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Lawsuits, banning threats, denials surround Spore DRM fiasco

According to documents obtained by the Courthouse News Service, Electronic Arts is facing a class action lawsuit due to the implementation of SecuROM DRM software in the recently released evolution game Spore. The lawsuit was filed Monday with the Northern California District Court and the plaintiff is Melissa Thomas and "all others similarly situated". Thomas is represented by Alan Himmelfarb and Scott A. Kamber of Vernon, California, and New York.

The suit claims, “Consumers are not warned about the program, which is installed without notice and cannot be uninstalled, even if they uninstall Spore”.  The lawsuit accuses Electronic Arts of deliberately hiding the fact that Spore uses SecuROM and claims the DRM software prevents the computer from operating under certain circumstances and/or disrupting hardware operations. The suit also claims that SecuROM takes over a portion of a PC's processing resources "to transmit information back to EA." The lawsuit is seeking an award for all plaintiffs the $49.99 purchase price plus damages. The details of the lawsuit are available in PDF format.

In addition to the lawsuit, there is more bad press for EA as Shacknews is reporting a poster on The Official Spore Forum was threatened with banning after asking about the DRM situation on the board. They were asked to take any further DRM SecuROM conversations to another forum and any further attempts to discuss the topic may result in a banning so severe the poster may be forced to buy a new copy to play Spore. The forum thread in question can be accessed here. In order to post on the forum, consumers must sign in with the Spore account tied to their game.

The comments appear to be the result of a frustrated forum moderator rather than official Electronic Arts policy as other forum moderators quickly stepped in claiming the inflammatory comments were the result of a miscommunication. They also stated on another forum thread "It is okay to discuss issues on this forum as long as it's done in a respectful manner and there are no personal attacks. This includes the DRM and other controversial issues.

In a message sent to Kotaku, Electronic Arts responded to the incident stating "These comments are absolutely not true or in-line with EA’s moderation policy. They were made by an over-zealous community volunteer who does not work for EA."

Spore has received large amounts of criticism for the way its DRM was implemented. The backlash has caused Electronic Arts to backtrack on some of their decisions with regards to the DRM implemented in Spore. The class action lawsuit and the forum incident are more additions to the public relations disaster that the Spore DRM fiasco has become.



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EA used underhanded tactics
By Flunk on 9/25/08, Rating: 0
RE: EA used underhanded tactics
By Mitch101 on 9/25/2008 10:30:41 AM , Rating: 5
Sorry I am for the attorneys on this one.

I haven't examined the box but looking on places that sell the game I didn't find anything describing the DRM/Malware on the activation limitations. I checked amazon and gogamer no mention of DRM except in the customer reviews on amazon.


RE: EA used underhanded tactics
By tedrodai on 9/25/2008 10:58:08 AM , Rating: 5
Agreed. Even if the lawyers are the only ones benefitting directly (monetarily), at least EA may face some sort of consequence for their ridiculous choices. The worse the consequences, the more likely they'll avoid choices like that again.


RE: EA used underhanded tactics
By breathlesstao on 9/25/2008 11:08:26 AM , Rating: 3
Um, if it was anyone else, I'd agree. But EA? Gimme a break - how many years have they been around for exactly? And Spore and its so-called protection wasn't the first to create such a commotion. One would think that a company as old (and big) as EA would already know what and how (not) to do; sad as it may seem, it doesn't seem like they were learning from such mistakes, their own or others'.


RE: EA used underhanded tactics
By Pavelyoung on 10/5/2008 9:48:07 AM , Rating: 2
You forget that EA doesn't care what its customers think. They know people will still buy the games they publish.


RE: EA used underhanded tactics
By mmntech on 9/25/2008 11:00:41 AM , Rating: 5
It's deceptive marketing. Game publishers should disclose DRM restrictions on the games package. They don't because they know that if people saw the restrictions before buying the game, they probably wouldn't buy it. This is a landmark case in the sense since it's the casual gamer's first introduction to the intrusive DRM we've been dealing with for years. I hope the plaintiffs with the suit (though I'm not optimistic about that). I also hope this suit brings meaningful changes to gaming that makes it more friendly to legitimate consumers.


RE: EA used underhanded tactics
By SiN on 9/25/2008 1:15:50 PM , Rating: 4
Totally disagree with you and others on this.

Publishers, under no circumstances, and regardless of which publisher, should never be allowed to limit the ammount of times you can install the product rendering it usless without hacking after "x" number of installs.

EA have been battling publicly the second hand market, and they chose to use this technique to prevent or limit said market.

I wouldnt be wrong in saying they thought they could inadvertantly get more revenue from the type of first hand buyers who wouldn't contact EA support to get extensions on their install limit after it was reached. But rather buy a new copy of the game for simplicty.

EA should be sued for these reasons alone. If only it teaches them a lesson. which it hardly will.

Unfortunatly, i could possibly predict that EA will be sucesfully sued, but they will be allowed to continue to use this practice of DRM as long as they have appropriate labeling on their packages or it is included in the terms and conditions in the install process.

EA sucks.


RE: EA used underhanded tactics
By ebakke on 9/25/2008 5:20:45 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
...or it is included in the terms and conditions in the install process
That's one thing that really gets to me. The terms are presented during installation, but if you don't agree, you can't return the product because you've opened it already!


RE: EA used underhanded tactics
By WikiChici on 9/25/2008 7:28:23 PM , Rating: 4
I thought this would happen.

EA is just bringing all of it down over its own head, they took the risk with the public by using DRM technology in their latest games, their going to cop the well deserved flak for it.

Get rid of DRM, ban it not the posters


RE: EA used underhanded tactics
By omnicronx on 9/26/2008 11:32:01 AM , Rating: 1
EULA EULA EULA!!

The purpose of a contract (such as a EULA) is to create exceptions to rights otherwise held. If you contractually disavow your rights under US Code 17.117 (which you are required to do in order to install the game), then you cannot claim that those rights are being violated.


RE: EA used underhanded tactics
By OttifantSir on 9/30/2008 3:19:15 PM , Rating: 2
I didn't know capitalism in America had gotten to the point where companies would be allowed to create a contract which gives the contractee less rights than that person has by law.

