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EA to PC Gamers: “Install 3 times? Buy another copy”

This really grinds my gears…As reported here in the past, Mass Effect for PC contains a new type of SecuROM which will be present in all future EA/Maxis games.

What does it do?  Not only does it install itself to your computer without a word of notification as well as disable your firewall, dvd drives and cd/dvd burning software.  It limits you to installing your game on your PC up to 3 times.

This can be triggered via using up your 3 activations and each time you change a piece of hardware, reformat your computer or install/upgrade a new operating system, it takes up one of the activations.

This is proven to be true by a guy over at the Mass Effect forums.  He registered and started to play the game (Activation #1).  Well, when he tried to play the game he had strange artifacts on his screen.  Thinking it was an OS-related issue, he reinstalled XP and reinstalled the game (Activation #2).  Finding out that it didn’t help the problem, he soon figured out it was his graphics card struggling.  Well, he bought a brand new card and that solved the problem (this triggers Activation #3).  Game ran fine for a short period of time (2 days) and he played thru it and completed the game.  Well, a week after that, he decided he wanted to run thru the game again.  This is where he stumbles upon this error:

“The game can not start. For security reasons, only a limited number of machines can ever be licensed by a single purchase. This limit has been reached. Please purchase another registration code, reinstall, and then try again.”

There is no doubt that EA will try to include this new version of SecuROM on Spore and possibly The Sims 3….and if it is, we are going to encounter some very serious problems.  Heck, I can’t even count the times I had to reinstall the games, upgrade my hardware and reformat…

You know, come to think of it…EA is doing this to prevent piracy of their games, but it’s only hurting us legal customers.  Look at this:

If you are a Pirate:

  • BAD: You do have the same bugs that those with legal copies have, plus new ones depending on how the cracked copy was programmed.
  • GOOD: Unlimited Activations!
  • GOOD: No SecuROM to deal with
  • GOOD & BAD: It’s free, but illegal

If you are a Legal Customer:

  • BAD: Limited to 3 Activations
  • BAD: Your computer is plaqued with SecuROM
  • BAD: Game contains errors and bugs
  • GOOD & BAD: You support Maxis by purchasing the game, but you are also supporting EA, and if you support them, you support SecuROM

Honestly…what looks better to you?

Source:  Mass Effect Forums and discussion at Simmers against SecuROM

53 comments

  1. cfkboyz says:

    I understand that every company has the right to protect there products. What I hate is when they go as far to hurt paying customers. I have been burnt by EA before with Battlefield 2142 and Punkbuster. I will never by a EA game so long as there is any of this crapware on the disc.

    I don’t condone piracy but I would be more than happy to just download a copy of a game that works. Since these games are released for windows© how many users are going to format there systems because of viruses? How many times are the paying customers going to upgrade there hardware to get better frame rates since it is a PC after all?

    My money is better spent buying blank cd’s/dvd’s….

    I guess I took to old saying “The customer is always right” the wrong way…
    Just my opinion

  2. dila813 says:

    No EA Programs for the kids or me. This is too much to pay for a game that may or may not work after a few plays.

    It has been a real nightmare to return games / media to department stores, now I can’t even depend on the game’s time bomb from going off and locking me out.

  3. Nrot says:

    Allready saw this with Bioshock.
    Like h*ll I’ll ever buy a game with this shit again.
    EA’s protections has been a bother from there start.
    Hell I have a Secure-Rom game that wont run because I run vista and dosnt like the upgrade.
    2 games – 95 bucks.
    I hope they loose there ass on these games.
    also a BAD: for pirates. You have to wait… a week (uh… its only a week?! I thought SecuROM was hard?)
    I’ll take a callhome over SecuROM as long as if I’m offline and it wants to call I can still play. The damn check only comes down to a 1 or a 0 anyways. Note: Depends on what it calls home with. And nobody says I dont inspect packets like that.
    ANd besides my Firewall flips out with SecuROM. I mean it too. To install it theres over 40 popups.
    “SecuROM™ protects your intellectual property – and thus your revenues” – SecuROM.com : Not when people dont buy because it has it.
    Take your CD and jam it up your ***

  4. oritpro says:

    I got burned on “Bioshock”, “The Witcher”, and “Oblivion add-ons” with this activation B.S. and can guarantee that it won’t happen again because I won’t purchase any more games that require activation. Spore WAS at the top of my “must have game list” this year, now it’s not on my list at all.

    Having the CD/DVD present to play a game is an acceptable inconvenience, losing the ability to play a legally purchased game because the activation count has been exceeded is not.

    –No Sale

  5. Judhudson says:

    @Nuker, no, not really. When you install it on an external harddrive, I believe some core files are still installed to the computer’s registry thus you will still have the same problem.

