Spore Problems Piling Up

I think everybody was at least curious how Spore would turn out. Now it seems that success of the highly anticipated game is heavily tainted by some draconian security measures.

There was a big outcry because of the DRM system SecuROM being implemented. The system was especially tight: it would have to “validate” an installed version of the game every 10 days online. This was – of course – a problem for those who couldn’t go online regularly so the system was changed to its current form and it is not better. Now you validate the game only once but you can do it only 3 times in total. And you loose a validation every time your hardware configuration changes. After you’ve lost all 3 validations, you can’t play the game anymore. You can however gain a validation back if you un-install the game before the system configuration changes. This is a bad idea for many reasons, obviously. One which I think is particularly important is that you can’t really re-sell the game after you’ve bought it because the buyer can’t be sure how often the game was validated.

But there is more: it seems like you can have only one online account per CD-key. This is especially inconvenient for families (major target group?), where different members of the family play the game and want to post their creatures independently from each other. To add insult to injury, the European handbooks incorrectly state that you could have several online accounts.

It seems like the problems pile up. As I’ve already pointed out, the amazon reviews are flooded with anti-DRM rants (it’s over 2000 now – ouch!) and I can hardly blame them. I would expect that implementing effective and non-invasive anti-piracy measures shouldn’t be a problem in a game where a vital part of the joy comes from playing online. Am I missing something? It is a shame seeing how the obviously game suffers from these problems. Considering how there is already a perfectly working pirated version out there, I do hope EA gets the clue.

Krystian Majewski

Krystian Majewski was born in Warsaw and studied design at Köln International School of Design. Before, he was working on a mid-size console project for NEON Studios in Frankfurt. He helped establish a Master course in Game Design and Research at the Cologne Game Lab. Today he teaches Game Design at various institutions and develops independent games.

2 responses to “Spore Problems Piling Up”

  1. sirleto
  2. sirleto

    please concatenate the link yourself:



The Game Design Scrapbook is a second blog of group of three game designers from Germany. On our first blog, Game Design Reviews we describe some games we played and point out various interesting details. Unfortunately, we found out that we also need some place to collect quick and dirty ideas that pop into our minds. Hence, welcome to Game Design Scrapbook. You will encounter wild, random rantings. Many of then incoherent. Some of them maybe even in German. If you don't like it, you might enjoy Game Design Reviews more.


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