I live in Norway, and our laws clearly states that noone can be pressured, or are in any way obliged to accept a contract that gives them less rights than stated by law. The law says you can return a product for 30 days after purchase. ANY product, unless it is a perishable like fruits and groceries. And if a product is advertised to do something, it better well do that, because as a customer you have a legal right to get your money back if it doesn't. Law trumps any EULA. as it should be.

If I were to buy Spore (before I knew about the DRM), and then my machine crashed, the seller of that product would be obliged by law to refund the cost of the game and to repair the damages done by it. If need be, they would even be obliged by law to buy me a new machine with same specs. If the rootkit installed by Spore wouldn't be possible to remove, they would have to buy me a new machine.


RE: EA used underhanded tactics
By bighairycamel on 9/25/2008 11:08:02 AM , Rating: 5
Agreed. Apparently EA has never heard of the Sony/BMG DRM fiasco. Sony eventually had to recall all unsold CDs and offer a new CD without the DRM to the customers. And considering the game costs more than 3 times a music CD, it's easy to see where these people would be pissed.

Glad I didn't buy the game. Even more glad I decided about a year ago never to buy another EA game ever again.


RE: EA used underhanded tactics
By Ryanman on 9/25/2008 11:19:28 AM , Rating: 5
Amen. Poetic Justice that EA games are the most pirated on the planet.

Then again, it's not just their DRM policies, it's their bug fixing (or lack therof) and ridiculous yearly buisness model.


By StevoLincolnite on 9/25/2008 3:19:18 PM , Rating: 4
A few friends of mine love the game "Spore" but when they purchased the game for $99 Australian, and realized they couldn't install it on there systems because they lack an Internet connection, they were royally pissed off, I came to the rescue and cracked there installs, but I *Should not* have to do that, for them to play the game in single player mode.

quote:
Then again, it's not just their DRM policies, it's their bug fixing (or lack therof) and ridiculous yearly buisness model.


Plus Swallowing up Game Franchises and never using them. *Cough* Dungeon Keeper *Cough*. - Plus I would love for them to sell Alpha Centauri to Lion Head or something.


RE: EA used underhanded tactics
By killerroach on 9/25/2008 11:19:58 AM , Rating: 1
And considering the game costs more than 3 times a music CD, it's easy to see where these people would be pissed.

Although, in terms of costs to EA, it's no more than the costs of Sony's recall. It's quite likely that will be the end result, though, that EA will, once briefs are filed, offer to replace users' DVDs with DRM-free ones.

That being said, by the time that happens, the DRM will make very little economic sense, and they would probably be starting to talk about disabling it anyway.

I agree with the original commenter... the only winners here in the short run are the lawyers.


RE: EA used underhanded tactics
By afkrotch on 9/25/08, Rating: -1
By Innocent Hawk on 9/25/2008 4:42:32 PM , Rating: 2
No no. People complained. Alot. Especially on Bioshock and Mass Effect. You just weren't paying attention because you were too busy cracking those games.


RE: EA used underhanded tactics
By PhoenixKnight on 9/25/2008 7:18:46 PM , Rating: 3
You haven't heard many complaints about SecuRom before? You must not have been listening very well.


RE: EA used underhanded tactics
By afkrotch on 9/26/2008 9:16:52 AM , Rating: 3
I've been listening, but there was hardly a huge uproar over SecuRom on any of those games til Spore. The other complaints were like little drops in the bucket, while this one seems to be a tidal wave for some reason.


RE: EA used underhanded tactics
By CloudFire on 9/25/2008 9:09:28 PM , Rating: 1
if you know about anything in the gaming community and all its issues, you would know by now that crysis warhead is estimated to be one of the highest pirated games because of the securom.

both sides are pissed, legitimate buyers are mad because they can't install it on other computers that they have, so they could just pirate it for free and install it on whatever they want. games will get cracked sooner or later, it's just a matter of time, and then the publishers will get mad and blame piracy for their lackluster sales when it's the securom that is making people pissed in the first place.


RE: EA used underhanded tactics
By leexgx on 9/26/2008 12:46:06 AM , Rating: 2
SecuRom is very anoying when certan options are turnd on limited installs , not been able to start the game if disk loading tools are running or think is running on the pc, running process explorer (you have to reboot the pc on that one)

c&c3 was ok as it was only used when you run the game and the nocd DAT file does not even brake online game play (been the same for all c&c games thay used the same protection from red alert onwards just updated it an little) its like the guys who make the game understand not to mess with custmers (i own all of the c&c games or did need to find all my old ones agane or buy them)

did not bother even downloading bioshock (drm free one)
if i got the legit one i likey not even work on my pcs with the disk tools running on my pc

World in Conflict is only needed for single player i think to play it, never needed cd in drive for it on muti player

all the above needs an valid key that you have payed for

still useing the new SecuRom with alot of its options turned on or any DRM (online activation) type of game is poor as once that service stops (game very old) you not be able to install the game that you own

when SecuRom is been used for cd protection only norm not an problem as long as disk loading tools detection option is not used


RE: EA used underhanded tactics
By afkrotch on 9/26/2008 9:23:38 AM , Rating: 2
I bought 2 copies of Bioshock. One over Steam. Since I have a German IP, I got a stupid censored copy of the game, so I bought myself the US version. I have to turn off the virtual drives on Alcohol 120%/Daemon Tools, but only takes a sec. After that, I'm good to go.

C&C Tiberium Wars/Kane's Wrath don't seem to care that Alcohol 120% or Daemon Tools is installed or have virtual drives.

World in Conflict also didn't seem to care too much about what was going on, on my computer.

Yes, I did buy the games retail and haven't made any cracks/etc to SecuRom. As for the service's stopping or getting old, exactly what is going to disallow you from installing it? Any company that has gone defunct with such games ends up pushing out a patch or other workarounds. Well, only one Steam like distro company I've seen has gone that way.