  6. theY4Kman says:

    There’s a saying about piracy; it goes something like, “The best way to stop piracy is to provide a better product than the pirated version”. It’s a very true statement. I mean, look at Steam. You get automatic updates and good games without ever leaving your chair. Sure, there’s SteamDown, but it’s much easier and better to just buy the game.

    But apparently EA doesn’t go on the internet. At all.

  7. Roachcock says:

    God I have never heard so much fucking whining in my life… I have been gaming for years and years and not once have I been burned by copy protection. All this jackass had to do was call EA and they would have allowed the game to re-activate.

    You fucking whiny little bitches need to quit pirating and learn how to take car of a computer and read instructions. If he had, he’d have known what was in store for him after dicking around with his computer. It’s only been all over the whole fucking internet for months.

    Go back to playing with your consoles, you little crybaby pussies.

  8. Judhudson says:

    And those comments right there will turn around to bite you in the butt, Roach. Pirates are not the problem – they aren’t complaining, hell they aren’t even the ones with the problem! They put out their own hacks which disable SecuROM as well as the activations. The ones who are complaining are the folks who went out to the stores or used EA’s Digital Download System and shelled out $50 for a legitmate copy. We (the people who bought the game) are the ones who end up getting shafted while the pirates are laughing their asses off because they simply don’t have to deal with the problem.

    Complain and whine? I have over $300 worth in EA PC games. Damn right I will.

  9. Roachcock says:

    I HAVE a legitimate copy of ME and a slew of other games that have copy protection. I have had to reformat and re-install XP dozens of times and simple 3 minute call to MS fixes that, as would a call to EA. And heads up, if you live outside of the US and you buy ME and then go ahead and fuck around with your machine over three times..then WTF were you thinking??! You should have done the research FIRST. You will have to call and yes it will cost your ass. But WTF ever. If it bothers you, if it is too much trouble, then play a goddamned console FFS and leave the PC platfrom to people who do know what the fuck they’re doing!

    I don’t care about having to call if I want to make my game work or my OS activate. PC gaming is dying because of pirates and little fucking whores who want to install the game on multiple machines for free. Copy protection DOES WORK and if I have to deal with a little grief to protect MY GAMING PLATFORM, then I will.

  10. indrid189 says:

    Copy protection works to an extent, but it also does a great job of pissing off the customer base that purchases the product. I have experienced the same issues with Company of Heroes with Relic. I have called the company, the told me to go to the forums. I went to the forums and they tell me that it’s something to do with my computer. Since the issue has to do with the registered account telling me that my key is associated with another installation (the other computer in my house where I have another version purchased. Mind you 2 copies purchased each on separate computers in my home so that I can play it on a LAN with my friends when they come over. The amount of time taken (due to the copy protection and account registration) has been over 20 hours and counting.
    I finally fix the issue in 5 mins but downloading a crack and applying it so I can play my legal purchased copies at home with my friends. So when your telling me that copy protection works. I would say that it does for EA, but for the sucker that purchases the game, they have good chance of being screwed. So from now on, I purchase my game on my AMEX and if I have any issue, I return it. If there is any crap given to me about returning it. I call AMEX and have them remove the charge which entails the vendor receiving a fine from AMEX if they refuse to compile.
    EA and other large companies care about the $. They are required by law to do so. Until customer make their bottom line affected due to their practices, this will not change. Expect to get screwed. This just makes it easier to move to Linux and stay there. Piracy isn’t killing PC gaming. The lack of innovation and treating your customer like a criminal is killing gaming.

  11. decirium says:

    Ahh Roach, you will get bitten so hard.

    Let’s put a little perspective on why this type of copy protection is “bad”. You install your game several times re-activating as needed with the company who makes it. You hear that because people weren’t paying for the games that EA just went out of business (or cut off all support for PC gaming). You install your game again, no more activations are possible because EA is non-existant (or not supporting) and you paid money for something which you can no longer use. It doesn’t take much to realise why this is a bad idea. Now your average pirate is reinstalling for the hundred odd time and you will probably be looking longingly at the cracks required to make your game work again (which the pirates provided).

    And so incensed, so easily… really, what was the point of your rant again? Copy protection like Securom can actually damage a working PC OS, so how can you say copy protection (e.g as a whole) works? How does that show you’ve done your research? A quick example, a game I purchased, from a real shop, has securom, the older versions that check your disk and validate it against the CD serial (technically you could use it on multiple PCs with one copy), although this might have been another copy protection. Does it sound fair that a game I purchase does not work? No? Well the CD validation fails because the copy protection in this case didn’t like my system.

    So either that means I turn pirate (at least partially with cracks) or stop supporting the producer, neither of which help the ailing PC gaming market.

