Forbes: Spore’s Piracy Problem

Spore is a game that has been hyped up for what seems like several years now.  However, with it’s release last week most of the press and fan coverage of the game has been limited to one thing……it’s DRM.  One of the top stories this week was an organized “protest” at Amazon.com where over 2000 reviews were placed giving Spore a 1-star rating because of it’s included DRM measures.  Forbes Magazine has an article about the piracy of Spore.

“EA had hoped to limit users to installing the game only three times through its use of digital rights management software, or DRM. But not only have those constraints failed, says Garland, they may have inadvertently spurred the pirates on.”

I have seen this over and over when it comes to PC games like this, and sometimes it seems the more restrictive the DRM is, the more the people they hope would be customers are just pirating the game. 

“PC games are massively pirated because you can pirate them,” says Brad Wardell, chief executive of Plymouth, Mich.-based gaming company Stardock. Wardell argues that the driver for piracy is user-friendliness–not price. Instead of digital locks, Stardock requires users to use unique serial numbers which it monitors, in conjunction with IP addresses.

“Our focus is on getting people who would buy our software to buy it,” Wardell says, rather than trying to strong-arm people unlikely to pay for the products into become paying customers.”

When I read this article the first thing that came to my mind was the “Gamers Bill of Rights” recently announced by Stardock.  This could possibly be a good time for others to take another serious look at it, and see how the success of games like Sins of a Solar Empire were achieved without the need for restrictive DRM measures.

Read the full article at Forbes.com.