RE: EA used underhanded tactics
By Quiescent on 9/25/2008 11:39:40 AM , Rating: 3
I agree. I remember buying Sony Music CD-Rs in 2004. When I finally got a burner and legitimately burned my music and OC Remix music onto them, I couldn't play it in my Sony walkman, and they were messed up on my computer too. But if I put software/OSes on them, they worked fine.

It was annoying because they were CD-Rs.


RE: EA used underhanded tactics
By Quiescent on 9/25/2008 11:49:44 AM , Rating: 2
I must add that the burning software (nero) was not at fault, because the music worked fine on other CD brands and did not skip or refuse to play at all on my walkman.


RE: EA used underhanded tactics
By omnicronx on 9/26/2008 11:27:31 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I haven't examined the box but looking on places that sell the game I didn't find anything describing the DRM/Malware on the activation limitations. I checked amazon and gogamer no mention of DRM except in the customer reviews on amazon.
Ever heard of an EULA that you agree too by either opening the box or installing the game?

This will go nowhere.

p.s not saying EA should not have mentioned it on the box, but legally they are not required too.


RE: EA used underhanded tactics
By elgoliath on 9/29/2008 4:13:07 PM , Rating: 2
I do not know how it was/is in this case, but most EULA's for software I've seen are on the CD- kinda defeats the opening the box argument if you have open it just to see the EULA.

Please, keep defending EA and others like them.... /sigh


RE: EA used underhanded tactics
By wrekd on 9/25/2008 7:54:35 PM , Rating: 2
EA stole small fractions of a percent of electricity from each and every customer who installed this kit. Sort of like Office Space, only they didn’t get the cash. But that doesn’t mean that every customer wasn’t minutely charged for electricity they didn’t choose to use. It’s a stretch, but maybe it is another avenue.


EA other tactics
By 325hhee on 9/25/2008 10:51:24 AM , Rating: 3
I pretty much gave the finger to EA when I bought Battle Field 2142, not only did it feel like just an add on to BF2, the initial release was buggy.

The biggest nail in the coffin to me was the in game ads that were on the billboards, at first I thought it was a joke, but when I took the time out, those I really looked at those ads, and yes, they were real ads, in a virtual world.

I paid $50 for the game, so I could have fun and enjoy fragging people. Not to watch ads, I thought my money meant, I paid for the the programmers, designers, artists, etc. apparently not, they need more money by running Intel and Nvidia ads all over the place.

EA is just getting worse and worse, I thought it was going to be a good thing when EA bought up Orign, and looked what happened, they had a great license, with great games like Ultima and Wing Commander, they destroyed those games, and then tossed out the license.




RE: EA other tactics
By Staples on 9/25/2008 11:52:24 AM , Rating: 3
How did the ads affect your decision not to buy the game? I play Burnout Paradise on the Xbox and I see new ads all the time. They are dynamic and sent over the net. It does not bother me. They have been saying that they were going to do this years ago. I don't know why this is a surprise to you.


RE: EA other tactics
By 325hhee on 9/25/2008 12:00:48 PM , Rating: 1
I don't care for commercials, especially since I've paid $50 for something. The reason network TV have commercial breaks, is so they can generate money to give us free TV. I pay for Showtime, and I don't get bogged down with commercial breaks.

I bought a game, not "Pirated" a game, why should I be subjected to commercials. If the game was free, fine, yes, place all the ads you want. If people like myself paid for a game, why should we have crap forced down our throats? I don't mind joke ads in games, as they're not selling a real product, but when it's a real product, that's crossing the line.


RE: EA other tactics
By afkrotch on 9/25/2008 12:35:16 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
I pay for Showtime, and I don't get bogged down with commercial breaks.


One time fee of $50 to get to play an online game over and over again, with some ads shown on a billboard in the background or a monthly fee for Showtime with no ads.

Maybe EA should get rid of the ads and just charge you $50 a month to play BF 2142 instead.


RE: EA other tactics
By HrilL on 9/25/2008 1:39:03 PM , Rating: 5
I can't agree with you at all. And your comparison is completely misleading. If EA actually hosted the game servers I could see their point. But the simple fact is users are paying hosting companies to host those game servers. If EA has ads on servers they don't pay to host then they should have to share that money with the hosting companies or the people paying to get the server hosted. I don't agree with companies making money off ads from other peoples dime. Plus someone is paying a monthly fee to have that server hosted. A lot more than $50 a month as well.


RE: EA other tactics
By GaryJohnson on 9/25/2008 7:47:45 PM , Rating: 2
EA has done some development on BF2142 in the form of new content and bug fixes since release. So they have spent some money on it.

The ads in BF2142 are completely benign and innocuous. You don't even have to try and you won't notice them.


RE: EA other tactics
By Darkefire on 9/25/2008 8:02:47 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, I think the giant flawless Intel banner I saw on the side of a decrepit and war-torn building begs to differ. If they'd made it stained and a bit singed it would be different, but there's no way you'd find anything as obvious as that still intact on a battlefield.


RE: EA other tactics
By afkrotch on 9/26/2008 9:39:53 AM , Rating: 2
http://healingiraq.blogspot.com/uploaded_images/ha...

Pretty good looking banner. Even that Samsung billboard looks pretty good. You know...in a decrepit, war-torn city like Baghdad.

http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/04We0Hn8HB4l5/...

Sadr City near Baghdad.

Guess what? On a battlefield, not everything is going to get hit.


RE: EA other tactics
By GaryJohnson on 9/27/2008 7:44:50 PM , Rating: 2
No matter how well or badly they fit in with their surroundings, they just aren't noticeable and they don't detract from the gameplay (which has its own problems that are far more glaring).


RE: EA other tactics
By HrilL on 9/25/2008 10:03:33 PM , Rating: 2
I could careless how much development they have done. Look at a game like StarCraft that is 10 or so years old. They still update that game fixing bugs/stopping hackers and guess what Blizzard host far more than EA does for that game. Chat channels, Game connecting servers... And yeah they have 1 add on the top but when you are in game there is NO ads. How much money do you think they make off a game like that now days? I doubt its very much. Plus in 10 years EA will have forgotten that game completely. It won't ever last the test of time. EA games are almost always buggy as well and they are coded poorly. And their patches tend to add more bloat for what they fixed.