    On another note, the “ailing” market for PC gaming… complete garbage. There’s people out there with servers and software that mimic World of Warcraft. How many people play World of Warcraft and don’t end up buying other games? 9 million worldwide, does that sound like piracy winning the battle of free vs. pay to play?

    Seriously, besides trolling the comments, what was your point again? I’d frankly prefer a pay to play system for all gaming, some software like the Chinese use in World of Warcraft where you pay for the time you play the game, like rentals. Not only would this kill off developers who don’t put the players enjoyment first (and stop the usng players as bug testers as well) but it wouldn’t feel as much like we’ve been ripped off because it doesn’t cost as much unless you like a game and play it for the long run. Heck, this could even give the company chance to give back to the players by making the game register as freeware once it gets old enough by introducing pricing plans. Now that, is a real way to combat piracy.

  12. SUBLIMEinal says:

    Roach, judging by your rant, you’re either fantastically mentally challenged, a particularly useless troll, or, the more likely theory, you’re a plant from EA or SecuROM posting in an ill-fated attempt at damage control. Now, let’s move on to some serious debunking of your magnificently flawed views, or at least those of your employer.

    First off, why on earth should I have to buy multiple copies of a game if I want to play it on more than one computer. I’m an avid PC gamer, but due to my current family situation, I switch off almost every other week between my parents’ houses. Of course, I can’t move my beloved PCs from house to house, but I’ve been blessed with at the very least passable gaming equipment at each home. Now, why should I have to shell out upwards of 100 USD to be able to play at both houses? Like hell I’m doing that. I paid my due, I should get to play my fucking game. After all, I bought it, it’s mine, which means I should be able to do whatever the hell I want with it, within the law. That includes installing on more than one computer. I’m not redistributing it for profit, I’m playing a video game at my dad’s house. When I buy Halo 3 for the XBox 360, I can bring it over to my friend’s house and play it there. It won’t even infect my console with malware because I had the audacity to pay for it.

    Also, what’s all this shit about “research”? If I buy, say, a random book, should I have to research to make sure, for the purpose of this poorly illustrated metaphor, that my purchase of it won’t spontaneously result in the ground opening up and sucking my house and loved ones into the very depths of hell? I’d certainly hope I wouldn’t. I’d much rather it, you know, not do something like that, or if it did, at least tell me it would without forcing me to hunt through the internet to make sure it won’t. You’re essentially calling people stupid because they gave money to someone who claims they can be trusted, trusted the person they gave the money to to give them a good product, and then being pissed off because their trust led to them getting fucked in the ass to (maybe) protect a corporate profit margin.

    If you’re looking for something to blame the ailing health of the PC gaming market on, you can do a lot better than piracy. You want to blame it on something? Blame it on copy protection. It doesn’t “work” like you say it does. Galactic Civilizations II grew its sales by a very significant margin based solely on the fact that it didn’t have any copy protection. And note how I didn’t say players. Sales. More people bought it because it didn’t have the horrific, system-crippling horse shit your pals at EA cram onto game discs and feed us without saying it’s there. Hell, that’s half the reason I personally bought it, too.

    Now, Roachcock, that was my little rant, dedicated to you. You may now proceed to A. put your helmet back on for the dangerous trip to the kitchen for your juice box B. guffaw like an idiot at the reactions your trolling is producing or C. snort and tell your bosses to hide the copy protection a little deeper next time or D. all of the above.

    Thank you for reading.

  13. Wayward says:

    Roachcock says:…”Go back to playing with your consoles, you little crybaby pussies.”

    Exactly what I did long ago. Why? Because of all the copy protection crap that you claim works kept fucking up my systems. I used to be an avid PC gamer but all the copy protection crap kept causing problems on my systems that I need to use for business. I finally gave up on PC gaming all together and play console games and use my PC’s for business only. Since I have made the switch I never have problems with my PC systems or my console games. I have no intention of switching back to PC gaming with the current state of things.

    So explain to me again how this is good for the ailing PC gaming industry?

  14. Nymous says:

    There’s a real simple way to work around this.

    1. Buy the game

    2. Install the game

    3. Go to one of a hundred sites on the internet and download a nocd/copy protection crack

    4. Play the game and reinstall it as many times as you want

    Seriously folks, if you’ve been online for more than 5 minutes and you don’t know this then put the keyboard down and walk away. It’s just to much for you to handle. I’ve been using nocd cracks for years because I’ll be damned if I’m going to use up all the extra harddrive space for a full install and still have to insert to cd for a cd check every time I want to play the game. Copy protection is a scam that some mediocre software developers run on software publishers and pc users who are too stupid to figure out a workaround.

