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Spores DRM put to the test

Posted by ballightning on September 18, 2008

It has been over a week since Spore hit the shelves but already their has been immense criticize for the DRM implemented in the game. Over 1,500 users bombed Amazon with one star reviews, protesting against EA for what some of them called draconian DRM. Later it was revealed that all the installs had to use one account. Then all of the reviews on Amazon for Spore were then deleted, which was blamed on a glitch, thankfully they were recovered. Only two days ago it was revealed that Spore will become the most illegally downloaded game ever. However Ars Technica yesterday decided to test out the DRM and whether it was as bad as it was claimed to be.

Arsused 4 computers, a gaming PC, a laptop, a old PC and a Mac. After installing it on the gaming PC twice and the laptop once, he decided to install it on his gaming PC a third time, forth overall. The installation received an authentication error when they tried to log into the game. A quick call to EA’s customer support brought an oddly-happy voice on the line, and once informed of the issue, they quickly determined that there was a network issue on their side; Spore’sauthentication servers were down. So it was DRM in general that was causing the problem, not an issue specific to EA or Spore.

After trying the game again and were successful, they then installed it on the old PC without any problem. They then attempted to install it on the mac and it finally said that all installations have been used up, showing the following message.

They called EA which sent them to the same help person as the first call. Ar informed him of the error message and gave him their Spore account information as well as the product key. A few minutes later the rep determined that they had, in fact, used up all their “key activations.” As friendly as can be, the EA employee inferred that it was probably some kind of printing error on the manual. Here’s the catch: Ar decided to tell him that they had rented the game. He assured Ar he could resolve the situation and did—issuing them another CD key for the game. They wanted to make it clear Ar understood the DRM restrictions and asked about the install limitations and he informed them that “you could install the game all day long on the same machine—it was limited to installations on three separate machines.” The only catch: the game had to be reinstalled after the new key was issued.

 Head over to Ars Technica for more.


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