Spore losing the DRM Fight


Spore
, the long awaited evolved version of Sim City by game genius Will Wright has a DRM problem. As of this post, there are 14 "1 Star" reviews versus six 4 and 5 star reviews, by people who said that they won't buy it (which admittedly isn't quite the same as a review of the game itself) because it has DRM:

Thus Spore now has an average of 2-stars on Amazon. The game as gotten good but not excellent reviews, so this is surely of concern for the makers as people will probably take the Amazon rating seriously and might not buy.

Is this a concerted campaign to shame EA (Spore's publisher/distributor) or a distributed disorganized consumer reaction against DRM itself? I tried Googling for "Spore DRM campaign" thinking I'd find a Defective By Design campaign about it, but couldn't find anything.

The moment concentrated actions like protests lead to dis-organized collective action and rebellion en masse is very exciting. If these are actual consumers acting in concert but without prompting from a centrally organized campaign then it means that our efforts at establishing DRM as an anti-feature have been successful.

UPDATE: BoingBoing and Kotaku both linked here (thanks) and Spore now has 144 "1-star" reviews, but is #1 in games:

72 comments
  1. [...] Spore losing the DRM Fight [...]

  2. [...] ratings a natural market-based reaction that proves DRM is an ‘anti-feature’?” Spore losing the DRM Fight (Thanks, Fred and everyone else who suggested [...]

  3. FWIW, I decided to add my own 1-star review and I'm not part of any anti-DRM cartel. Saw what was going on and decided to add my 2 cents is all.

  4. Given that EA bought Maxis, and given the already hugely aggressive DRM they built into Sims 2, I'm really curious that anybody would bother to buy the game until EA quits trying to plant corporate spies on their computers in the name of "protecting the content." After Sims 2 and a truly horrible experience with Half-Life 2, I quit buying games. Period.

  5. Wow, fourteen 1-star reviews. Sounds like the tipping point to "rebellion en masse" has been reached. Soon we shall see the downfall of EA from the dread Amazon collective action.

  6. Why I won't be buying spore...

    I headed over to Amazon.com, expecting to see no Mac version yet. But to my delight, there was a Mac version available, on the same disc as the Windows version.

    But then I read the reviews, and saw a huge backlash. It turns out that Electronic Art...

  7. [...] Spore losing the DRM Fight [Fred Benenson’s Blog, via Boing-Boing] [...]

  8. You should probably do a google search for "mass effect drm controversy" to see the origins of this. Mass Effect had the same DRM and there was a lot of outcry. They also announced at that time that spore would use the same version of the securom drm. I have not put a review on amazon, but I won't buy the game for this one reason. I'm fine with a cd check, but I won't bend over to requirements that will block me out because I installed a game too many times.

  9. [...]  Fred Benenson’s Blog -  Spore losing the DRM Fight [...]

  10. [...] the most widely awaited for games ever, Spore is out. But check it, I saw this post on how there was a little insurrection going on in the Amazon reviews. Apparently it’s got this crazy SecuROM DRM on the game which only allows for 3 installs of [...]

  11. [...] retailer) as opposed to somewhere ineffective (ie your navel-gazing gaming messageboard of choice). Spore losing the DRM Fight [Fred Benenson’s Blog, via [...]

  12. I would recommend you take a look at http://www.reclaimyourgame.com

    It is a website set up by people opposed to the SecuROM DRM/copyprotection that EA and other publishers are using on their games. You can find all the details on why they are opposed to SecuROM and a lot of useful information on just how SecuROM can damage your computer.

  13. [...] Spore losing the DRM Fight (via ) Tags: DRM, Games, Spore [...]

  14. I wanted to buy Spore. Oh, how I wanted to buy it. But giving my money for draconian DRM? Not happening, EA!

    If EA considers a non-DRM reissue, then *maybe* I'll reconsider.

  15. Indeed it is largely disorganized, and some reviews even challenge the more positive "come on people, let's talk about product not politics" reviews, since bad DRM is definitely part of the overall product.

    As of this time there are at least several dozen reviews online, with Spore itself sputtering along with just 1.5 stars.

  16. [...] or are the ratings a natural market-based reaction that proves drm is an &quotanti-feature&quot?http://fredbenenson.com/blog/2008/09/07/spore-drm-and-disorganized-activism/Read "SporeCC DRM: Retail vs. EA Store vs. Direct2Drive" at PC Games Forum... deciding by what [...]

  17. I gave it a bad review because it only works on one user account on my son's PC (all the accounts are administrator). Try to play it on another account and it won't let you access the on-line portion. Nothing on the box says anything about only one user. It's not just that the DRM is potentially scary, the game doesn't work because of the DRM.

  18. Looks like the game has lost the very thing that made it so enticing, too. Seems your "build" doesn't matter. It's all about stats. They way you build is inconsequential, so legs sticking out of your head is purely cosmetic, not functional.

