Spore copy protection officially explained and de-bunked

It's easier to curse the darkness than light a candle.

Actually, I might have butchered the saying, but that's the appropriate way to put it when it comes to the copy protection issues with Spore, Electronic Arts' amoeba-to-universe sim that supposedly limits you to three installs before shutting down for good. But while everyone else is cursing up a blue streak (witness the 2000 one-star ratings on Amazon.com), MTV's gaming blog and Ars Technica decided to light a candle.

MTV published some reassuring comments from an EA spokesperson who avoided some of their questions, but said the copy protection restrictions were going to be eased up in the "near future". She also said that if EA were to ever shut down the Spore servers, they'd patch out the DRM first so people could still play. How thoughtful, especially considering EA's poor track record for keeping servers around for old games.

Ars Technica's practical look at the issue was much more illuminating than the corporate platitudes MTV passed along. They poked around at how the actual copy protection works, trying multiple installs, contacting customer support, and even pretending to rent the game to get a new authentication code. They had no problem getting the game up and running, at least not related to copy protection. Ars Technica had the following conclusion:

...we left wondering if the DRM controversy might be more philosophical in nature than rooted in any real-world inconveniences.

Well, yeah, duh. But just because I haven't stubbed my toe yet doesn't mean I don't have a problem with sitting in the dark. *&!@#&*!

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