Friday, December 5, 2008

Spore's DRM backfires, makes it most downloaded game of the year

TechDirt is reporting that Spore's insanely draconian DRM, much the bane of every video-gamer interested in the game, has completely backfired and made the game the most downloaded (the hacked version) this year despite being out only a few months.

When you look at the issue from a customer experience perspective, the DRM controversy is a no-brainer, and DRM loses.  DRM provides absolutely no value to customers - only pain.  Probably more than any other medium, video games are successful only when they create good and immersive experiences.  Furthermore, gamers are probably one of the more passionate demographics out there - they know they know what a good gaming experience looks like, and they get passionately involved in them.  

Starting players off with a frustrating registration process and then subjecting them to the restraints of a silly DRM system is a pretty good recipe for pissing people off, and in this case EA's customers have made their frustration loudly known.  Some paying customers have downloaded the hacked version to avoid the DRM, and a few and even filed a class action lawsuit against EA.  Sony had similar problems back when it published music CD's with rootkits, but they've since recanted - hopefully EA will see the benefit of good customer service and quit this sort of nonsense.  

Until they do, I won't be buying any EA games.  Companies like EA (and on a larger scale, the entire entertainment industry) need to hear loud and clear that we won't put up with this.  Every part of the user experience matters, and those that unnecessarily subject we-the-customers to this degree of frustration should be shunned like the plague.

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