I bet I'm going to piss some people off here, but I totally disagree with the guys wanking about DRM. There are 200+ user reviews for Spore on Amazon.Com and 95% of them are people pissed off about the DRM. Honestly, I didn't even know what DRM was until a month ago (Digital Rights Management, right?) - although I've used it plenty of times without knowing the name...Steam, iTunes, Xbox Live Arcade, Rock Band, etc.
I'm pretty sure these guys are just a vocal minority, but they *are* loud, so I'm going to do some troll feeding, here.
"I'm paying $50 bucks to just RENT this game?"
Let's say, worst case scenario, the answer is yes, and that EA shuts down their verification servers in two years. It's up to you whether that value proposition is worth it. I bet a lot of these DRM wankers are also WoW players who were willing to spend $60 to rent WoW for one month and possibly thousands of dollars to rent it for years. It's worth it to me, for this game, though I'm a serious tightwad who hasn't paid $50 for a game in over a year. (Up until now.)
But EA isn't going to shut down their verification servers in two years unless its costing them money - that is, people stop buying Spore. If people stop buying Spore, it's probably because the game isn't very good anymore or the community is no longer there - in which case most of the people wanking about DRM aren't going to want to play it anymore either.
"I only get 3 installs?"
iTunes has a similar policy. Granted, iTunes does it better, so it really does mean 3 simultaneous installs, but music is something you're more likely to need on multiple machines. Me, I only need 1 install now and it may be years before I upgrade my PC.
"I'm being treated like a criminal!"
I've violated copyrights in the past, so I have been a criminal, and am not surprised that companies treat me like one. Actually, I'll amend that - I'm *still* a criminal - because I still have mp3s in my collection that I acquired in the golden age of Napster that I don't have the right to. Maybe I'm in the minority but I doubt it. Anyhow - they're not actively coming out and saying they don't trust you, it's a "Trust but Verify" policy.
And for those of you who think information should be free / piracy isn't a crime, then don't think of EA as treating you as a criminal, think of them as treating you as a noncustomer.
"What's the point? People are going to pirate the game anyway."
The point is to change the economics. If you make it harder to pirate the game and easier to get the game legitimately, people will pay for that. I'm running the EA download manager right now to get Spore, rather than using a bittorrent server, because I suspect that there will be issues with trying to use a pirated version. A pirated version may plain just not work; it may work but not be able to log into the community at all; it may seem to work fine at first but then there may be a trap that the pirate missed, etc. Add that to me not wanting to be a criminal anymore and I'll pay the money. It's a simple equation - will EA make more money using DRM than without it, and if Steam is any indication the answer is yes.
And if game publishers make more money selling games that is a good thing for the consumer as well as the publisher, because they'll be able to put more money into the development of future games.
Also, I'll go so far as to say that without DRM or subscription fees or koreanish free-to-play-pay-to-upgrade models PC GAMING IS DOOMED. Retail PC sales have been steadily declining over the years, despite the fact that are craploads more PCs than consoles out there.
"I need to be connected to the internet? But I wanted to play on my laptop on a plane."
That really does suck - it's not so much a problem with Spore, where you probably want to be connected to the community, but if you want to play some Half-Life on the plane it really is a problem. I suspect there might be a way to fix this - require you to log on to the authentication server only once a day or something.
So, officially cast my vote in the "DRM is good" camp. I'll agree that EA's current DRM is a bad example of the breed, but it's better than none.
POST AMENDED: Jamie caves!
Ok, first off, sorry about the name calling. As someone who has used his blog to wank about various things on a regular basis...don't know what came over me.
The most convincing argument in the comments is "But it DIDN'T stop the pirates. They cracked it Day One. All it does is piss off the consumers."
And, well, you're right. Looks like EA blew it, and they probably would have spent less and sold more if they hadn't had the DRM in the first place.
That said, maybe they should have spent *more* effort on making the game difficult-to-crack. If I was the manager making the decision, I'd have to see some numbers crunched - how much is it going to cost to make the game tougher to pirate vs. estimates of how much the damage is.
I'll repeat though non-subscription PC gaming is doomed and for it to survive we need DRM - not so much for Spore, because that's going to be profitable, but for the little guys. Thankfully, there's Steam, and people don't get too pissed off about that anymore.