RE: EA other tactics
By afkrotch on 9/26/2008 9:45:13 AM , Rating: 2
Bet Blizzard makes more on Starcraft still than what EA makes for BF2142. The game may not be big in the states anymore, but in Korea, they have tournaments for Starcraft. They have a 24/7 channel dedicated to the game. The store shelves still have the game stocked. Unlike BF2142, where you hardly ever see it on the shelves anywhere anymore.


RE: EA other tactics
By afkrotch on 9/26/2008 9:29:36 AM , Rating: 2
EA does host game servers. Not all of them, but they do have their own. They also host the servers that gather the information for other game servers.

Unlike the other ppl hosting their own game servers, EA can't stop. They have to host their own game servers or else an online game like BF2142 would die out.

Also why should EA have to give any money to other ppl who host their own game servers? EA didn't ask them to.


RE: EA other tactics
By BigPeen on 9/25/2008 2:22:17 PM , Rating: 3
I've been playing Counter strike for 8 or so years online, never paid a dime past the original cost of the game. Same with warcraft 3........And they are MUCH better games, no bugs, and get lots of support and updates.


RE: EA other tactics
By 325hhee on 9/25/2008 12:08:12 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
How did the ads affect your decision not to buy the game? I play Burnout Paradise on the Xbox and I see new ads all the time. They are dynamic and sent over the net. It does not bother me. They have been saying that they were going to do this years ago. I don't know why this is a surprise to you.


Oh and to clarify, yes I bought the game, and no I was not made aware that they were going to have real ads running in the game, no where was it mentioned. I read the box, I read the manual, and they did not say anything about real time ads in game.


RE: EA other tactics
By afkrotch on 9/25/2008 12:48:29 PM , Rating: 1
They don't need to put it on the box, manuals, etc for you. Why? Cause when you connect into a game, you will automatically download map details and other player details from the server. Throughout the time you are playing, updates will be going back and forth between you and the server. Just so happens the ads are part of the map details.

No one is going to bother putting down everything the game is going to do when you connect up to their servers. Are you mad that they didn't tell you that map details and other player details would be automatically downloaded?


RE: EA other tactics
By 325hhee on 9/25/2008 1:39:26 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
No one is going to bother putting down everything the game is going to do when you connect up to their servers. Are you mad that they didn't tell you that map details and other player details would be automatically downloaded?


Actually, I'm not playing on EA's open server, I'm playing on my Clan's server, which they paid for and are renting.

Are you working for EA or something?


RE: EA other tactics
By Parhel on 9/25/2008 6:47:17 PM , Rating: 2
It isn't going to go away. And despite the fact that the TV networks pay the bills through advertising, the producers of television shows (and even those movies on Showtime) also make money through product placement. It doesn't really bother me, as long as it isn't blatant to the point of interfering with the entertainment.


RE: EA other tactics
By Digimonkey on 9/25/2008 8:27:29 PM , Rating: 2
I have to agree with you. As long as it's not blatant or out of place it can actually add to the atmosphere. For instance it would be absurd to be driving across the country in a race without seeing a McDonalds sign somewhere along the way.

However a lot of people use a game to escape every day life, so bringing advertisements to a game without notice could disturb that ambiance offered by the game of escaping every day life. Especially if you worked at Mickey D's and hate it with every bone of your body.

So there should be an option. You should be able to get the game for $10-20 cheaper if you accept the advertisements being in the game. If you don't want them than pay full price for the game. My 2 cents.


RE: EA other tactics
By afkrotch on 9/26/2008 9:49:45 AM , Rating: 2
More than likely some data is still traversing between you and EA. Also between EA servers and the other game servers. Had to find that other server somehow and it was probably through EA's servers.

No I don't work for EA. Just stating my opinion as you are stating yours.


RE: EA other tactics
By afkrotch on 9/25/2008 12:30:56 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
I paid $50 for the game, so I could have fun and enjoy fragging people. Not to watch ads, I thought my money meant, I paid for the the programmers, designers, artists, etc. apparently not, they need more money by running Intel and Nvidia ads all over the place.


Your $50 doesn't cover the costs of running a network so that you can connect and do your online play. Also if you are too busy watching ads, you must get fragged a lot. When I play a game, I'm too busy paying attention to what my objective is. Sure, I might get a glimpse of an ad, but I'm not spending more than a second or two on it.

If you are, then you're the type of ppl I see playing Counterstrike. Too obsessed looking at another player's spray and being an easy target.


RE: EA other tactics
By Strunf on 9/25/2008 1:41:26 PM , Rating: 2
BF 2142 and BF 2 are two very different games and BF 2142 doesn't feel like an add on at all ( I really don't know where people get this idea from). It's BF2 that feels like an add on of BF1942 when you have played Desert Combat.

Completely agree with you on the rest though, maybe the game with ads should cost a little less or something, or give the possibility to deactivate them.


EA and DRM
By MystaEB on 9/25/2008 10:42:37 AM , Rating: 2
EA's approach to DRM has annoyed me immensely recently - it's not just Spore that has this same draconian method; it's Crysis - Warhead also. I literally cannot install Warhead using my external CD Rom due to the anti-copy method used on the disk. And the parasite known as SecuROM is just as bad.

It's frustrating to hand over your hard earned cash for something that doesn't work properly. Piracy will exist as long is there something worth stealing - and nothing will stop the pirates from getting what they want. There is always a way to beat the system. It just raises the question of why should we suffer from the DRM designed to stop pirates when they do not? Most people who pirate games will never see a speck of DRM because it's been stripped out by those clever buggers who rip and crack the software.

I can appreciate that developers and publishers have a right to protect their own content; but until they realise that we too have the right to own what we have purchased, there is going to be conflict. It seems nobody has told EA this.




RE: EA and DRM
By MatthiasF on 9/25/2008 11:26:44 AM , Rating: 1
Most distributors recognize that the anti-piracy measures will be beaten eventually, but during the time it hasn't been beaten they'll be less piracy and more revenue. Since the majority of the sales are in the first few months of release, anti-piracy measures make sense.