  19. It now has 285 1-star reviews and counting.

    (adding mine now, so 286!)

  20. [...] users are protesting EA’s mean DRM by givig Spore LOW ratings on amazon.com  Go here to let EA know what you think.  At least BioWare had the ability to sway EA’s crappy DRM [...]

  21. Some of the reviewers on Amazon (the "Best" one for a short while) are also not being forthright in their disclosure.

    http://tinyurl.com/56bhtt

  22. Now at 707 1-star reviews... I didn't give a review myself, but I did profess my position in one of the forums. I have been watching Spore for well over a year and anxiously awaited its release. After Spore Creature Creator failed to run because I was running Process Explorer (SecurROM fails with a cryptic message that even Google was less than helpful in resolving), and seeing what others are saying Spore is (ironically) infested with, I will sadly not be buying this product any time soon.

    I was not aware of any campaign for this cause, so you can figure on at least one person influenced by this backlash without any centralized effort.

  23. I have a problem with non-users reviewing products on Amazon. I don't like DRM any more than the next guy, but if you haven't tried the product then you're tainting the reviews unfairly for someone that wants tested reviews.

  24. [...] Fred Benenson’s Blog » Blog Archive » Spore losing the DRM Fight Such a pity - or the right thing to do - to DRM or not? (tags: ITGS DRM copyright activism amazon videogames) [...]

  25. [...] Spore losing the DRM Fight (via BoingBoing) Das ist auch dufte: [...]

  26. [...] Spore, DRM, and Disorganized Activism 18 hours ago [...]

  27. im definitely not getting spore for the DRM and from the mixed reviews. I consider myself a gamer who likes depth in his games, and spore does not have depth. i want to try it but is $50 worth the hassle of EA and its continued DRM campaign?

  28. [...] Apparently it has some DRM issues. Pity; it looks fun. Fred Benenson’s Blog Blog Archive Spore losing the DRM Fight [...]

  29. [...] Fred Benenson’s Blog » Blog Archive » Spore losing the DRM Fight Such a pity - or the right thing to do - to DRM or not? (tags: ITGS DRM copyright activism amazon videogames) [...]

  30. [...] Spore, DRM, and Disorganized Activism 18 hours ago [...]

  31. [...] Fred Benenson’s Blog « Next Book: Content by [...]

  32. Ouch

    I really wanted to buy that game. I'm not much of a gamer and have never actually bought a PC game at full price, but I was so impressed with the game idea that I planned to purchase it.

    Well, that's a thing of the past now. I will not buy it.

    Jan

  33. The DRM issue must not prevent people from judging the real quality of the game. And the problem is that the game is just average. A bit repetitive, too simple. Lackluster gameplay. Concept of evolution almost unexploited. This is very disappointing. I don't understand why all reviewers give it 80% or 90% rankings. Spore does not deserve more than 70%.

  34. As I read this post, there are 1220 "1 star" reviews on amazon.

  35. I think the people calling for others to judge the game itself and forget the DRM in doing so are just burying the their heads in the sand. Hands down, this draconian DRM is part of the game, I dare say at its core. You CANNOT judge the game without it because the DRM is ever present.

    You can have the best peice of cake in the world in front of you (not to say Spore is the best game ever but) is it worth eating the cake if its poisoned? Which is what Spore is, poisoned by DRM. Come back to reality people who dont understand the DRM Backlash, you cant just ignore the DRM. I've like to point out something else about DRM, in the past games with these insane protection schemes have had so much problems which appear to be bugs but stem from the protection. Everything from Crashes all the time to for a good many people games not being able to even load. The Tech Support People either ignore these issues or accuse you of being a pirate, and even then if you provide proof all they suggest is trying to return the game.

  36. [...] 0) { document.write(''); document.write(''); } First read this. Fred Benenson’s Blog Blog Archive Spore losing the DRM Fight It seems that the highly anticipated Spore game is full of DRM - but the nasty kind that will [...]

  37. I don't think it is organized protest. I wanted to buy it, but after reading how the DRM works I canceled my order and rated it 1 star.

  38. 1 Star ratings now at 1,612!

  39. [...] Torrents, WTF did you accomplish? Oh, I know: You got your game 1-starred on Amazon, that's what. Fred Benenson’s Blog

  40. [...] Torrents, WTF did you accomplish? Oh, I know: You got your game 1-starred on Amazon, that's what. Fred Benenson’s Blog

  41. [...] ist nun bekanntlich verfügbar, hat einen bösartigen Kopierschutz und läßt uns Einzeller im Urschleim baden, bis daraus komplette planetenzerstörende [...]

  42. [...] BoingBoing on spore reviewers Spore losing DRM fight Share! These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. [...]

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