Online Spore Launch Snagged With DRM Issues

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The wildly expected release of the online version of Spore didn’t go quite well as Electronic Arts Inc. may have expected. The reason behind the botched event lies with the issue of heavy copyright restrictions. And because of this, there was an unprecedented number of gamers who instead went into torrent sites in order to download the game.

More specifically, the online version of Spore contains DRM content protection features that only allowed users to download and install of the game in a single computer for a maximum of three times. After that, the 4th install would render the video game unplayable. Users would need to purchase another registration code before reinstalling again.

The DRM protection seemed too heavy and too stringent for many avid online gamers. And because of this, online users did not go for downloading the game and installing it for $50. Most instead went through several BitTorrent sites where the game was said to have been downloaded illegally for an estimated 500,000 times across different torrent sites. This would cost the video game company as much as $25 million revenue loss.

Electronic Arts Inc has issued an apology to the public for being misunderstood over their controversial copy controls. It has also issued a statement that it is increasing the installation limit to five times. Aside from that, EA is also planning a system where customers may be allowed to "deauthorize" a certain computer and then move the game installation into new PC’s without ever making a call to the company.

But is seems that most users are still not buying into the recent developments made by the company. What bothered most of the users was the use of digital rights management (DRM) software that also comes with the installation of Spore. Many opponents of such measures say that the use of DRM violates private property rights that can restrict some normal and legal user activities.

Some even believe that the use of DRM may be akin to have a spyware installed on their PC’s that tries to look into their own activities. Although the company has denied this, still the negative impact of the fiasco may be something quite hard to get over.

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