Electronic Arts caves in the face of DRM criticism

In the face of harsh criticism, Electronic Arts has decided to allow multiple Spore screen names for any one Spore online account. Currently, consumers are limited to one account per copy with no support for multiple screen names. The announcement was made on The Official Spore Forum.

Once the change is implemented, each copy of Spore that you have purchased will be able to have one Spore Online Account with five different Spore screen names. When you launch Spore, you will be able to log in with any of those screen names.

The content a consumer creates and the MySpore Page will be associated with the logged in screen name for that account. Each screen name will be able to view and create its own original content. Buddy Lists and Sporecasts will be tied to that screen name. The Achievements earned will be credited to the screen name that is logged in at the time the Achievement is triggered. In the first iteration of this change, all screen names will be playing in the same Galaxy and any content downloaded by any screen name will be available in the Everything section.

In addition to the forum announcement, EA Games Label President Frank Gibeau sent Kotaku a statement defending their position and a list of future changes. According to Gibeau the Spore DRM fiasco was a misunderstanding.

“We’re extremely pleased with the reception SPORE has received from critics and consumers but we’re disappointed by the misunderstanding surrounding the use of DRM software and the limitation on the number of machines that are authorized to play a single a copy of the game,” said Gibeau. He also implied that much of the criticism is “noise” from game pirates, “while it’s easy to discount the noise from those who only want to post or transfer thousands of copies of the game on the Internet, I believe we need to adapt our policy to accommodate our legitimate consumers.”

Gibeau went on to outline specific changes to the current DRM policy:

  • The number of eligible machines will be expanded from three to five.
  • EA will continue to offer channels to request additional activations where warranted.
  • The ability to de-authorize machines and move authorizations to new machines.

In his closing statements, Gibeau stressed the necessity of DRM stating, “we’re hoping that everyone understands that DRM policy is essential to the economic structure we use to fund our games and as well as to the rights of people who create them. Without the ability to protect our work from piracy, developers across the entire game industry will eventually stop investing time and money in PC titles.”

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