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Published on September 8th, 2008 | by Deejay Knight, Editor/Founder


Spore Gets Low User Ratings; DRM to Blame

We’ve been here before, and it wasn’t pretty last time. Where is ‘here’, exactly? It’s the time immediately after a major PC game release where angry gamers show their true feelings – with their pocketbooks – about what they feel is an injustice.

What’s the injustice this time? Spore, the latest Maxis creation to hit retail shelves, has an extreme case of “overbearing DRM”. Rather than talk about how upset they are about it on forums, they’ve taken it to the big house – Amazon.com.

Angry gamers have been writing reviews and leaving one out of four star recommendations on the title since release. Here’s an excerpt from one of them:

I have long awaited purchasing this game. I have been slavering and drooling over videos since they were released. NOW I find out that there is simply no option to purchase this game, that it’s a $50 rental or nothing else.

I won’t rent my video games, EA.

The DRM on this thing is less friendly than my recent colonoscopy- You get three installs. That’s it. No install returned for uninstallation, or anything else. You install it three times, then you’re out $50.

Mass Effect suffered the same fate within recent months, and it’s all due to the SecuROM DRM used to slow piracy. The problem, as incorrectly quoted in the article, is that you have to contact EA’s customer support after three installs if you need to install again. Not many people like having to ‘phone home’ to install their games.

Personally, when I spent more time on PC than consoles, I tended to format my HDD and reinstall Windows every six months, sometimes sooner. Surely I wasn’t alone in that practice and it may have been overkill, but I never had to call a company about installing a game I already paid for.

There has to be another way to use DRM to ensure the users playing aren’t pirating, because the users watching Spore’s customer reviews on Amazon would likely shy away from the title due to all the negativity.

Maybe a fix like the one 2K Games used for BioShock would work? They allowed unlimited installs, but the game still has to be activated online. I’d rather have to deal with activating a game every time I installed than only having three installations total before I have to call and explain why I need to install again.

This is yet another reason that I’m not in a rush to get a new gaming PC.

Spore Customer Reviews [Amazon.com]

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About the Author

Deejay has been a gamer since the Atari 2600, has wrestled–and defeated–alligators with only his toes, and once aligned all the planets in the Solar System by uttering the words "Coo Coo Ka-Choo". In his sleep. He currently bides his time behind the scenes here at GAMINGtruth.com, streaming at http://www.twitch.tv/deejayknight and teaching.

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    my God, i thought you were going to chip in with some decisive insght at specific end there, not leave it

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