The story of Spore's heinous DRM just got even worse.
The Spore forums are exploding with outrage over the latest revelation that the game's DRM prevents any customers from using more than one single account when playing.
This means that the game can only be played on one computer at a time. Say you have a laptop and a PC -- according to EA, you'd have to buy two copies (or should say temporary licenses) of the game in order to play it on both. Or say you have a household with a gamer husband (or wife) and two kids -- sorry, only one computer can play Spore.
Further angering gamers is that the manual specifically states that this is not the case -- and EA has responded to this saying that what is in the manual is erroneous; just a typo.
Here is one of hundreds of displeased customers on EA's forums:
"You know, I just can't swallow this one. I bought the game because my wife isn't much of a gamer but she's been excited for Spore since I brought back footage from two E3 shows ago. We were told that we could each have our own account on the game, and the text in the manual confirmed it. Now we're being told it was a misprint? Why can't you guys just be upfront and honest and tell us that you pulled that feature but forgot to amend the manual? It's obvious that's what happened.
The DRM is a nightmare, but the flat out lying to your consumers is what is really inexcusable. Yes, the game is great and I'm enjoying it, but definitely at a diminished level due to my wife and I having to share an account. Inexcusable, EA, simply inexcusable. "
EA has also gone to say that the reason for this limit is technical: they say multiple accounts of the same copy of the game will make Spore laggy for everyone else.
So not only can you only install the game three times, but you can only play on one account. This is pretty bogus, in the minds of many a gamer out there. The backlash against this game's DRM continues, but EA has not made any public statement addressing these issues, and appears to be steadfast and obstinate on the subject.
It remains to be seen if consumers will vote with their wallets. Already across many forums, many of said they will not purchase the game because of the restrictive DRM -- but no one at this point knows whether this is a small, vocal minority, or representative of a larger animosity. The unfortunate fact remains that those who don't visit gaming websites have no idea how limiting Spore's DRM is until the purchase the game, and read the manual. Sorry, correction: until they purchase the game, and are surprised when they can no longer install the game.
In other Spore DRM news Amazon has unceremoniously removed more than 2,000 negative reviews of the game. The game currently, suspiciously has no reviews at all. If you do a Amazon search at the moment, in the search engine Spore still shows as having a 1 star rating -- but once you go to the game, no all the reviews are gone.
Certainly Amazon could have been annoyed that some people were going on to the Spore page, and giving the game 1 star because of the DRM, without ever even have played the game. To Amazon's credit, they did remove the few positive reviews of the game with the overwhelmingly negative.
Update: Read that there is a 'Change User' button in the game's UI, which is ineffective. This seem would seem to lead credence to the idea the manual's mistake wasn't a typo, but instead, the designers of the game planned to allow people to switch to different accounts, but this was changed somewhere very late in the game's development.
Update 2: The negative reviews are back online. Amazon said they were not intentionally removed, and that it was a instead a temporary website glitch. Also, EA has responded to the DRM criticism to Gamasutra, basically contending that internal research showed that only a very small amount of users would need more than three installations.