Gamers Go All "Cooper Lawrence" On Spore's Amazon.com Listing; Oh, the Irony
Remember awhile back when angry gamers stormed the Amazon.com page for Cooper Lawrence’s book with one-star reviews after she spoke out on Fox News against Mass Effect’s “full digital nudity” and “graphic sex?” Remember later how EA spoke out against the Fox News story? Then maybe it’s almost ironic that now EA is the one being subjected to a thrashing on Amazon. Following the release of Spore yesterday, gamers have taken to Amazon once more to express their outrage over the game‘s ridiculous DRM. Spore’s listing right now shows over 700 reviews that give the game a one-star rating, and almost all of those cite the copyright protection. I’ll just let one disgruntled gamer, Erich Maria Remarque, explain the issue:
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.
That certainly sums up the problem quite nicely. I do find it a little odd that gamers are just now getting upset about this though, since EA had said in the past that Spore and Mass Effect would use the same copyright protection; and Mass Effect had the exact same restrictive DRM. For their part, reviewers are also noting Spore’s less-than-spectacular gameplay as a factor too; but clearly the negative reviews are being driven by the DRM issue.
So now I guess we just wait and hope that EA sees the error of its ways again and drops this security feature in favor of one that doesn’t treat legitimate consumers like criminals. I have to admit, I was thinking about picking up Spore later today; but after hearing about this, I’m pretty turned off by the prospect of paying full price for a game that could cause some major headaches in the future.