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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 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.


"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates

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