by reformatting her PC. She accuses EA of engaging in "unfair business practices" as well as conduct that is "immoral, unethical, oppressive [and] unscrupulous..."

The new suits are the second and third filed recently by consumers in regard to EA's use of SecuROM. A woman named Melissa Thomas filed a similar suit in relation to Spore in September. Thomas and new plaintiff Richard Eldridge are represented by the same law firm.

Docu-grab: Eldridge vs. Electronic Arts

Docu-grab: Cortez vs. Electronic Arts

Free Stuff: Candidates Made into Spore Characters

November 1, 2008 -

Maxis has crafted the 2008 presidential tickets for Spore users.

From the press release:

For a bit of fun, EA’s Maxis studio has created the presidential and vice presidential candidates in the critically-acclaimed video game, Spore. Created with the game’s Spaceship Editor, players can download the characters, drag them into Spore to edit – even subscribe to the Sporecast and meet them flying around in Space! 

CLick here for more info...


Bethesda: Fallout 3 DRM Not as Intrusive as Spore

October 31, 2008 -

There has been some talk around the 'Net this week that the PC version of Fallout 3 is sporting SecuROM, the same intrusive copy protection scheme that caused so much controversy for Spore last month.

But a post on publisher Bethesda's blog claims that Fallout 3 only uses SecuROM to verify the disc:

For Fallout 3’s copy protection on PC, we use the same security model as we did for Oblivion - a simple disc check. We only use SecuRom’s disc check functionality for copy protection. We do NOT limit the number of installs. We do NOT use online authentication or any other SecuROM functionality except for a disc check when you install the game and when you launch the game. We do not install any other programs and we don’t have anything that runs in the background while you’re playing the game.

GP: Bethesda is clearly attempting to avert a consumer rebellion like the one waged against Spore. You know, the one about which EA 's CEO remarked that half of the complainers were pirates and the other half were too dumb to know any better.

Via: bit-tech.net


Will Wright on Spore DRM: I Should Have Tuned In More

October 16, 2008 -

Kotaku caught up to Will Wright at the Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Awards in the Big Apple, where the Spore designer offered his thoughts on the DRM controversy that has plagued his game:

It was something I probably should have tuned into more. It was a corporate decision to go with DRM on Spore. They had a plan and the parameters, but now we’re allowing more authentications and working with players to de-authenticate which makes it more in line like an iTunes. I think one of the most valid concerns about it was you could only install it so many times. For most players it’s not an issue, it’s a pretty small percentage, but some people do like wiping their hard disk and installing it 20 times or they want to play it 10 years later.

I think it’s an interim solution to an interim problem. You have games like Battlefield Heroes coming out where the idea is you give away the game and sell upgrades, which works more in the Asian markets where you need to monetize it over the Internet. I think we’re in this uncomfortable spot in going from what’s primarily a brick and mortar shrink-wrapped product to what eventually will become more of an online monetization model.

GP: It's reassuring to see that Will is giving some thought to how Spore's DRM situation could have been handled better. But I hope that his comments concerning the Battlefield Heroes business model don't portend the future of PC gaming in the United States. The Internet-based game model is used in Asian markets because of rampant piracy furthered by government apathy to IP issues. It would be tough sell to convince me that such measures are necessary here in the U.S., what with the DMCA and our new IP czar on the way.


EA CEO: Half of Spore DRM Protesters Were Pirates

October 15, 2008 -

Over at Gamasutra, Leigh Alexander serves up a revealing interview with John Riccitiello.

The Electronic Arts CEO dishes on the Spore DRM controversy, EA's abortive merger attempt with Take-Two, and EA's reputation in the gaming community.

Most noteworthy are Riccitiello's comments on the furor whipped up by Spore's much-maligned copy protection scheme:

I personally hate DRM. I don’t like the whole concept; it can be a little bit cumbersome. But I don’t like locks on my door, and I don’t like to use keys in my car... I’d like to live in a world where there are no passports. Unfortunately, we don’t – and I think the vast majority of people voted with their wallets and went out and bought Spore...


Everyone gets that we need some level of protection, or we’re going to be in business for free... [But it was] a minority of [anti-DRM] people that orchestrated a great PR program. They picked the highest-profile game they could find. I respect them for the success of their movement.

I'm guessing that half of them were pirates, and the other half were people caught up in something that they didn’t understand. If I’d had a chance to have a conversation with them, they’d have gotten it... There are different ways to do DRM; the most successful is what WoW does. They just charge you by the month.


Spore Users Create Political Animals

September 30, 2008 -

techPresident has uncovered some tinkering with Spore's Creature Creator utility by politically-minded gamers.