  15. thor79 says:

    I experienced something similar to the guy this talks about.
    -I installed Mass Effect on my Windows Vista Ultimate 32 bit system. Installation 1 used.
    -I upgraded my system so I could have a more enjoyable experience in Age of Conan. This meant a complete system upgrade…so basically a new computer. I installed Mass Effect again. Installation 2 used.
    -I decided to upgrade from 32 Bit Vista to 64 Bit Vista to take advantage of all of the 4GB of memory I installed. Installed Vista Ultimate 64 Bit. Installed Mass Effect once again. Installation 3 used.
    -I had some issues with getting some drivers to work on the 64 bit version so in order to have a clean system to install drivers I know would work, I reinstalled Vista 64 Bit. I installed Mass Effect again. This time I received the “game cannot start” message. I proceeded to contact EA via their support system. 2 days later I received a message stating they needed my cd key…even though mass effect was registered on the same account I contacted them with. 4 days later (Monday, June 30th) I received notice that I was allowed to install the game I bought exactly one more time.

    Would I have a problem with this if this actually did something to prevent piracy? No, not at all. I want the PC Gaming industry to thrive and part of that is preventing piracy. Considering it doesn’t do a damn thing to stop piracy…it really irritates me. All it does is screw over legitimate customers.

  16. Yaro says:

    Roachcock strikes me as one of four people.

    A troll trying to get attention.
    A shill trying to defend EA’s stupidity.
    A clueless user who honestly thinks DRM actually stops pirates.
    A sheep who actually does let themselves get screwed over and use “convenience” as a defense. (Think people defending Windows Genuine Advantage, who say it only takes 3 minutes to re-activate. The point being that you still basically bowed down and did what the big biys wanted you to do: Bend over and take it, and then beg for more.)

  17. lizzzzard says:

    Hm I was furious before, but this post from roach really makes me want to speak up. One Thing that has not been mentioned so far was this:
    “And heads up, if you live outside of the US and you buy ME and then go ahead and fuck around with your machine over three times..then WTF were you thinking??!”

    What can I say? I was thinking that just maybe, the only difference a company like EA should make between the players of their games is whether or not they have a legal copy, not where they live. Hell, Germany is the place where simulation games like The Sims sell more copies than some FPS games.
    Even a… Roach like you can surely see this is not to any advantage to a supposedly “ailing” PC games market (that is slowly beginning to make even more money than Hollywood is with movies).
    Excuse me, but I am _not_ jumping through any hoops, even more so if these hoops have been set on fire just because I live outside of the precious US of A.

    And as for “just install a nocd crack” – It is obviously stupid to support a game that has a quality to it that you want to be removed so badly you have to take illegal actions to do so. Only thing that will do is give you more games that send home more data and that nest deeper in your system, causing it to break more often. Not for me.

  18. Salsaguy says:

    I actually bought Mass Effect PC and like many people, found to my complete and utter lack of surprise, that the included securom security software utterly failed to do any of the terrible things ascribed to it.

    Indeed, given the bad press, I did a comprehensive set of scans, searches etc. to determine the true threat that SecuRom posed to my system and unsurprisingly, given that no company would willingly open itself to the same level of negative press that Sony got for it’s rootkit DRM, that no security flaws were opened or taken advantage of by SecuRom.

    As far as I can tell, the cries of ‘rootkit’ come from a bug in an early version used for Bioshock (another game I legitimately own and had no problems with) wrote null bytes in some of the games registry entries which were interpreted by some registry validation tools as an attempt to obscure data such as a rootkit. But no rootkit actually existed (after an exhaustive search of said registry, I found no evidence even of these alleged null bytes, leading me to either it was an isolated problem, or that it was fixed in later versions of SecuRom).

    Similarly, the idea that SecuRom can disable any part of the system stem from claims by some Sims2 players that they experienced problems of this sort, although nothing I could find indicated a link between SecuRom and the errors other than that some people claimed one existed.
    particularly damning is the lack of any evidence of a rootkit that would cause these sorts of problems.

