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A Spore DRM positive(s)?

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September 14, 2008 11:58:43 PM

I know this probably belongs in the "Spore DRM" thread below, but I want to make sure this gets some attention and I'm afraid that thread has drifted a little far from the actual topic. One more preface before I get started is that I'm not going into an all out pros and cons of Spores DRM. The cons are clearly listed all around so nobody needs me to further point them out. This is simply my 1 day experience with Spore and it's DRM.
Like many others I'd been anticipating this game for quite some time and was disappointed to here about the DRM measures. Unlike many others (at least the most vocal ones) I was willing to accept some DRM hassle to enjoy this game. However as all the DRM talk grew and grew I found it hard to find real answers, instead mostly just regergitated rhetoric about DRM and piracy, in part because the game was just released so real feedback is limited. So I decided to bite the bullet and just buy the game figuring for $50 if I get truly burned I will just know better next time. Well here's what I've found so far that you want find being discussed in most over threads about Spore's DRM.

-Once installed the game natively runs without the disc. No no-cd cracks or drive emulators needed the game just simply does not need the DVD in the drive once installed. For me this is huge since having to constantly switch CDs/DVDs has driven me nuts for years. It's a large part of why I started using Steam (another heavy form of DRM).

-Along with not having to insert the disc the game can be run on up to 3 PCs at once. Contrary to what many have said EA actually supports installing and playing on multiple PCs simultaniously (obviously limited to 3 PCs). Theoretically you could even share the game with a friend or two if not using the game on more than 1 PC. I'm not sure exactly how that would fall under the EULA, but EA is taking no steps to prevent or even discourage such liberal use of what their DRM allows for.

-Thirdly I found the game disc simply to copy and was able to install from that copy without issue. This is great because while under the fair use docterine making a copy for backup purpose is OK many games take measures to make copies unusable. Either you can't install from a copied version or the game will not run with the copied version only. I've already backed up an ISO and tucked the original away safely.

For me this all works out great because I routinely install my games on multiple PCs, one of which my 7 year old uses. Not only do I not have to worry about him handling the game disc but we can also both play at the same time, which we will. And in the event I need to install the game again I do not have to worry about where the disc went to (something that happens all the time in my house).
But of course that's the linchpin to how well this all really works out. I've already installed 3 times (my PC, my son's PC and my laptop) and did try a 4th time on a virtual PC but received an error message. I'm not going to push my luck with EA support quite yet considering how suspicious it would look to install the game 4 times in an hour. Depending on how difficult getting an additional activation is this scheme may not be that bad at all, at least in my opinion. If it's too difficult then all of the above is meaningless. But if it's no different than say a Windows activation then I would be inclined to favor this type of DRM system over a strict "insert CD" scheme.

More about : spore drm positive

September 15, 2008 6:55:02 AM

- if you already back up your game by storing an ISO why not just use deamon tools with your other games that need the CD/DVD?

- how much hardware needs to be changed before spore counts it as a seperate PC? (i upgrade quite regulary and would eat a 3 seperate pc limit up far too easy - if it was just 3 installs i wouldnt have as much of a problem)

- Not had a problem copying a game in ages, last one i had a problem with was SIMS but you could still make copies of it, and newer versions of NERO seem to bypass copy protected stuff.
September 15, 2008 7:51:21 PM

While I agree that the things like being playing without CD are positives, I would not call it DRM positives. It is ABSENCE of DRM positives, i.e. DRM is not controlled by detecting valid CDs.

Stardock games could be played for ages without CD. And they do not have DRM at all!
Related resources
September 15, 2008 9:03:32 PM

Quote:
Stardock games could be played for ages without CD. And they do not have DRM at all!

My understanding of Stardock (I've never actually used it myself) is that game installations are tied to a user account/serial key. If that's true than the only real difference between Spore's DRM and Stardock's is the activation limit. Of course as I've said that all comes down to how strict that limit really is.
The idea that Stardock or Steam or MMOs "do not have DRM at all!" is a fallacy. They simply have a better form of DRM. And better by no means equals less intrusive or restrictive. Just a different "better" way of doing the same.
That's why I wrote this post, because I realize that zero DRM is unrealistic. Zero DRM means no cd checks, no serial keys, no activations - nothing what so ever. Think of a program like Firefox which can just be downloaded and installed without any restrictions. Can you really expect game companies to do the same? I don't. But I'm also sick of the archaic method of tying digital content directly to physical mediums. There's really no reason for it other than having there physically be an item to sell. That's why I'm in favor of new alternative models like Steam, Stardock and yes even to some degree this scheme EA has for spore. All have flaws but as they are around longer and longer the kinks will get worked out.
September 15, 2008 9:05:03 PM

Quote:
I'm not going to push my luck with EA support quite yet considering how suspicious it would look to install the game 4 times in an hour.