By way of example the site points to Spore-rendered versions of George W. Bush, John McCain (at left) and Sarah Palin.

To be fair, the Palin creature is bit of a stretch...

So, is the union of Spore and politics called Sporitics? Spolitics?

Spore Tops Sales Charts, Despite DRM Contoversy

September 24, 2008 -

While some game consumers are outraged over Spore's controversial DRM scheme, others - many others - are snapping the game up at retail.

As reported by gamesindustry.biz, variants of Will Wright's evolve-and-conquer game occupy three of the top four spots among PC titles for the week ended September 13th.

1. Spore
2. Spore Galactic Edition
3. The Sims 2 Apartment Life
4. Spore Creature Creator
5. World Of Warcraft: Battle Chest
6. The Sims 2 Double Deluxe
7. World Of Warcraft
8. World Of Warcraft: Burning Crusade
9. Warcraft III Battle Chest
10. Crysis


EA Faces Class Action Lawsuit Over Spore DRM

September 24, 2008 -

Despite making a recent concession to consumers, the Spore DRM saga doesn't seem likely to stop vexing publisher Electronic Arts any time soon.

In the latest development, Courthouse News Service reports that a class action lawsuit has been filed in U.S. District Court. From the CNS story:

Electronic Arts, a leading maker of computer games, defrauds consumers through its "Spore" game, which "completely wipes their hard drive" and replaces it with an undisclosed program that prevents the computer from operating under some circumstances and disrupts hardware operations, a class action claims in Federal Court. 


The class claims that "Spore," a virtual reality simulation game, contains "a second, undisclosed program" called SecuROM, a "form of Digital Rights Management (DRM) for computer games."


Consumers are not warned about the program, which is installed without notice and cannot be uninstalled, even if the uninstall Spore, the complaint states. The secret SecuROM program is "secretly installed to the command and control center of the computer (Ring 0, or the Kernel), and surreptitiously operated, overseeing function and operation on the computer, preventing the computer from operating under certain circumstances and/or disrupting hardware operations," the complaint states.

Copy of the lawsuit here.

GP: Thanks to GP reader nighstalker160 for tipping us to this one via Shoutbox.


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.


CBS News Interview Will Wright About Spore

September 18, 2008 -

CBS News correspondent Daniel Sieberg interviews Will Wright about Spore. It's a DRM-free conversation and the second installment of this week's three-parter, The Games Our Children Play.

Catch part one, detailing the landmark Teens, Video Games & Civics report issued by the Pew Internet & American Life Project here.


Edge Online Editor: Spore DRM Does Not Encourage Piracy

September 18, 2008 -

With the controversy surrounding Spore's DRM reaching a fever pitch, Edge Online Editor Colin Campbell argues for calm and disputes some of the current theories about the relationship between DRM and piracy:

The anti-DRM crowd. They have a point, but then it gets lost by mob-insanity... They get mad about EA only offering three installs for Spore. I don't know many people who install games on three computers, but I dare say it's a few. EA says 1%. OK. That's a significant number of people, all in all. They ought to be offered some more options...


I agree that the DRM solutions currently in use are often frustrating and damage publishers. They need to be improved. Customers need to be heard. Action needs to be taken. EA needs to address these issues one by one.

But there's also a nasty sort of relativism going on here, that is weakening the position of those protestors who have a genuine grievance... And this mob-pandering argument that DRM encourages piracy? Please. What encourages piracy is dishonesty. Either you're the sort of cheap f**k who wants something for nothing, or you're not.

GP: For my money, Edge Online is among the top tier of video game news sites, but I can't get behind Colin on this one. In regard to the issue regarding the number of installs, here's a snippet of something I wrote this week for the Philadelphia Inquirer about my own gaming experience:

If you change PC’s or you are the type who keeps games for a long time and re-installs them periodically, you could be in for trouble. For example, I’m still playing EA’s Battlefield 1942 five years after release. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve deleted and reinstalled the game.


Hal Halpin: Spore DRM Fiasco is Pirate Training Ground

September 17, 2008 -

In his GameDaily column, Entertainment Consumers Association president Hal Halpin labels the Spore DRM situation a "travesty" and blames the mess for prompting otherwise upstanding gamers to learn piracy work-arounds.

After all, legit owners get just three installs of Spore. Pirates? Unlimited.

Legit users can only have one account per copy. Pirates? Just make more copies, as many as they need.

Hal writes:

One of the year's most highly-anticipated titles, Spore... may prove to be more notable for the fact that it marks the first time a major publisher defied the wishes of its own customers... The damage is done and the delay in responding has been significant.


