Gaming My Way

08 Sep

On Spore, DRM, and SecuROM

I think Spore looks like a pretty sweet game. I was seriously considering a purchase, as it has an intriguing premise and sounds like a good deal of casual gaming fun.

Unfortunately, it still has enough DRM measures that I’m just not willing to shell out the money for it.

First, it still uses SecuROM. (edit: broken link removed) Now, there are conflicting reports about how bad SecuROM is. I can tell you this though: it has caused me problems with my computer. I know this because disabling certain Securom “features” had my computer running nicely once again. Incidently, as soon as I determine which game I installed that had Securom, I will be uninstalling both the game and SecuROM from my computer.

Next, it requires online authentication when you first run it after installation, and then everytime you access online content. Now, I said before authenticating when you have to connect to the internet anyway is cool with me, as long as that’s all it does. Requiring an internet connection the first time you run the game is uncool, though not terrible. Unless EA takes the authentication servers down without releasing a patch to remove the authentication requirement which, while unlikely, is possible, and I don’t want to worry about if I can play a game I legally purchased because EA no longer supports it.

The final point, and the most egregious sin commited by EA, is that the game only has three activations (read: installations) before you either have to buy another copy or contact EA so they can add an activation to your account. Furthermore, I highly doubt they’ll make it quick and easy, as they’ll want proof the game was legally purchased before activating it. Which means me rooting around through my records and gaming collection until I can satisfy them. Not to mention the likely frustration of being put on hold multiple times. Even if they made it perfectly easy to get another activation, I wouldn’t be satisfied though. If I’ve purchased a game, I want installation to be quick and painless… making a phone call is a pain, and one added step I shouldn’t have to deal with after legally purchasing a game just because I want to play it ten to fifteen years down the line. I don’t pay fifty dollars for an extended rental, I pay fifty dollars to play the game as many times as I want, as far into the future as I want, hassle-free.

If all of these issues can be resolved, I’ll consider buying Spore. Otherwise, I’ll do without it, and continue playing my other games, and new games which are released without the burdensome DRM incorporated by Spore. I will not support these broken DRM schemes.

Edit: As I’ve said before, I understand companies want to protect their intellectual property. However, if they expect me to buy their games, they need to find a way to do so that allows me to fully use the product I purchased, for as long as I have the disc it’s on and the hardware to play it. In addition, it must not harm my system in any way or otherwise seriously inconvenience me.

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