So in other words they're making you feel guilty for using the product you bought.

Therein lies a big part of the problem for me.
September 15, 2008 10:14:27 PM

copasetic said:
Quote:
I'm not going to push my luck with EA support quite yet considering how suspicious it would look to install the game 4 times in an hour.

So in other words they're making you feel guilty for using the product you bought.

Therein lies a big part of the problem for me.

Well let's see. If I were to call for a 4th activation, knowing full well that I was limited to three and still had three active installs I would have to lie in order to convince EA customer service to give me another. So in that case you are correct that I would feel guilty. Not guilty because I exceeded the activation limit, but guilty because I lied and decieved to do so. If I honestly needed a 4th activation I certainly would not feel guilty about calling and asking for it. And in the event that I was not given one or asked to jump through too many hoops I would not feel guilty about taking matters into my own hands to get the game working.
September 15, 2008 10:32:13 PM

Quote:
Well let's see. If I were to call for a 4th activation, knowing full well that I was limited to three and still had three active installs I would have to lie in order to convince EA customer service to give me another. So in that case you are correct that I would feel guilty. Not guilty because I exceeded the activation limit, but guilty because I lied and decieved to do so.

Yeah but why should you have to call EA at all just to install a game you bought? It's nothing more than an attempt by EA to destroy the second hand games market, anyone can see it did absolutely nothing to stop piracy. Sure it may cut down on the number of people physically sharing their cd with friends, but so what? For someone who doesn't want to pay for it the game is just a download away.

You're asking yourself "Can I live with this?", and sure anyone could. I ask myself "Why should I live with this?". Why should I accept this little scheme of theirs?
September 16, 2008 5:42:46 AM

The Game has been an absolute joy for me. No bugs, crashes, etc and it's being ran almost non stop between me, my kids, and my wife (I stay up at night). It can be ran on three computers at the same time. It has plunty of depth, creativity, and enjoyment to be qualified as a Great Game. Maybe not your cup of tea but it sure is for enough people to be put in that wonderful category.

I'll try and answer your questions copasetic.
Why should I live with this?
Because quite simply we are at a stage where the PC Gaming Industry is in decline. Unlike the Music Industry where there is 12+ songs on one CD and it's just as easy to get one song for .99 cents as it is to download the Gaming Industry has just one big song and a good portion of the people are trying to steal it. So it isn't fair to compare it to that.
We do need to look at PC Gaming in a whole different way seperate from the Music and Video Industry. It is in it's own seperate category and needs the respect from it's members as such.
If people were not trying to steal it then there would be no need for DRM.
To save our industry we are going to need to except that certain precautions are going to need to implemented to protect those items.
Bestbuy, Target, Walmart, Mervins, Sears, etc all take precautions to try and stop Shoplifting. Why don't you go into the local Department store grab the first item, then walk up to the front clerk, and scream at them for trying to accuse you of being a shoplifter?
People did have that first gut wrenching action when these precautions first did come out and yes they did increase the price of the sale item. What was more troubling to people was when people found out that enough of the public was indeed shop lifting to the point that it was causing a crisis in among itself. The Department Stores were raising prices to combat the Shoplifters, which made more people want to shoplift, and soon it started to become a circle that had no end in sight. It took drastic measures to end the stealing and though it didn't end it all the way it did end it enough for the Industry to bounce back and stabilize.
The facts are if the stealing doesn't end then the PC Gaming Industry will and I don't think anybody here wants to see that happen.
We need to provide advice to the Developers to help them zero in on what is right and what is wrong with the DRM that they have implemented.
What did they get right?
The "No-DVD" feature was an absolute winner. PC-Gamers want this and EA saw this.
The ability to share our game with our close friends and to be able to play with them was something we need. By allowing this our friends will more than likely buy the game themselves and then share it among their friends.
Easy Installation. In the past Games were pretty cryptic in how they installed and were able to run. This turned off a lot of people. Some of the newer games are addressing this and should be commended.
What they need to do?
Make the number of Installs and how many people can run it at one time seperate. I think 3 people running the game at once is more than adequate. Limiting the Game to 3 Installations isn't.
Not giving a Family Account isn't adequate. Having just one account per Game with people who have large families isn't the greatest thing in the world. I do think EA is on the right track with using the Internet as a Gaming Tool it's just not perfected yet.
There are a few other minor things.

