Electronic Arts have sent us a statement regarding their roundly-criticized Spore DRM policy. In it, EA Games Label President Frank Gibeau states that the company assumed consumers would understand the need for DRM because "if games that take 1-4 years to develop are effectively stolen the day they launch, developers and publishers will simply stop investing in PC games" but concedes that a number of customers have strong objections and that EA need to adapt their policy to accommodate them. Full details of the changes can be found after the jump, but it is worth noting that Gibeau does not address the concerns that many gamers have about the choice of SecuROM as Spore's copy protection in particular.
Two weeks ago EA launched SPORE – one of the most innovative games in the history of our industry. We're extremely pleased with the reception SPORE has received from critics and consumers but we're disappointed by the misunderstanding surrounding the use of DRM software and the limitation on the number of machines that are authorized to play a single a copy of the game. We felt that limiting the number of machine authorizations to three wouldn't be a problem. · We assumed that consumers understand piracy is a huge problem – and that if games that take 1-4 years to develop are effectively stolen the day they launch, developers and publishers will simply stop investing in PC games. · We have found that 75 percent of our consumers install and play any particular game on only one machine and less than 1 percent every try to play on more than three different machines. · We assured consumers that if special circumstances warranted more than three machines, they could contact our customer service team and request additional authorizations. But we've received complaints from a lot of customers who we recognize and respect. And while it's easy to discount the noise from those who only want to post or transfer thousands of copies of the game on the Internet, I believe we need to adapt our policy to accommodate our legitimate consumers. Going forward, we will amend the DRM policy on Spore to: · Expand the number of eligible machines from three to five. · Continue to offer channels to request additional activations where warranted. · Expedite our development of a system that will allow consumers to de-authorize machines and move authorizations to new machines. When this system goes online, it will effectively give players direct control to manage their authorizations between an unlimited number of machines. We're willing to evolve our policy to accommodate our consumers. But we're hoping that everyone understands that DRM policy is essential to the economic structure we use to fund our games and as well as to the rights of people who create them. Without the ability to protect our work from piracy, developers across the entire game industry will eventually stop investing time and money in PC titles.