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Spore Introduces DRM Woes to the Masses
In 2008, EA was obviously an expanding company, but I think you would be a little hard-pressed to say that they are the despised gaming giant we see them as today. Medal of Honor was still doing pretty well, and the sports franchises were always a pretty solid sell year after year, so they were in those times a lot harder to hate. In a lot of ways, I think you could say that this first entry in our list of blunders is the one that started them all. In case you forget, Spore was supposed to be one of the hottest and most anticipated games of that entire calendar year. In fact, by review standards it even did pretty well. However, much like we have seen now with SimCity, the real problems happened when the title hit mass market.
In an effort to protect their content from ramped up piracy concerns, EA invested in using a little protocol called SecuROM. This meant that not only did a user have to verify their CD key every ten days, but they could also only use their credentials on up to three machines. As you can imagine, this didn’t leave a whole lot of wiggle room for consumers who decided to reformat their computers, so many of them called up in a fit of rage. Things got worse for the company when it was discovered that no mention of SecuROM was made in Spore’s license agreement as well. Lawyers swarmed in from far and wide to claim their profits, and did so successfully. What’s the cap on this massive mistake? Spore eventually became the single most pirated game that year, which eventually lead them to move it over to Steam instead. That’s two big losses in EA’s column!
Remember how great Medal of Honor was? That’s just one brand EA has ruined. We’ll talk about that next!