There was some right and there was some wrong that Spore did with this game. It was innovative in it's own certain way and it did bring some new people back to the PC Gaming field. It's a new era in PC Gaming and only one thing is certain: This is either the end or a new begining. I hope for the latter.


September 16, 2008 6:04:30 AM

purplerat said:
Quote:
Stardock games could be played for ages without CD. And they do not have DRM at all!

My understanding of Stardock (I've never actually used it myself) is that game installations are tied to a user account/serial key.


Actually, you are partially right.

The game is tied to an account but only for purposes of downloading it and patching.
You can actually install it and play it without any account, serial code, CD in the drive after the install, or any other DRM.
The down side of course is that you can't get any patches without creating an account and their patches often add a lot of nice features. This could easily be argued to be a DRM scheme and I do see it as such, but it is as gentle and easy handed a DRM scheme as you will ever find. You never have to activate your software or interact with them in any way unless you want to patch.

As for the benefits of EA's DRM, it is far more restrictive than many other DRM options that also allow for all the benefits you list. And as far as installing and playing on three systems at once, well that was a risky thing to do because there is no telling what kind of hoops you will have to jump through and there have been accounts of EA demanding more money for more activations. All of those accounts are second hand though and I would very much like to hear if that is the same experience you have. Keep us posted.
September 16, 2008 10:22:45 AM

Quote:
Because quite simply we are at a stage where the PC Gaming Industry is in decline.

I don't think it's in decline at all. Console games are making more money for sure, but the only numbers I've seen for the PC games industry that have declined is box sales. Nobody has factored in subscription based games, or downloadable games like those through Steam. World of Warcraft alone is bringing in over $700 million a year.
Quote:
To save our industry we are going to need to except that certain precautions are going to need to implemented to protect those items.
Bestbuy, Target, Walmart, Mervins, Sears, etc all take precautions to try and stop Shoplifting. Why don't you go into the local Department store grab the first item, then walk up to the front clerk, and scream at them for trying to accuse you of being a shoplifter?

This kind of DRM is more akin to being patted down every time you leave the store, regardless of whether you bought something or not. Would you mind being frisked by security personnel every time you leave a store, in the name of preventing shoplifting?
Quote:
The facts are if the stealing doesn't end then the PC Gaming Industry will and I don't think anybody here wants to see that happen.

And the other fact is that this DRM is not helping, at all. That's a big issue here. Spore was available on bittorrent days before the official launch, up to now no DRM has kept a game from being pirated. If DRM worked I'd be more willing to accept it, but as it stands it does nothing but aggravate legitimate customers. It's defective by design.
Quote:

We need to provide advice to the Developers to help them zero in on what is right and what is wrong with the DRM that they have implemented.

I can give them some advice right now, the online content was a good move. Right now online functionality is the only thing most pirated games can't offer, and that's what game studios need to capitalize on. Forget all this useless offline DRM and focus on providing online content that you can't access without buying the game. Even if it's something as simple as online stats tracking of players, it'll be more effective than SecuROM.
September 16, 2008 1:23:55 PM

Quote:
You can actually install it and play it without any account, serial code, CD in the drive after the install, or any other DRM.

Does that mean that you could copy the download file and install it on as many PCs without having to redownload again?
September 16, 2008 1:36:19 PM

I think you need to register to get the downloaded file, but you could pass the CD around to as many people as you like.
September 17, 2008 3:45:23 AM

purplerat said:
Quote:
You can actually install it and play it without any account, serial code, CD in the drive after the install, or any other DRM.

Does that mean that you could copy the download file and install it on as many PCs without having to redownload again?

My understanding is that the game does not contain ANY DRM. You can copy files on another computer and may be registry values, and it should play.
The only "protection" is that to download game and patches you need to log in into the site with your account. THAT'S IT! So, if you are pirate, you obviously will not be able to log in and receive regular updates. But the game itself does not have any DRM.