Meanwhile, the crowd that doesn't buy in the first few months are typically more likely to get a copy from a friend or buy a used copy of the game on Amazon or Ebay at a discount, so why pirate at all? As far as I'm concerned, this kind of behavior is fine and legitimate.

Those who pirate are typically doing it because of a misguided "robin hood" mentality or spoiled brats who think it's their god given right to be entertained for free at the expense of others.

Personally, I will not be buying Spore (even though I REALLY want to play it) until questions concerning the removal of SecuROM when uninstalling the game are answered or VMWare comes out with a version for PC that can handle 3D acceleration (still pissed Mac users get Fusion and the rest of us are ignored) so I can install DRM'd games on a virtual machine.


RE: EA and DRM
By bighairycamel on 9/25/2008 11:47:19 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Most distributors recognize that the anti-piracy measures will be beaten eventually, but during the time it hasn't been beaten they'll be less piracy and more revenue. Since the majority of the sales are in the first few months of release, anti-piracy measures make sense.


You must have missed the article that shows Spore was the most downloaded torrent in history during its first week.

(see last 2 paragraphs)
http://www.dailytech.com/Electronic+Arts+Claims+Sp...


RE: EA and DRM
By robinthakur on 9/25/2008 12:04:54 PM , Rating: 2
Is that why Spore was being torrented at least a day before its retail release? Once the DRM story got out you can imagine how the number of people downloading it went up, probably proportionally to the sales EA have lost. Amusingly, EA have been great promulgators of piracy with Spore as SOOO many people even just on Dailytech have heard about the fact that if you pirate the game you have virtually no restrictions on play compared with actually paying money for it. Most people following a common sense modus opperandi or who just prefer to follow the path of least resistance will therefore just get the torrent. The fact that the game has underwhelmed is also not doing it any favours. With a disappointing sales performance, can you really see EA supporting activations on it in 10 years time?

On that topic I'd like to see the minimum amount of time that games have to be playable for to be mandated by the industry as certain companies have shown such contempt for the people that buy their games its not funny.

Not to mention that if you pick up a used copy of Spore or buy it off a friend, who's to say that its even got enough activations left on it for you to be able install it?

Bottom line, if you are a gamer or a consumer in general, this social experiment on the term 'property' versus 'rental' or 'paid service' is not in your interests.


RE: EA and DRM
By afkrotch on 9/25/2008 12:26:04 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Amusingly, EA have been great promulgators of piracy with Spore as SOOO many people even just on Dailytech have heard about the fact that if you pirate the game you have virtually no restrictions on play compared with actually paying money for it


virtually no restrictions on play, compared to those who actually paid for it. How so?

I bought a copy, installed it, and it plays. I don't need to have the dvd in the drive for it to work. I click the icon, it starts.

That or I can spend time downloading it, find a crack made by god knows who, then do exactly what I'm doing now. Cept unlike you, if SecuRom breaks my machine, I have someone I can sue. Those using a crack, good luck doing anything about it.


RE: EA and DRM
By DASQ on 9/25/2008 4:10:27 PM , Rating: 3
'breaks my machine'

last I checked, RELOADED wasn't setting anyones machines on fire.

Also, 'at least I'll have someone I can sue'... this kind of attitude is what is wrong with the 'voluntary' legal system. Don't like the law? Sue until you do!


RE: EA and DRM
By afkrotch on 9/26/2008 10:41:28 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Also, 'at least I'll have someone I can sue'... this kind of attitude is what is wrong with the 'voluntary' legal system. Don't like the law? Sue until you do!


What's exactly wrong with it? If Spore/DRM breaks my computer and I have to spend X amount of dollars to fix the problem, I expect EA to reimberse me. If they don't, I can hold they legally responsible.

Just because the computer hardware doesn't break, doesn't mean I don't lose valuable time and money when the software breaks.


RE: EA and DRM
By robinthakur on 9/30/2008 6:12:49 AM , Rating: 2
Its a sad world when you have to worry about malicious software packaged with a retail game from a world-class company breaking your computer and being virtually impossible for a non technical person to deinstall. Why should you even have to worry as you paid money for it. It leads back to the presumption of guilt and EA being really nice to allow you to play this fantastic confection. As long as you don't want to resell it...

If Securerom does actually 'break' your OS or ability use some programs which you might have legitimately purchased (like some burning tools) then do you honestly think that a disclaimer to that effect isn't included on the T&C's you have to agree to when you install Spore? The whole area of corporate liability to flawed software is a very shaky area, just look at Microsoft. Sony got burned on this and hopefully so will EA as I consider it underhanded and against the spirit of goodwill shown by the customer in forking over money for the damn product.

I don't really get why software is unlike any other industry. The case in point where you only get the EULA (which overrides your statutory rights) AFTER you open the game and are unable to return it for a refund is just absurd.


RE: EA and DRM
By mydogfarted on 9/25/2008 5:28:08 PM , Rating: 2
VMWare Workstation 6.5 has Direct X 9.0 support.


RE: EA and DRM
By afkrotch on 9/25/2008 12:17:22 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I literally cannot install Warhead using my external CD Rom due to the anti-copy method used on the disk.


Weird. I installed Spore via a shared dvd burner in my other comp, as the comp that I installed it on has a busted dvd burner. Slow install, since it was done over the network, but installed no problems.


Thinking of buying
By Narcofis on 9/25/2008 10:40:07 AM , Rating: 3
I was thinking on buying this game but with all the DRM controversy, I'm going to skip this one.

They should at least forewarned the buyer about the DRM and it is definitely bad that when you removed the game the DRM is not removed which in my book means Spyware or in this case we call it a Trojan (Doesn't really matter if it's true or not). Which is totally unacceptable.

When we don't know who made it we call it a Virus but when there's a big name behind it we call it DRM.

Funny how things works.




RE: Thinking of buying
By Narcofis on 9/25/2008 10:44:50 AM , Rating: 2
After reading my post the I made a little mistake. The part
where I say (Doesnt really matter if it's true or not) was targeted at when you removed the game, the DRM stays on.

They should really add an edit post button or something.
Unless there is one I don't know about!


