Published on September 5th, 2008 | by James Smythe1
Spore – Good game, shame about the crappy copy protection
It looks like it could be a love it or hate it sort of game. A lot of gamers are criticising it for being repetitive and shallow. This appears to stem from the fact that the game covers 5 gaming genres over 5 stages. This has led to each section being implemented in a somewhat shallow manor compared to its fully fledged counterparts. However fans are praising it saying it is not a hardcore RTS but a great sandbox game appealing to the masses. Also the game should be viewed a whole rather as 5 individual games.
I have had chance to play it for an hour or so and I personally quite like it. I have found that I hardly game any more as I don’t have time and I just can not be bothered concentrating enough for complex RTS games or games where I actually need to follow the story line. With Spore I can load it up eat a few creature and evolve a little in whatever spare time I can find and just generally kill time.
Unfortunately I do have a serious issue with Spore which I think could massively effect its popularity. EA in their great wisdom have decided to use a modified version of the oh so popular and controversial SecuROM DRM software which will require authentication upon installation and when online access is used, it will also be limited to three installations. Now don’t get me wrong, I am all up for a company having some DRM on their software, after all they have spent millions developing it and I can imagine it is quite annoying when everyone copies it, however limiting the number of installations to 3 is criminal in my opinion. I personally re-install windows at least once a year because all the crap I have on it slows it down, my Girlfriend has a smaller brother and sister and they must of re-installed the Sims 20+ times because the computer can barely last a month before some of the crap they download slows it down.
Once 3 installations have been used the game will become un-playable and EA must be contacted to have the count reset. Now call me a pessimist but this sounds like it will cause no end of headaches. From my experience customer support centres have a tendency to be occupied by people no more intelligent than chimps. I will also bet any money that the customer support phone number will not be free-phone.
So OK what did EA expect to achieve with this copy protection? I am assuming they are trying to stop millions of people downloading the game via BitTorrent. Have they succeeded? Erm no, I read reports of it being available on Wednesday 2 days before the UK release. This included a keygen and crack. So well done EA you did a good job of stopping that.
Personally I think they best method of stopping piracy is to offer more than just single player offline gaming. I realise this is not always possible for games, but if online gaming is available and requires an original copy then I feel that most people are happy to fork out the money. The best example is Call of Duty 4. I think I paid about £30 for it and I have had hours of fun with it, easily making it worth its money.
Anyway even though I think EA are stupid for using this DRM I still bought it and I will still enjoy it!