It is not like in steam where in order to run the game, it has to run the steam itself and steam checks if you can run this game. Stardock games you can run alone by themselves. You can upgrade/change you computer completely - it does not care.
September 17, 2008 4:06:41 AM

Quote:
does not contain ANY DRM. You can copy files on another computer and may be registry values

If the game makes changes to your registry, which must be had before you can install/play then that's DRM. Not very intrusive (at least compared to all the other crap that gets jammed in your registry) but still DRM. Basically what it sounds like - I may be completely wrong - is that you need an account/serial to download the game and that PC is tagged to such that it can install and/or run the game.

Actually scratch all that here's what I just found checking the Stadock/Impulse forum.
http://forums.stardock.com/324806
"You need to download and archive the game, copy it to your other computer and install impulse on it, the archives can only be opened by impulse."
and
"Currently installing from the Impulse archive does need a one time internet connection."

Either way they can call it DRM free all they want but "You can put lipstick on a pig..." (please hold the fake outrage)
September 17, 2008 12:40:14 PM

I just love how some of you are throwing the "no DVD needed in tray" arguement, when several games (Company of Heroes, for instance) don't require the DVD either.

Seriously, when you use up your 3 installs, would you wait 30 minutes on a tech support line, trying to explain why you need the game re-activated? What happeds 4-5 years from now when EA shuts off the authentication server?
September 17, 2008 1:36:30 PM

Just about every program makes changes to the registry, it's what the registry is for. It stores things like user settings, paths and other variables, has nothing to do with DRM.
September 17, 2008 1:39:54 PM

^ activation crack?
My suprise is with no disc check is not that other games already allowed it, but that EA was allowing. The games that have given me the most trouble with drive emulation have all been EA titles and for years EA has been the leader in driving customers nuts with cd checks not working even in perfectly legit situations. So I'm kind of hopefull to see them specifically moving away from such an outdated system.
Admittedly the 3 activation limit is a problem which they will have to solve. I like the suggestion that instead of a flat activation limit it's a limited number of activations with a certain time frame, like 3 per 90 days or 5 per year etc. That's actually what MS does with Windows and it seems to work pretty well.
But the whole "what happens when EA turns off the activation servers?" is only a worthwhile concern if you are will to look at it in all situations and not just pigeonhole EA/Spore. What happens if Steam goes under? What happens when any MMO shuts off it's servers?
At least with EA's DRM model for Spore an activation crack is a simple solution to that problem. If Steam goes under you would lose every game you bought through it and I'm not sure what type of work around there would be to ensure that you could both continue to play and later install those games. MMOs go under all the time and players almost always have much, much more invested in an MMO than a standard game. And there's almost no real workaround to keep playing once an MMO shuts off it's servers.
September 17, 2008 1:49:48 PM

Quote:
Just about every program makes changes to the registry, it's what the registry is for. It stores things like user settings, paths and other variables, has nothing to do with DRM.

Sorry I cut off what I was saying after I realized it wasn't completely relevant to Stardock. But the method of DRM I was hinting at could easily and is commonly used. Here's the system I was thinking of:
You log into a system like Impulse, buy a game and use your serial key to download it. When you download and are still connected to their server a registry value is added to your system. When you go to install the game, even if not connected to the server or using a serial key, the game checks for that registry value to see if you have permission to install the game. If so it installs, if not you are prompted to connect to the server again and validate your serial key.
Yes it would be easy to crack and is not very troublesome but it's still DRM none the less.
September 17, 2008 2:49:01 PM

all of what you listed is not a positive of the drm, your acting like a drown living in a country with a dictatorship

all of the positives you listed are givens on games with out the drm

it is like death camps in the 1940's the people there had all of their rights taken away and were forced to work 19-20 hours a day everyone was miserable

but once in a while the owners of the camp would give them 1 hour of extra sleep and they think of it as a good thing and be happy because they were so used to loosing sleep to work in the worst possible conditions, conditions which wouldn't have existed if the dictator never existed in the first place

if there was no dictatorship (aka DRM) there wouldn't be any of those hardships to begin with

it is like your used to the DRM crap so much that when you see the smallest amount of freedom in 1 aspect and you think the world of it. thats like jumping for joy for the first amendment, the freedom should be a given

it is not something to think highly of, it is something you should expect

do you walk out everyday thanking the government for letting you live another day? they could kill everyone if they wanted but they don't because of "human rights" it is something you expect to have, not something thats bestowed on you by the government

all of what you listed is available in DRM free games and more

you also get a longer shelf life as the game will never stop working due to the company killing their DRM servers

September 17, 2008 2:53:44 PM

Quote:
it is like death camps in the 1940's ...

