Why DRM is useless.

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Spore was a much awaited game from the creator of the Sims, Will Wright. However, the game was not nearly as successful as it should have been. Why? Because of EA’s SecuROM. This piece of software was included with Spore, ad yet not mentioned anywhere on the box, in the manual or in the License agreement. It prevented perfectly legitimate users and customers of EA and Maxis from enjoying their game to its fullest, by requiring regular connection to the internet, and limiting the number of times the game could be installed. And worst of all, SecuROM could not be removed once installed, except through a rather complicated process that most people wouldn’t know how to do.

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Now, because of the controversy, two lawsuits hav been filed against EA over SecuROM, yet I doubt EA will ever back down. They don’t care about the players, only about their profits. What EA doesn’t realise is that by placing all this extra security on their products, they are giving people a reason to pirate their games. The very thing EA is trying to stop. Why would someone pend $30 or more on a game, when they can get it for free and not have the stupid restrictions on it? Since its release, Spore has already skyrocketed to being the most pirated game in history.

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Now, I realise EA are only trying to prevent themselves from losing profits. I understand that pirating is illegal, but that doesn’t mean I agree with what EA is doing And it’s not just EA. Apple have done it as well with iTunes, forcing people to buy music which is unconvertible, can only be played on authorised computers and can only be placed on iPods. Which is a shame, I personally hate iPods, I find them overpriced and unreliable, but iTunes is the only place I’ve been able to find the music I like. Fortunately, it seems Apple has realised their error with the release of DRM free music on iTunes Plus.

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What the gaming industry needs are more people like Stardock, with their introduction of the Gamer’s Bill of Rights. If Stardock practice what they preach, then they will most likely see a vast increase in the number of players buying their games. And guess what? Stardock have never had any form of copy protection on their games. And are they game pirated even nearly as much as Spore, or The Sims 2? Nope, not close at all.

There will always be the pirates who steal games simply because they can, but by pissing off gamers all developers and publishers are doing is forcing even more people to pirate their games. Have faith in humanity, treat gamers nicely, and most (if not all) will return the favour.

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