Millions of video game lovers, many of whom were devoted to the widely popular Sims video games, waited anxiously for Electronic Arts newest video game release called Spore. Electronics Arts did not disappoint it’s many fans as the $49.99 regular version of Spore, the $9.99 Spore Creature Creator and the $79.99 Galactic version of Spore were released without a hitch and were quickly snatched off the retail stores shelves. Although Spore’s sales didn’t quite match the volume of sales of video game monoliths Guitar Hero III or Grand Theft Auto IV, it did very well. It is usually about a week after a video game release when the people who bought the game begin flooding the Internet with either their personal praise or damnation of the video game. They talk about things like game play, graphics speed and resolution, end game, online play, character building etc. Not this time! With Spore, the talk was all about its DRM!
What is DRM? The copyright protection called DRM is an acronym for Digital Rights Management, a term used to describe the different techniques for restricting the free use and transfer of digital content. DRM is used in a number of media, but is found most often in music and video files. Many of people believe that DRM should stand for Digital Restrictions Manager being that it manages users restrictions while taking away their rights. Companies like Apple began using DRM under the auspices of fighting piracy. Has it worked? You tell me. After the news of the type of severe DRM Electronics Arts put on Spore spread to future buyers, it took only days for over 500,000 illegal copies of the Spore video game (without DRM) to be downloaded from P2P BitTorrent sites on the Internet. Does DRM work? No! It ticks people off. If you don’t believe it, ask Amazon.com, where thousands of people unhappy with Spore’s DRM restrictions gave the new video game a lowly one star rating. Thanks to DRM, Spore has become the most pirated game ever.
So, what was so bad about Spore’s DRM to get so many people in an uproar? Here is what it is all about and I am going to tell you from first hand experience because top university Egypt I purchased the $79.99 Galactic version of Spore and after one more download, the game will be worthless. Because my video card was not set perfectly to run Spore, I received a warning message after the first installation that I needed to change my video card settings and reinstall Spore again or the game would not work. One installation used. I did what was required and reinstalled Spore again. No error messages this time, the game works wonderfully. Two installations used. So why am I counting installations? You see, with Spore’s DRM restrictions, the purchaser can only install the game three times. After the third installation, your bought and paid for game of Spore will be nothing but a worthless piece of plastic. You can play it, but you will never be able to install it again. So you pray nothing goes wrong with your computer because you won’t be able to install Spore to a new one. If I would have known about Electronic Arts DRM restrictions for Spore, I never would have purchased it and I may have gone as far as joining the other 500,000 so-called pirates visiting a free game downloads site to download a DRM-less version.
Some folks say that a company should be allowed to protect their copyrighted products, and I agree as long as they don’t take the rights away from the new owners, the people who have purchased those copyrighted products. I want to first say that I don’t necessarily hate the idea of copyright protection but I do hate the way DRM is being abused by the companies. When a person buys a copyrighted product, the copyright should now belong to the new owner along with the product. As far as I am concerned, when I purchase something it should be mine to do with as I please. As long as it does not involve harming, torturing or killing a living creature, I should have complete and total rights to do what I want with that product. Here are some examples of what I mean. If I were to purchase a German Shepherd dog ($800), it is mine. If I want to either sell or give my dog away to someone else, I have every right to do so. If I buy a car ($25,000) and a week later feel like selling it or giving it away, I can because I have the every right to do so. If I were to buy a house ($200,000) outright for cash (I wish), that house would be completely mine to sell or even give it away if I choose. If I have complete and total rights to do what I want with my dog, my car and my house, will somebody please tell me why can I face criminal charges and punishment for doing what I want with my $79.99 game of Spore or any other video game for that matter. Heck, with EA’s new DRM restrictions imposed on my Spore video game, I can’t even install it more than three times. In truth, Spore still belongs to Electronic Arts even though I forked out my hard earned cash for the rights of ownership. Therein lies the true crime my friends. And the video game industry is wondering why more and more normally honest folks have turned to pirating.…