RE: Thinking of buying
By codeThug on 9/25/2008 11:41:36 AM , Rating: 2
Even the name of it, "spore" gives me the creeps. It sounds like an Andromeda Strain style fungal infection.


RE: Thinking of buying
By afkrotch on 9/25/2008 12:14:40 PM , Rating: 1
Please tell me exactly why you'll skip it? Or the many many other games that use SecuRom.

All it does is sit there, make sure you own the game, then fire it up. It's not made to be malicious, like a trojan/spyware/etc. It's not sending my info back to EA, it's not opening a backdoor on my computer so that other softwares are installed on my machine, etc.

But hey, how many games have you installed with SecuRom? How many games have you actually purchased legally? If you've bought multiple games within the past couple years, odds are pretty high that SecuRom is probably already on your machine.


RE: Thinking of buying
By DragonReach on 9/25/2008 3:59:08 PM , Rating: 5
Yeah that is false. Enable bitlocker on vista if you have a version that supports it, then try to start up your game.

Run procmon to try to resolve a different issue and then try to play your game.

People have also had issues where games would not start if they had virtual cd/dvd programs loaded.

All related to SecuROM.

Since my laptop is a business system I can't play games that use these intrusive DRM schemes because they bypass established APIs to access storage. With bitlocker enabled trying to run NWN2 will hang the box completely.

Given the behavior of the software I have no problem calling SecuROM malware, it installs silently, provides no easy method for removal and stays long after the programs that installed it are removed. I have to take the same steps to remove it as I do to remove a virus or trojan, so it fits in the same category. The only real difference is they managed to get me to pay them for this garbage.


RE: Thinking of buying
By afkrotch on 9/26/2008 10:57:35 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
Yeah that is false. Enable bitlocker on vista if you have a version that supports it, then try to start up your game.

Run procmon to try to resolve a different issue and then try to play your game.


Flaws of SecuRom, which will probably get fixed in later versions. Much like flaws of any other software program out there.

quote:
People have also had issues where games would not start if they had virtual cd/dvd programs loaded.


The program loaded is no problem. Just the virtual drive itself. Just disable that drive and it works.

quote:
Since my laptop is a business system I can't play games that use these intrusive DRM schemes because they bypass established APIs to access storage. With bitlocker enabled trying to run NWN2 will hang the box completely.


WTF business lets ppl play games on their laptops, let alone install them?

quote:
Given the behavior of the software I have no problem calling SecuROM malware


Malware...malicious software. SecuRom isn't made to be malicious and having it have bugs doesn't make it fall under malware.

Also almost every program leaves behind traces of itself, incase you install it again. Shoot, I have to reload Windows just to get rid of ATI catalyst drivers, as it's simply easier to do than go through the location of every piece of the driver and clean out the registry.


Isnt it funny that...
By Proteusza on 9/25/2008 10:57:37 AM , Rating: 2
Despite Vista's security minded focus, and all of its new features including UAC, it still allows software like SecuROM to work. I hope that Windows 7 makes it mandatory for anything installing additional drivers or anything that starts on startup to obtain user consent even in the middle of the installation. I mean, whats the difference between SecuROM and more malicious software? Both are stealth software that piggy backs on other software.

So, if I installed Spore, it should prompt me before the installation, then when it detects that Spore wants to install SecuROM, should prompt me for that too. Or just deny the installation altogether.




RE: Isnt it funny that...
By kamel5547 on 9/25/2008 11:08:38 AM , Rating: 2
You give your consent when you authorize the primary installer (assuming they even use two installers), if you had to consent to every change UAC would be even worse (As it stands I've deactivated it). As long as people want an easy install (i.e. one master installer rather than 20 different ones for each aspect of a program) then this really isn't feasible.

Personally the only issues I have with the DRM are:
1) the software does not remove at uninstallation (although this is understandable given that many games use the same DRM, if you removed it and had other games using it you would break those games).
2) No license return feature.

I actually like DRM for the one thing, I don't ahve to hunt down a nocd hack. Lets be honest DRM has been around for years and has progressively made it easier to deal with software if you are a legitimate consumer. I mean I don't have to hunt through a book with a colored piece of plastic to decode the third word of the 4th paragraph anymore... I kind of like that.


RE: Isnt it funny that...
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 9/25/2008 11:32:48 AM , Rating: 2
Heh, remember the original X-Wing that ran on Win 3.1/DOS/Win95? You had to open up the manual and look for the specific 3 character code on the bottom of the page designated to get it to load up? Yea, that was a real pain. I was glad when they removed it from the version released on CD later on.


RE: Isnt it funny that...
By The0ne on 9/25/2008 12:23:36 PM , Rating: 2
I remember the old RPG games with the crpyted wheels and stuff :D it was fun but frustrating when you can't find it to be able to play :D


RE: Isnt it funny that...
By Mojo the Monkey on 9/25/2008 2:01:53 PM , Rating: 2
Ah, Monkey Island... I miss you


RE: Isnt it funny that...
By sticks435 on 9/25/2008 1:38:09 PM , Rating: 2
That is because Securom takes over Ring 0(kernal) access, which bypasses UAC and all vista security measures.


RE: Isnt it funny that...
By BikeDude on 9/27/2008 7:43:23 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Despite Vista's security minded focus, and all of its new features including UAC, it still allows software like SecuROM to work.


I suspect Vista ships many of these DRMs as part of the standard SKU. I have even seen some safedisc related files in the Windows 2003 Server installation (I think they were safedisc related -- it's been a few years since I spotted these files, and I remember checking MS' DLL Help database to verify the origin of those files). That is the only way they can let regular non-admin users install games. (by already hosting the parts that require admin access)

Personally I hate to swap DVDs. And I hate to hunt around my shelves so that I can spend ten minutes in a game to relax (between other activities). I am not a librarian... I am more than willing to buy a huge HD to host my games... In fact, I have done so already. It makes absolutely no sense to me that I should have to hunt around for a shiny disc to play the freaking game I just bought.

Fortunately, games like FS:X doesn't do that. So I purchased the deluxe edition.

