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EA relents on cumbersome DRM for new PC games

EA gives up on clunky DRM.

It looks like EA has made a turn-around in response to fan outrage at its plans for a complicated DRM scheme in two high-profile PC games due out later this year.

Word came out yesterday that Spore (from Sims-meister Will Wright) and the PC version of Xbox 360 hit Mass Effect would implement a new version of the Securom DRM middleware, which not only requires you to keep a game's DVD in the drive to play it, but would need to perform an authenticity check every 10 days, which would have required your computer to be online during that time.

Electronic Arts has high expectations for its forthcoming, PC-only Spore from Sims creator Will Wright. Irritating DRM won't help. CNET

Amid much fan outrage and negative publicity, it appears EA and each game's respective developer has relented and will instead implement a more benign DRM strategy. Gamer's Hell reported that Mass Effect will now require a one-time online authentication, and it will reauthenticate each time you connect to the game's download servers, but that it will no longer require constant reauthentication. Kotaku reported the same decision has been made for Spore.

On the Mass Effect user forum, the community manager from developer BioWare cited its its "many friends in the armed services and internationally who expressed concerns that they would not be able reauthenticate as often as required," as one of the reasons for the change. Considering that the forum topic in which Bioware announced its original plan generated 115 pages of comments, it's probably fair to say that fan opinion had something to do with it as well.

Copy protection remains a huge issue for PC game developers and publishers. Just a few weeks ago, Cevat Yerli, the president of Crysis developer CryTek told Hungary's PC Play that his company was abandoning PC exclusives because of rampant piracy. We certainly understand that issue, but clunky DRM is not the answer if publishers want to encourage PC gamers to buy their products.