That's all I needed to read of your post Razor. You never cease to humor and baffle me with your nonsense.
September 17, 2008 3:24:59 PM

i will explain it more simply for you

all of what you listed are standardly give by non DRM games

it is not a positive it is something that should never be taken away to begin with

is it a positive that the government doesn't all of the innocent people in the country
it is a give freedom that we naturally have
September 17, 2008 3:43:35 PM

Quote:
it is not a positive it is something that should never be taken away to begin with

You understand that video games are not a god given right don't you? You seem to have this idea that you are entitled to not only have companies provide games for your enjoyment but that they must also do so on you terms. Neither is even close to the truth.
How sheltered must you be to think that not getting video games the way you want them is akin to losing your freedom, being killed, starving, etc, etc, etc with all the retarded analogies you use.
As far as DRM, people protecting and wanting to profit off something they worked hard for is only natural. People just have to get over the fact that companies are going to take measures to protect their content from being stolen. Sure there was a time when content protection wasn't needed because technological limitations forced digital content to be tied to physical mediums for the most part. As technology increases (and if you haven't noticed it's doing so rapidly) there has to be an alternative. So please tell me what is the alternative method to protecting digital content moving forward?
September 17, 2008 4:05:11 PM

the alternative is to improve the games and remove the drm

giving the user a worst product than what the pirates get will only increase piracy, especially when drm games and non drm games wind up in p2p at around the same time

the buyer gains no benefit from the drm, and the company doesn't benefit either

would you put a lock on your house door if all of the locks used the same key?
it wont make your home any safer and it will be more work to get in
people mainly oppose security measures that add extra work while showing no benefit

with no drm the pirate copy is usually worst due to the risks of using them

September 17, 2008 4:11:11 PM

Quote:
the alternative is to improve the games and remove the drm

That's like saying the best way to stop car theft is to make better cars with no locks on the doors and no security sytsems. Car theives only want junkers that are difficult to steal.
Or
If your concerned about breakins build a bigger house, fill it with more expensive items and no locks on the doors or windows. Also for good measure leave no lights on when you are away. Burgulars think that trailers usually have the best loot anyways.
Or
To avoid being pick pocketed do not carry your money in a wallet and always carry large sums, preferibly in high denominations. Basically just walk around with hundreds half hanging out of your back pocket. Pick pockets hate large amounts that are easy to grab.
Or
To prevent shop lifting take the highest value items and place them right next to the door with no security. If the weather is nice just leave them outside. Shoplifters are only looking for the cheap stuff anyways that is hardest to get.

There maybe you'll understand something spoken in your language of stupid analogies.
September 17, 2008 4:35:58 PM

yep

if there is no DRM, then the pirates will have a worst product due to the risk involved. there is a chance of the game being infected

the only thing the pirate will have to go on is getting the game for free

but for most people thats not reason enough

everyday large stores throw out perfectly fine food due to reasons like a dent in a can and stuff but most people wont dare dumpster dive due to the risks involved deadly bacteria and stuff so only homeless people will do it

while people like free, they wont want it if the paid item is better

drm makes the pirate copy better as compared to the legit, the pirate copy will be less restricted

no one likes having locks and stuff on their car, they use it because it keeps people from stealing their car and unlike DRM, it has a high success rate with out all of the hassle of the DRM



when your car gets stolen, you no longer have a car.

if someone stole your car, you would be angry, but if someone just looked at your car then built their own car that looked like your car, then that person would have a car like yours and you would still have a car



and like i said DRM offers no protection to the customer.
so it is not a smart thing to do as to compare it to the lock on a car the lock on the car is there to protect you the consumer, not the car company

if the lock only protected the car company and not the customers from getting their cars stoled then you would see people left and right modding their cars to get rid of the locks as it is just extra work for them to do to get into their car and be on their way

were are willing to deal with extra hoops to jump through if it is of a benefit to us

even though locks are annoying, with out them anyone could walk into your house and rob you 9and in real life, when you get robbed, the criminal gets a free tv, and you loose your tv

piracy is more like, you getting a sony 50 inch lcd and your neighbor seeing it and he heads to the store and gets his own sony 50 inch tv and now you both have one

while you the first to get the tv neither gained or lost anything
!