I did not buy Spore, because I have been burned by badly functioning DRMs before, and I do not willingly walk into problems.

Too many times in the past have I been burned by DRMs that do not like new hardware or new operating systems. (Windows 2000 killed my "Discworld Noir" game; 64-bit Windows XP killed all sorts of DRMs, etc... Some games do not like my SCSI based DVD-ROM player, heck, even recent versions of PowerDVD now shuns my SCSI optical drives -- which is bad because I needed many drives so I did not have to hunt around for game discs)

In conclusion, I do not buy (nor play) many games these days. I am too lazy to swap DVDs, and I am too lazy to download some noCD crack. I read a review of Crysis: Warhead and was tempted to buy it, but now that someone commented that it too is hampered by some monster copyprotection, I will just skip it. I do not want to buy another DRM infested game. I'd gladly buy a game every fortnight otherwise, so if there are others like me out there, the distributors are not making as much money as they could have.


EA have lost the plot and my money.
By robinthakur on 9/25/2008 11:53:45 AM , Rating: 4
Hopefully some enterprising soul will create some malware that capitalises upon the security holes that Securom creates on users machines and the resulting legal action will put that company out of business.

My issues with Spore and Mass Effect in particular are:

*NO warning before you purchase the game about the activation limit. Its not even prominently displayed on the box

*That the only measurable thing in this equation is that the piracy rate of the game is not being dented, therefore who are EA trying to hurt here?

*Securom is extremely hard to deinstall for the vast majority of computer users. Its certaincly far easier to accidentally install it without fully understanding the consequences and the program behaves very much like a piece off malware even cafter the game in question has been deinstalled.

*Spores forums contain comment to the effect that "As long as you don't do things like reinstalling Vista then you can install the game as many times as you like. I reinstall Vista quite a bit on my machine for reasons which are my own. Who does EA think it is to tell me that software I purchased cannot be installed because the way I use my machine falls outside of their criteria??

The whole situation is ludicrous and hopefully this sh*tstorm of negative publicity will continue until they implement something simpler like, I dunno, a cd-key maybe?




By Belard on 9/25/2008 12:29:04 PM , Rating: 4
Sure... how about not buying ANY future EA titles as long as they continue to include secureROM on their titles.

We, as PC gamers need to KICK EA in the BALLS today. Otherwise more games will come we SecureROM or whatever and be running in the background. Geeez - Vista is bloated enough as is and these monkeys want to install more crap?

EA deserves to be sued, SecureROM needs to be SUED. And anyone who buys these titles should be part of the class-action suit. Figure the time it takes to remove the "root-kit like program" - such as reinstalling Windows if need be. Say 5~8hours of labor x $100 per her... and any software lost due to activation, etc... so about $800 per head... sounds fair.

In the previous article about SPORE on this site, I think I said that EA is looking at a class-action lawsuit. hey, didn't BioShock go through this already? yeah, we need to make a bigger stink now.

The new Crysis game will not be on my list... I guess that may also include Far Cry 2?

Come stupid game companies... STOP hurting your customers. Just put in basic protection (A CD Key) and let it go. BioShock and Spore and any game that ever comes out will be hacked before a person can pick it up at Best Buy... those who pirate will not care and will always get what they want. Stop wasting your resources for a losing battle.


RE: EA have lost the plot and my money.
By afkrotch on 9/25/2008 12:50:38 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
the program behaves very much like a piece off malware


Specify


By robinthakur on 9/30/2008 6:22:51 AM , Rating: 2
Specifically, it remains after you have deinstalled the main product, it stops certain other unrelated programs from working such as disc emulation tools and burning tools (which do have a legitimate usage) and makes a section of the registry read-only to try and resist deinstallation.

Clicking on the uninstall icon is not an option, despite this being a third party application and not part of the OS, hence I would declare this has far more in common with Malware than a legitimate program which companies like EA should be installing by stealth on their customer's pc's. Its just like Sony's rootkit fiasco, and when it got to court they were given a royal kicking. This should end no differently and is actually much worse.

Turning what you believe to be a one-off product that you purchase into a service provided on the whim of EA is not a pleasant proposition to most people if you put it in those terms.


boring
By Verran on 9/25/2008 10:19:45 AM , Rating: 2
The DRM issues would probably bother me more if the game had been fun enough to keep playing.

Looks like they spent more money on DRM, unnecessary authentication servers and call centers than they did on development.




RE: boring
By afkrotch on 9/25/2008 1:00:01 PM , Rating: 2
Development was done by Maxis, they didn't deal with any of the DRM. EA grabbed the finished product, slapped in the SecuRom, and shipped it out the door.

I personally wouldn't be surprised if Maxis had a large budget for the game simply because of the creator.

The game simply that great because of Maxis. They might know how to make Sim games, but they sure as hell don't know much else beyond that. The tribal and civilization phases were pretty much a clumsily made RTS. The original C&C was better than that crap.


RE: boring
By Maximilian on 9/25/2008 6:53:10 PM , Rating: 2
Uh yeah and maxis is owned by.... thats right! EA!! It is an undeniable fact that EA had maxis dumb this game down and mess it up. Look at simcity, simcity 4 was umm not without its problems but overall it was a decent game, now look at simcity societies... its a piece of trash. Same thing happened here with spore, EA wrecked it.


RE: boring
By afkrotch on 9/26/2008 11:17:03 AM , Rating: 2
Maxis is a subsidiary. Yes, owned by EA, but doesn't mean they fully control Maxis. Simcity Societies wasn't a Maxis game.

Spore is a whole new type of game that Maxis isn't familiar in making. All in all, they failed at it. Probably all Maxis and less EA on that.

EA has done all the different kinds of genres that were combined into Spore. I'd say if they had more control in the process of Spore's creation, it would have been a better game.


I'm disappointed in you guys here
By cubby1223 on 9/25/2008 12:48:36 PM , Rating: 2
Is the Sony bashing over with by now, or what? No one has mentioned yet that SecuROM is made by Sony? Or is EA just the hipper company to bash? :)




By Dribble on 9/25/2008 1:00:42 PM , Rating: 2
Still lots of Sony DRM bashing (quite rightly) going on. Check out the article about them only allowing you to download movies you bought on the PS3 network once.