    Finally, the claim that MEPC had SecuRom linked errors is easily dismissed, just search for any torrent of MEPC and you’ll find them riddled with the same errors as legitimate, SecuRomed copies. Only thing is, being illegal versions, anybody stuck with a torrented MEPC game had to wait not only for the patch (which was only made available to legitimate purchasers and only worked with legitimate copies) but for the patch to be cracked as well.
    Also, I tried uninstalling Bioshock, MEPC and SecuRom (using the provided SecuRom removal tool no-less) from my system to verify claims that SecuRom would remain on my system and cause all sorts of problems. Once again, to my utter lack of surprise, once the uninstallations were complete, Magically, there was no more trace of those programs on my system! (well, not any more trace than XP’s flawed registry/uninstallation processes would allow without excessive effort)
    And then, having played through both multiple times I again failed to encounter any issues.
    Following the claims of your source in the mass effect forums, I performed a reinstall of XP (it was about time anyway) which indeed burned through an installation (not surprising, as we’ll later see) I then proceeded to switch out my graphics card (for an older 6800 I have laying around for various troubleshooting purposes) and found that this minimal hardware change failed to burn an installation, I then added a hard-drive to my system (again, one normally used for diagnostic purposes) with much the same results. I then performed a bit fo an experiment, Based on statements by EA, BioWare, and SecuRom, It seems that SecuRom stores some information regarding your activations on your computer (it tells you ti’s doing this actually, hardly sneaky) so I uninstalled BioShock and MEPC and then re-installed them. Amazingly it seems that all three sources were telling the truth, as this did not burn an installation. For good measure, I repeated the experiment, this time also using the SecuRom removal tool. when I reinstalled the games, I was notified that I was now on my final activation and that I may need to contact EA support to reset my activation limit later (I haven’t yet done this, but I’m confident that with a little forethought, it won’t be necessary) This would be why reinstalling XP (which is generally accompanied by a wipe of the disk you are installing on, including the SecuRom data, though a power-user could avoid this, also a good argument for properly backing up your system before a re-install)

    True, there is still a three activation limit, but by contacting EA it’s possible to have your number of activations reset. More trouble than it should be, but hardly the computer-destroying, privacy-violating, rights-infringing problems that some people who’ve never actually bought or legitimately installed a SecuRom ‘protected’ product claim >.>

    Although, I guess you could take the word of a guy who admittedly has only experienced these problems through a (singular) post on BioWare’s support forums (having visited these forums for some pre-patch issues, there were quite a number of posts decrying SecuRom, but none or very few of them actually purchased the game or experienced any issues themselves. and of those that do own the game legitimately and have problems, few of them contact EA support (some I’ve tried to help are resistant to even basic advice, such as updating drivers to try and fix graphical errors D:<) those that do though, generally report favorable solutions)

    I’m not going to say I agree with SecuRom or other DRM, but I’m also not going to pretend that the problem is worse than it is. No company is retarded enough to repeat Sony’s error.

    Personally, I’d rather the DRM problem was over, but failing that, I’ll still support innovative game designers by legitimately purchasing their games, and I won’t weaken the position of Anti-DRM proponents by stealing DRM protected games or pretending that companies would willingly cripple their customer’s computer.

  19. decirium says:

    Salsaguy – One point and one point only, if DRM doesn’t fix the problem, it should not also be in place causing problems. You have to ignore errors that other people are suggesting have happened to say that a “(singular) post on BioWare’s support forums” for example is denying that there are millions of gamers besides those at that site having problems. You ignore a post further up stating

    “This time I received the “game cannot start” message. I proceeded to contact EA via their support system. 2 days later I received a message stating they needed my cd key…even though mass effect was registered on the same account I contacted them with. 4 days later (Monday, June 30th) I received notice that I was allowed to install the game I bought exactly one more time.”

    Apparently, even with legitimate users, EA is making a major mess of things and you skip right past it. Lets face facts, DRM is wrong, I am planning to buy Spore and crack it irregardless once my activations run out so it’s not piracy that I preach.

  20. Brentnor says:

    I noticed in the news that the SecureRom “3 install limit” was finally dropped from 2K Games “BioShock”. I refused to buy that game because of it. I’m certain that 2K Games lost sales because of it, as I am most positive that EA will lose sales for the exact reason: Punishing a Paying Customer! The pirates have no problem with circumventing the copy protection. In fact “Spore” was released on their boards an entire week before the retail game was released!
    So where is the incentive to purchase the game? Looks like EA has not learned from 2K Games past mistakes. I will definitely pass on any EA game that sports this nonsense. I need my firewall. I don’t need an invasive program that silently installs ‘who knows what’ in the background, that compromises my security and interferes with my other applications!!!

  21. Nicodareus says:

    I’m not particularly fond of DRM of any kind. Nor of Roachcock after reading what he had to say. But I do have one point of SUBLIMEinal’s that I must argue.

    “First off, why on earth should I have to buy multiple copies of a game if I want to play it on more than one computer. I’m an avid PC gamer, but due to my current family situation, I switch off almost every other week between my parents’ houses. Of course, I can’t move my beloved PCs from house to house, but I’ve been blessed with at the very least passable gaming equipment at each home. Now, why should I have to shell out upwards of 100 USD to be able to play at both houses? Like hell I’m doing that. I paid my due, I should get to play my fucking game. After all, I bought it, it’s mine, which means I should be able to do whatever the hell I want with it, within the law. That includes installing on more than one computer. I’m not redistributing it for profit, I’m playing a video game at my dad’s house. When I buy Halo 3 for the XBox 360, I can bring it over to my friend’s house and play it there. It won’t even infect my console with malware because I had the audacity to pay for it.”

