A couple of weeks ago I was having a conversation with another geek friend about the merits of buying the full-version of Spore rather then downloading it via BitTorrent. I was so excited about the games release that not only was I willing to buck the P2P trend and purchase the full $79 version but I was insisting that my friends do it to. Sure you could get it for free, I’d argue, but then you would have to get a crack for it and hope the crack still worked in a week or two mode. When Spore hit stores I was ready to buy into the shrink-wrapped goodness of the retail version, alas that was not to be.
That was the title of the very first review posted on Amazon for the full retail version of Spore by a poster going by the name of Erich Maria Remarque. The review goes on to outline a complaint that will be echoed in over 2,000 other reviewers, namely that the Sony/BMG styled DRM, effectively punishes the purchaser of legitimate versions of Spore. After 2,595 reviews fewer than 200 rated the game 4 or more stars (one can imagine that most of these reviews are from EA staffers).
A quick look on MiniNova shows 10 well seeded Spore torrents (>50 seeds + >100 leeches) of 76 available. Another 86 torrents where listed of various cracks and patches to the game to ensure gameplay. Clearly EA’s DRM efforts have had little impact on the ability of people to get the game without paying, nor has it limited the playability of the game, as several posters on the Mininova boards have pointed out. Everyone seems to be asking is asking is; Is this of the of
When you treat paying customers like thieves and make the purchased product less functional and more cumbersome the the free alternatives you will lose your customers. The US traditional music industry has be a shining example of this process and should function as an object lesson to other industries. Alas, EA seems not to have gotten the message and has managed to convert Spore from the most anticipated game of 208 to the most derided. So rather then a post about how awesome Spore is and how elated I am to finally have played the game, I am instead posting a missive on how I went from Promoter to detractor.