Three Strikes and You're Out: Spore Controversies

Filed under: , , , , , by: reluctant _gamer

Ahhh... controversy... what would a game be without controversy. For once, with a life simulation game, the controversy is not so much about the ideas of creationism versus evolution. (Which by the way, the Catholic Church says evolution is fine, but yet still issue no apology to Darwin.) This controversy comes from the people who have given Spore life and EA money, the gamers. How does EA thank you for your patience and your fifty or more bucks? They lie and set limits on the game YOU just PAID for. There are two separate controversies that have the PC gaming community in an uproar, one is the limit of installing the game only three times and the other is an infamous manual misprint.

Three Strikes and You're Out!
Imagine this... you shell out $50 bucks for a game, you install it and play for a while, then decide that it's time to redo your machine. No problem... But wait, after your machine is up and running beautifully, you get a virus because you're roommate has been downloading porn on your computer... Still... no problem... And even that third time when your power fails and fries your computer, that isn't a problem... but after that... no more Spore for you! Wait?! Didn't I BUY the game? What the hell? I have to go through loops to get the game I PAID for back on my computer? You think I'm a pirate, so you won't let me?!

Ok... it may not be a realistic scenario, but it could happen to some poor sap. I mean I try to redo my computer at least once a year, so if I have a couple of failures in between, since I'm running Vista it can and has already happened, Spore may only really be playable for 2 or maybe 3 years until I have to go crying to EA to get approved to reinstall the game. So upgrading or changing my machine is out of the question... Screw that... People have been in a uproar over this DRM idea for a while. It didn't start with Spore, but EA did try it with Mass Effect, which I will say is a AWESOME game, and backed down after being attacked by hordes of rabid gamers. But now... Will they be pansies again?

Just Cause We're Gamers, Doesn't Mean We Don't Have Friends!

Now, for me this problem isn't a big deal because I'm the only one who plays Spore in my household. But for many people, there are multiple players with separate accounts that use the same computer. The manual for Spore stated that you could have multiple accounts per copy of Spore. Great! So mommy, daddy, and Timmy can all create their own penis creature! WRONG! Maxis responded to a thread of pissed off users within the Spore forum stating it as a "misprint". You misprinted your own manual!? BRILLIANT! (that was for you Jimmy!)

Once a Pansy, Always A Pansy
What was EA's response to the unhappy people in gaming land? Well at first it looked like EA had grown some balls and wasn't going to back down. But in the end, they continued their pansiness (is that even a word???) by backing down again. But this time it wasn't total surrender, but a hasty retreat back to their fortress in California to plot their next move. First they blamed it on piracy... Doesn't everyone. I can understand where they are coming from. It does take a lot of people's time and effort to make a game, but how much money do they actually see? Instead of going after the people who are the problem, EA went after their loyal Simites who actually forked out the simoleans to buy the game. Not a good business model at all. Sure piss off the people who were willing to pay for your game. Will they be willing to the next time? That's a HUGE gamble. EA is making somewhat of an effort to change their customers plumbob from Red to Green.

They announced recently that some changes would be put in through patches. First, for the Spore playing families, EA announced that while there still could only be one on-line account, there can be up to 5 screen names under that account. There may be changes to that in the future allowing for multiple online accounts, but that's up to EA. Now the DRM issue... EA hasn't quite backed down on this as much as they did when people were pissed about having to register Mass Effect online. MTV Multiplayer reports EA will be putting a system like iTunes uses in the "near future". You will be able to deauthorize a machine and still have your number up to the three or five depending on what EA decides to go with. But still there is the issue of something happening to a computer before you are able to deauthorize it, which happens a lot with iTunes. Even with all the problems, I still got the game. It's pretty cool and hopefully I'll finish the damn thing this weekend and get a review written!