    Don’t get me wrong. I’ve installed games on multiple PCs plenty of times. And I think it should be perfectly legitimate. But that doesn’t make it any less illegal. Despite the fact that you purchased a -copy- of the game, you don’t own it. You own a copy of it. Which, as you’ll see if you read the ToS in most games, gives you the right to install it on -ONE- PC.. Which the company has the legal right to do. With spore, EA pretty much tells you you can install it on multiple computers with the 3 activation limit which is MUCH further than most developers will let you do -legally-. While, most games you -can- install on more than 3 PCs, you are still typically breaking the law by doing it. You aren’t purchasing the game, you’re purchasing the right to play a copy of the game defined within the Terms of Service that you agree to (Or skip right past in the case of most people, by constantly clicking ‘next’ without care.) when you install the game. They explicitly tell you that if you don’t agree to their terms, to click cancel. So your whole argument of “I SHOULD BE ABLE TO INSTALL IT ON AS MANY COMPUTERS AS I WANT BECAUSE I BOUGHT IT” is moot. You don’t typically have that right anyways. You may have the ability to, but not the legal right.

    Personally I feel your argument would be better pressed based on some other grounds, because you are basically condoning a form of piracy as it is. Don’t get me wrong. I doubt there are very many people in the world that disagree with you. Hell, I don’t. I think it -should- be legal to install a game on as many PCs as you like. But that doesn’t mean it is. And damn sure doesn’t give you a sure footing to stand on for this sort of argument.

    You’ll also typically find in the ToS for most games something along the lines of “If ownership of this product is transferred, everything that came with it must also be transferred and the software must be uninstalled from the original PC.” Typically along with “If you install this product on another PC, you must uninstall it from the previous PC.”

  22. Nicodareus says:

    Another thing I think is worth noting is that this sort of DRM isn’t geared around preventing ‘piracy’ in the sense that most people here are complaining about. Of course it fails at it, because people aren’t looking at what it does realistically. Not every person playing video games (In fact, only a minority is so) is a computer genius. The majority of gamers just want to install the game, play it and continue their lives. The type of piracy that EA is trying to prevent is that along the lines of people installing the game on their PC and then passing it along to their 86 friends and everyone in their family they can. By limiting it to 3 activations and requiring you to call for more, they are effectively controlling the ‘ignoramus’ population of the game and keeping them from getting as many illegitimate copies out that way. They aren’t going to stop internet pirates. They can’t. There’s always a way to crack the game. They are just trying to prevent what they can.

    Don’t get me wrong. I don’t like it. And I do agree that it’s going to cost them a few ‘nerd zomg my poor computer’ sales. But it’s not ineffective at what it’s meant to prevent.

  23. Unknown Terror says:

    Just buy the game and crack it, problem solved. You are legally allowed to crack a game you legally own, so do it. People like Egosoft with X2:The Threat and X3:Reunion realised how much hassle it was just sticking a CD in the drive to play the game let alone some bullcrap 3 activation stuff and they went ahead and released THEIR OWN no-cd crack…..

  24. Pichan says:

    These kind of copy protections don’t work at all in my opinion.
    As far as I know, the main idea is to stop illegal copying of the game, which even the weakest copy protection is able to do at consumer level. However if the game can be cracked, the copy protection won’t help at the world scale. If even one of the groups manage to crack the game, they surely will distribute it and so on. Pirates still get their free game and customers get a worse product – think about that.

    Right now I’m pretty pissed and will NOT buy the retail version after playing the pirated version.

  25. Cuddly_Blankets says:

    A full pirated version of Spore was available on torrent sites before it had even had it’s worldwide launch. SecuROM doesn’t work. There is another reason they want this and that reason is to squeeze as much money as they can out of honest, paying customers. I hope that every game that incorpates this malware fails badly.

  26. Oldtimer says:

    These publisher are going to find themselves out of business if they don’t stop getting into our private lives and computers. I’ve played computer games since 1982, and have never seen developers resort to this kind of invasion into our lives. Back then, we bought computer games and sure their was pirating and copying going on but never saw companies suffer for it. When well known companies like Electronic Arts released great games back then, they always made a ton of money pirates or not! That is why they are still here today, prospering and getting bigger. I think companies are getting a little too bold because of their wealth and need to be shown who put them is that position. “The customer is always right” seem to have been forgotten. They are no better than virus writers and malware developers acting the way they do. Bottom line, great companies have always survied and prospered regardless of the overblown pirating issues. The FBI can do this work and there is no need to invade our privacy. P.S.- the online activation thing is insane. Had you told people in the 80’s you had to pay $10 dollars for internet access just to play the game they bought and could only play it a certain amount of times; they would have looked at you like you were crazy. Out!!!

