EA retools 'Spore' DRM activation features

Gaming publishing giant Electronic Arts has loosened antipiracy restrictions of its recently released <i>Spore</i> game, following strong criticism among customers.

Dawn Kawamoto Former Staff writer, CNET News
Dawn Kawamoto covered enterprise security and financial news relating to technology for CNET News.
Dawn Kawamoto
2 min read

Faced with growing criticism about the way its newly released game Spore is activated on computers, gaming publishing giant Electronic Arts did a little retooling of its own.

EA has increased the number of computers that can be loaded with the game to five from three, despite earlier precautions with its digital rights management (DRM) policy intended to reduce piracy of its copyrighted software.

Spore, released two weeks ago featuring unlikely creatures that can be tailored to the user's liking, has altered other DRM limitations embedded in the software, the company announced.

Frank Gibeau, EA Games Label president, said in a statement:

We've received complaints from a lot of customers who we recognize and respect. And while it's easy to discount the noise from those who only want to post or transfer thousands of copies of the game on the Internet, I believe we need to adapt our policy to accommodate our legitimate consumers.

EA announced it will not only increase the number of computers that users can load one copy of Spore onto, but will also offer ways in which users can receive additional activations of the gaming software if warranted.

The game publisher also plans to fast-track its development efforts on creating a system that will allow consumers to de-authorize machines and transfer authorizations to new computers.

Nonetheless, Gibeau added:

We're willing to evolve our policy to accommodate our consumers. But we're hoping that everyone understands that DRM policy is essential to the economic structure we use to fund our games and as well as to the rights of people who create them.

EA said it believed at the time it created Spore that its DRM policy would not present any problems. The company noted that 75 percent of its customers tended to use only one computer for running their games and that less than 1 percent of its users relied on three or more computers. It also added that it told consumers that they could receive more than three activations if warranted by calling into the company's customer service.

Despite the criticisms over its DRM policy for the game, reviews of the game itself were labeled fairly high.

Watch CBS Videos Online
Video: Inside world of video games
CBS News science and technology correspondent Daniel Sieberg speaks
with Will Wright, the computer video game designer behind the widely
successful Sims games.