By MRsnufalufagus on 9/25/2008 1:23:11 PM , Rating: 3
you would think that EA would have paid attention to the fact that they were adopting methods from and actually paying money for the technology to create the exact same PR disaster that Sony had with the rootkit fiasco. At least EA is acknowledging the problem more and not saying things as contemptuous to the customers as "most people don't even know what a rootkit is."

The dumb thing is that there is nothing fundamentally wrong with trying to protect your intellectual property. You just have to tell people if it is going to get so entwined with your OS. DRM is like herpes. you should tell people when you stick it in them. and unlike the latter, you can make it possible to clean it out. you must do so.


Honestly
By SecTech767 on 9/29/2008 3:31:04 AM , Rating: 2
Honestly guys,

1. Stop pirating. Go out and get a job and contribute to the economy. Nothing is free, so what you are doing is stealing. And stealing is illegal.

2. DRM should not be a factor on whether or not you buy something unless it applies to less than 3 systems. WHO THE HELL would need to install Spore on more than 3 computers?

3. I am against this completely. The data that EA installs on your system is used to prevent theft, which is illegal, and I'm all for justice.

Stop stealing you sad little pirates. People develop the things you steal for a living and deserve the rights to make as much income as anyone else who manufactures goods. They should not have to make less simply because it is easier to steal in the digital world then physical.




RE: Honestly
By neverXmiss on 9/29/2008 6:26:33 PM , Rating: 2
People pirate for different reasons and its not only because they are too lazy to buy the game.

1. I buy all my games, but even so would rather get the pirated version specially if i don't have internet connection to activate every single little time i want to play a game. Ex. Mass Effect.

2. You mean MORE than 3 systems. In case you forgot you installed that game on MICROSOFT WINDOWS . Say you get a virus or spyware and need to clean your system. I guarantee you that it will be more than 3 times in your lifetime with the computer, I want to have to need to call support to get another and another chance to activate my game.
3. DRM is pointless. There will ALWAYS be cracks. Even MMO's that need online connection are hacked. Ex. World of Warcraft

DRM is acceptable to certain degree. I never minded any securom, safedisc or any other that needed an online key to run, but activations of games on each computer breaks the line. On a side note: if everybody was rich like you to buy multiple copies of the game like you then this wouldn't be an issue.


RE: Honestly
By neverXmiss on 9/29/2008 6:29:23 PM , Rating: 2
2. You mean MORE than 3 systems. In case you forgot you installed that game on MICROSOFT WINDOWS . Say you get a virus or spyware and need to clean your system. I guarantee you that it will be more than 3 times in your lifetime with the computer, I don't want to have to need to call support to get another and another chance to activate my game.


DRM makes no sense
By mac2j on 9/25/2008 8:39:59 PM , Rating: 2
There is no way DRM makes sense - hopefully this case will re-enforce that message.

1) The money you pay to use the technology is wasted
2) Having DRM on your product actually INCREASES the rate at which it is pirated. Personally I buy new games but anything with DRM I'll wait for the hacked version of.
3) The extra costs and bad PR associated with lawsuits etc is an additional downside.

Any company stupid enough not to realize this by now deserves to suffer the consequences of their bad decision making.




RE: DRM makes no sense
By eman007 on 9/28/2008 4:24:30 PM , Rating: 2
This is off topic but does anyone know how the ratings work on here? I'm a new member so I'm trying to figure out how users rate one another. Thanks :)


Same old story.......
By Domicinator on 9/25/2008 11:51:02 PM , Rating: 2
Console gamers and PC gamers alike have been dealing with in-game ads for a long time. I was really pissed when PC Gamer Magazine called out 2142 for in game ads, but didn't call out F.E.A.R. for splattering Dell ads all over the subways and streets. Ubisoft does it too. They all do it. It happens on all other media, including right in the middle of movies. I can't believe people were so naive to think that it would never come to the gaming world or that they could some how stop it.

However, I do not blame PC developers for using DRM. And this is coming from someone who had Starforce completely ruin a DVD ROM drive back when they were still really expensive. Piracy is one of the main culprits contributing to the dumbing down of PC gaming. Notice I didn't say the death of PC gaming. PC gaming is not dying, it's just shifting more and more toward casual games and MMOs. This is because AAA titles like Crysis are not money makers on the PC anymore. The few copies they do get out from purchases are dwarfed by the number of pirated copies. What are these companies supposed to do? Pirates aren't going to change their attitude about piracy if every game is DRM free. They're just going to find it easier and easier to pirate.

This subject is a slippery slope. I get very angry at EA for being lazy about bug fixes. As a lover of the entire BF series, I thought the 2142 ads were very disappointing. However, I am never going to condone piracy, whether you're doing it just to crack the DRM on your purchased copy or just getting the bit torrent and not paying at all. You are breaking the law.

If you buy a PC game, especially an EA one, these days without thinking about DRM first, then you're an idiot. Expect DRM. Expect ads. That's about all there is to it. These frivolous lawsuits are started by rainmaker lawyers, and they almost never pan out to anything.




RE: Same old story.......
By wempa on 9/26/2008 12:25:10 PM , Rating: 2
I don't blame software companies for trying to protect their games from casual copying either. However, apply a copy protection system that does not hamper our enjoyment and freedom of playing the game. As many others have mentioned, a CD key for online play and/or CD check would accomplish the same thing. There are a number of reasonable ways to accomplish this. Granted, no scheme would prevent pirating but at least the paying customers aren't put through such nonsense as this.


EA really isn't worth it anymore.
By Eugenics on 9/30/2008 12:01:10 PM , Rating: 2
I decided long ago I would never buy another EA game. So glad I have stuck with it. There are plenty of independent game makers out there with quality products. Red Alert 3 is going to have the same SecuRom but its going to have a whole whopping 5 installs! What an excellent way to drive a few more nails into the coffin they have made for the C&C series.




"We can't expect users to use common sense. That would eliminate the need for all sorts of legislation, committees, oversight and lawyers." -- Christopher Jennings

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