  27. Dave Sodee says:

    I have been a pc gamer for over 10 years now. I have bought hundreds of dollars of pc games and thousands on my rigs over the years. DRM never works and has always been the bane of the paying customer. It causes performance issues with pc games. It makes the paying customer jump through hoops to enjoy the product they purchased. The eula agreements and null and void as they do not state what copy protection is on the software that is going to be installed on the pc you own.

    EA will not get another of my dollars after years of buying from them. Mostly Need to Speed titles and a few others.

    It is a shame but they just have gotten too big to care about customers. So it is time for the customers to say good bye to Madden xxxx and the other old tired crap they make. Spore…pass. Sims…enough of it already. Old tired stuff …stop buying it and buy from Stardock and other creative outlets.

  28. Decirium says:

    Nicodareus – Valid points from a company perspective that don’t work in this case. Firstly, more and more people are being pushed onto the internet whether they like it or not. Secondly, this type of DRM supports that as a form of tracking. Thirdly, if the software to crack or pirate the DRM’d software is freely available on the internet and people are now needing the access to use that software, it is going to lead to lead to people finding out how easy it is to do such.

    Put simply, when I first started getting errors about CD keys, I looked it up, found out about cracks and have even since used them where software needs it’s cd in the drive in the form of no-cd cracks. Those are not technically illegal as I am just bypassing a problem that the company created. I’ll re-state it again – ” DRM doesn’t work” – temporary is not the same as permanent, if the company goes bust then I will be unable to use half the software they released and this is never the way to do things. As long as that is true, “pirates” will continue to crack the software not just for fun but because of need as well.

  29. Plymmy says:

    having just had to reinstall spore for the third time (one OS upgrade and one bad install) I am frankly appalled at EA’s method of stopping piracy. I can understand software that protects legitimate copies of the game from ending up on the web, but limiting installs doesn’t even make sense. Surely it only takes the one install to spread the game on the internet. The idea that by effectively loaning me my £35 (roughly $80) game actually sides me with the pirates.

    Good job EA!

  30. Common Sense says:

    I quit buying anything with the EA logo years ago.
    This latest invasion of privacy is just the last nail in the coffin.
    Never again will I shell out money for something that just got another word for crap (EA) on it.
    When buying from EA, you support invasion of privacy, next to no quality control and nonexistent customer support.
    On top of this, EA as a company doesnt care for their employees either.

    As there is still enough other companies out there that know the meaning of service and customer satisfaction, I dont really see why you should even bother touching EA products.
    There is one simple solution to stop this crap once and for all.

    Never buy EA products!
    Now lets put that in a timeframe; EVER!

  31. Anonymous2 says:

    Actually the main reason for DRM and activation limitation is to kill off the ability to re-sell the software. Thats all. When they say its to stop piracy, they are lying. It does not affect the pirates only people who paid for the game. People who have had their fun and wish to sell their CD on. They can’t. The money they would have got by re-selling that CD is money the distributor wants.

  32. a2d says:

    Roach and cock are both fitting names for you my friend.
    I buy software i don’t rent it.

    If i buy a copy of a game or software then I OWN THAT COPY.
    Not the rights of the game but that copy.

    If i want to spend the whole day installing and then un-installing it that is my fuckin’ business and my right – i paid for the motherfucker.

    I wouldn’t own an EA game if it was free – they are without a doubt the worst game publisher in the business.

    All EA is doing is pissing people off and turning average users TOWARDS PIRACY. I hate EA and if i wanted one of their games i sure wouldn’t buy it i would pirate it and feel damn good about it.

    Fuck EA

    • Judhudson says:

      *Gasp* Say it isn’t so? I guess I am caught red-handed. If that’s the case, then according my picture of all the Maxis games I have – http://www.simprograms.com/images/misc/bedroom_06.jpg I guess I made a prop case of the Galactic Edition as well as a fake case for the Spore Creature Creator. Same goes with all of my Maxis games.

      Yeah, drink your shutup juice and stay off of this site until you get your facts straight.

      -Good day!

  33. Geniebean says:

    This was an easy fix. I bought this for my daughter and installed on 3 pc’s before just buying her a new one. Of course on the 4th pc it wouldnt work (3 times the limit). I called EA, gave them my registration code and email, and he fixed it *poof* that easy.

  34. Mike says:

    We already know that DRM doesn’t work, there really is no point talking about it. The owner of Apple even admits that DRM in itunes hurts the legal customer not the pirate. This is why they came up with itunes plus. You pay an additional $0.30 for your songs and the DRM goes away.

    The people who said calling EA support will solve the problem have either never dealed with EA support before or are lieing. EA support sucks. If you ever want to solve a problem you are going to have to do it yourself. More usful than the EA support is a magical thing called the google search bar.

