View Full Version : EA Responds to Spore DRM, Faces Lawsuit

09-25-08, 10:10 PM
Amid a sea of complaints and dissatisfied gamers, Electronic Arts recently altered its digital rights managements (DRM) software found on its just-released title Spore.

Touted by EA as being one of the must-have titles of 2008, Spore has seen a tremendous backlash from consumers and reviewers alike (check out the Tom's Games review). The source of the controversy is that the SecuROM DRM on the PC version of Spore only allowed you to install the game three times. But because of the backlash against SecuROM, the publisher has decided to increase the number of activations allowed by the DRM.

"We're extremely pleased with the reception SPORE has received from critics and consumers," said, Frank Gibeau, president of EA Gameshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_Arts , in a press statement. "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. We're willing to evolve our policy to accommodate our consumers. But 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." As a result, Gibeau said EA increased the number of activations from three to five per customer.

While five machines is indeed a boost, it still won't be enough for the consumers who want to see all DRM removed from current and upcoming titles. And despite the effort to appease consumers, EA has been hit with a class action lawsuit regarding Spore's DRM. Alan Himmelfarb of Kamber Edelson filed the lawsuit in Northern Californiahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_California District Court on behalf of Melissa Thomas, as well as "all consumers globally who have purchased the Spore computer game."

The lawsuit claims that consumers were not privy to what SecuROM does on their computer, and that "Electronic Arts intentionally did not disclose to any such purchasers that the Spore game disk also possessed a second, hidden program which secretly installed to the command and control center of the computer." Furthermore "Even if the consumer deletes Spore, and entirely deletes it from their computer, SecuROM remains a fixture on their computer unless and until the consumer completely wipes their hard drive through reformatting or replacement of the drive."

Will any monetary damages come of this? Probably not, but we may see a shift in EA's DRM policy, or a removal of DRM from Spore and other EA games at some point in the near future. One thing is for sure - Spore has sold quite a few copies despite the DRM controversy and some lackluster reviews. Electronic Arts also released a statement declaring that Spore has sold more than 1 million copies.

"Spore is a hit," Gibeau said in another press statement. "Will Wright's latest delivers an incredibly diverse game that appeals to casual gamers and the core alike. We're off to a great start moving into the holiday season and believe Spore will deliver a platform of creativity for gamers of all stripes for years to come."

"We're humbled by how quickly the community has taken to the creativity tools in Spore," said Lucy Bradshaw, vice president of Maxis and Spore's executive producer, in a press statement. "It's amazing to see the sheer imagination represented in the hundreds of thousands of creatures, vehicles and buildings that have been uploaded around the clock since launch."


09-25-08, 11:40 PM