Despite being one of the most anticipated games of this year, some people are not overly happy with the overbearing and unnecessary DRM EA have placed on the game.
To “protect” the game, EA have kindly added SecuROM DRM (Digital Rights Management) to all copies. This limits the number of installs you can make (in Spore’s case, 3) and requires you to activate the install over the net. But it gets worse. Over the past few years accusations have been made of the software and the stupidly high level of access it has on your PC.
For some reason, SecuROM requires the highest level of access to your data possible, higher than the average user gets. It can then watch and tinker with whatever it wants, and send that information to whatever server it deems fit. When BioShock came out, there were accusations (since semi-cleared) of SecuROM acting suspiciously like a root kit because of this.
It seems many Amazon buyers are none too happy with the discovery of SecuROM on their legally bought copies of Spore and have had a mini-riot in the reviews section. There are currently more than 200 single-star reviews, giving the game an average score of 1.5 stars (out of 5).
The most popular review, written by Erich Maria Remarque, points a very damning finger at the DRM:
First of all, the game incorporates a draconian DRM system that requires you to activate over the internet, and limits you to a grand total of 3 activations. If you reach that limit, then you’ll have to call EA in order to add one extra activation. That’s not as simple as it sounds, since when you reach that point EA will assume that you, the paying customer, are a filthy pirating thief. You will need to provide proof of purchase, reasons why the limit was reached, etc, etc (it has all happened before with another recent EA product, Mass Effect).
EA, of course, is not obligated to grant you that extra activation or even provide that service. In a couple of years they might very well even shut down the general activation servers, because “it’s not financially feasible” to keep them running. What you will be left with is a nice, colorful $50 coaster. And you will be required to pay for another copy/license if you want to continue playing.
When will these companies learn that treating people as guilty before proven innocent will only ever do harm? The irony to all this is that it’s possible to get a copy of Spore without the DRM, but you’ll have to go through the illegal, piracy channels to get it. Yaaar.