    I hate everything about activation. What happend to the good old days when you installed a program and it worked. If you reinstalled a program it still worked. This is horrible. Me and my brother install our games on both our computers. This puts an end to that. As if EA games were not expensive enough.

    -mike

  35. Ferris Bueller says:

    so lemme get this straight…..cuz i just found out about this

    the whole time my sims 2 copies were messing up were because of something EA installed?….
    and hypothetically speaking…lets say i buy Sims 3 and my friend wants a copy….i cant burn a copy and give’em 1?…whats the point of the CD copier on a computer then?!?!…OR another senario…if i wanted to lend him MY old copy after a few expansions come out…i cant?!!
    ….ugh…..why make something so fun …so difficult….

  36. Ray Britton says:

    The main problem I have with DRM is this: whenever something tries to install securom on my computer, it blue screens, so I have copies of Battlefield 2, 2142, SimCity, Sims 2, and Spore on my shelf, and I can’t use them.

  37. Yeesnaw says:

    You can buy this from steam and play/install it on unlimited computer, i think EA should’ve done the same thing with Spore by assining the key to your email account.

  38. James says:

    Wow that’s some BS! I won’t be buying the games!

    Anyone here use Nintendo points? I know how to get the codes e-mailed to you; no money or personal info needed. Go here to learn how: kcatprizerebel(dot)blogspot(dot)com or click my name!

  39. F*** PC says:

    i’m not understanding why the hell people are still buying games for the PC.. you always have to be upgrading, your always having to deal with the bullshit.. i go to K Mart and buy the knew CIV V and the game is to advanced for my processors.. i just bought this computer last year.. and now if i want to play CIV V i have to purchase a whole new computer.. they should truly drop this PC gaming bullshit. i would like to know out of however many sells they had, how much games were returned back to the store because they didn’t meet requirements.. fuck this bullshit PC gaming. the real money is in the console

  40. meanie says:

    - everyone made intersting points in their posts so far, even Mr.Roach

    – the bottom line is DRM (in any form) doesn’t work. its’ not doing what its’ intended to do .. which is, prevent piracy (Settlers 7, which required the player to be online at all times, even when playing a single player game; was cracked within a week)

    – from my perspective, greed is the common denominator.

    eg: Mafia 2, i was so impressed with the original Mafia that when i heard of Mafia 2 i was intent on buying it blindly. However after some minor research i found that the developers have released half a game, only to have the unreleased content retained as download content (DLC)

    – my point is that corporate greed is killing the industry slowly and this being shown more & more as time goes on, wheather it be with over the top DRM or poor value DLC or releasing unfinished games simply to get it on the shelves before Christmas

    – even consoles are falling into the pitfalls of PCs, with a constant upgrade in the consoles themselves due to better technology, to online activations (this better or worse argument is slowly becoming void)

    – as far as the intial blog, this thread of posters has answered my question. is the 3 time activation DRM still implimented? No, Maxis took it away because it failed. (further reading is needed to see if EA or others still has it under policy)

  41. Frontier says:

    I purchased CD of C&C4 , installed it and it says “code already in use” and will not work.
    I bought the game, I should be able to put the cd in and play the game without having to jump through hoops and still not get to play the game.
    Water flows the easiest route and for peopl;e like us this means cracking the game to play it.
    We have to pirate our purchased games these days, and that is enough to put me off investing more money into stitching up the PC gaming industry.

  42. isabela says:

    Ea sometimes sucks,I am badly want to play the sims 2 but still when I started to install it I thought I would be so lucky to have a game like this!I thank my mom for this sims2 cd.but after the install I tried to autoplay the sims2 but I thought it’ll work but suddenly it didn’t it says:I’m sorry for the inconvenience the sims2 can’t work well report this at nicrosoft.and it ask send error report or don’t send I choose don’t send and I try to open the sims2 again in my computer it still don’t work.

  43. As if ea been cooler?duh?ea sucks so much!and I hate to say this you fool who made this sims2 you makin me addic wid it!u just want to spend our holla money for this shi*!?I just spend my moms money for this?is there something to do with respect?huh?ea?I lov this sims game but it won’t work even how many money ill spend!!I hate ea!who’s wid ma?holla crap I hate it so much but I love this blog!ah..shit!I just gna spend my money for this crap!!!!hate it!!

  44. Dear,ea I want to fuck out your games!!I hate it you just spend ma money!its expensive to buy a game that’s totally original!that doesn’t works!ah..crapmanshiip!!shit your ship!I just absolutely wish that ea will go down and down!until they smell the ash of bein fooled!!!like me!!and toodles to ea I won’t never buy ur goods!!your gammes!! Never!I totally cried bout when I install the game wid an expensive money!that don’t even works!!!!*h*it!
    -isabela«3

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