The debate here isn't, assuredly, about piracy. This DRM did nothing to combat the cracking of the game. In fact, it essentially helped in training legions of customers how to become pirates and legitimized their rationalization in the process. With each additional negative story – which seem to be released hourly – you can almost hear the collective cringing of anti-piracy executives who know that they have all been forced to take a giant leap backwards due to this fiasco...


Here's hoping that EA does the right thing and makes amends with their customers before it gets much worse.

FULL DISCLOSURE DEPT: The ECA is the parent company of GamePolitics.


Spore Owners Turn Game's Own Content Creation Tools into DRM Protest

September 15, 2008 -

Frustrated by Spore's egregious DRM scheme? 

Evolve a protest creature.

GameCulture reports that Spore owners are using the game's extensive content creation tools to speak out against the DRM and offers a half-dozen screenshots to prove it.


Negative Spore Reviews Disappear From Amazon & Then Re-appear

September 12, 2008 -

Conspiracy theorists and grassy knoll types had a field day this afternoon as a couple of thousand customer reviews of Spore, mostly of the negative variety, suddenly disappeared from Amazon.com.

Some were quick to see EA's heavy hand in the missing reviews, but that was apparently not the case.

Earlier this week it was widely reported that angry gamers were slamming Spore with 1-star reviews due to the game's draconian copy protection scheme. Ironically, the game was cracked and posted online several days before its official release, meaning that legit buyers were the ones who suffered from the game's frustrating DRM.

Ars Technica, however, reports Amazon's explanation that the reviews were lost to a glitch of some sort and would be coming back online. Indeed, as this is being written, they appear to be back in place.


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

September 12, 2008 -

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?


AntiSpore Creationist Site Revealed as a Rick Roll

September 11, 2008 -

Yesterday GamePolitics covered AntiSpore, an apparent Creationist site bent on attacking the evolutionary message inherent in Will Wright's best-selling Spore.

We noted that there was some suspicion that the over-the-top blog was a hoax. And so it was. In today's entry the author starts out with a lengthy diatribe on her religious views:

I think part of the problem that is going on here is that the bulk of you are ignorant as to the word of God. I don’t have these beliefs just because I want to, I have them because they are the beliefs that I was raised in. I understand that everyone didn’t have the chance to be taught these things, and learn about God as my family did so if I am going to have this kind of attention I should use it to help teach others about the words of God that helped to shape me into the woman I am today...

...and then goes on to quote biblical passages from the Book of Genesis:

...But the Bible teaches us that God was not done with man. For we were His creation and He then spoke to Noah in Genesis 8:21-27 after the flood.
“21. The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. And never gonna give you up.
22. “Never gonna let you down.”
23.”Never gonna run around and desert you.”
24. “Never gonna make you cry.”
25. “Never gonna say goodbye.”
26. “Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you.”
27.”Never truly believe anything you read on the Internet. There will always be cases of Poe’s Law.”

So - a very clever Rickroll, indeed!

Now, the only remaining question is: who pulled this off? To find out that AntiSpore was an EA marketing stunt would be disappointing. Otherwise, Bravo!


Creationist Site Targets Spore

September 10, 2008 -

Who knew that Spore would be so controversial?

First there was the DRM madness that has enraged so many gamers. Now an apparent creationist site refers to Will Wright's long-awaited game an "attack on Christian values."

Anti-Spore (there is some speculation that the site is a hoax) went live just a day after Spore's September 7th release. The site's opening post sums up its focus:

Yesterday I found out about a new game called Spore when my son asked me to buy it for him.  It looked innocent enough at first and has “E for Everyone” ESRB rating.  But don’t be mislead, apparently “everyone” means everyone they want to teach evolution to.


This entire game is propaganda aimed directly at our children to teach them evolution instead of creationism, or “intelligent design” ...


I decided that Electronic Arts needs to hear from concerned people such as myself that this sort of game is not acceptable, and created this blog to find support and share information and progress with anyone who feels the same as I do.

Indeed, the domain name, which is private, was registered on September 8th. The anonymous author claims to be a wife and mother and writes that she has received hate mail and death threats over her Spore views.

The site also tosses in this small bit of politics:

I got a message from the supposed mayor of McCamish, KS [a suburb of Kansas City]. Claiming that he will make sure the game is kept out of their store. I have no way to verify the info, though.

Via: bit-tech.net


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E. Zachary KnightYay! New Tropes Vs Women in Games video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QC6oxBLXtkU08/31/2015 - 11:33am
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