Spore fans threatened with game ban over DRM discussion

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The company vs consumer battle between EA and its customers is really starting to kick off. The debate centres on the DRM slathered all over Spore – the new game from Will Wright, creator of The Sims. The digital rights management system that EA built into the game has led fans to plaster Amazon with bad reviews, and even create protest species within the game.

EA for their part have stayed mostly quiet, emerging occasionally to issue statements like “it’s not that bad…” and “most people won’t even hit the limits”. It hasn’t worked though, and nor has EA’s recent relaxing of the limits. No, the crowds are still baying for blood, and nowhere more than on the main Spore forums, where hundreds of anti-DRM posts are going up every day. One moderator, though, must have got a bit sick of these threads, leaving the following message on a thread:

“SecuROM as been discussed and discussed so much and it causes arguments in threads. If you want to talk about DRM SecuROM then please use another fansite forum. If there is any change you will be able to read it on the official Spore site. Please do not continue to post theses (sic) thread or you account may be at risk of banning which in some cases would mean you would need to buy a new copy to play Spore.” (emphasis mine)

Shortly thereafter, however, a message was posted by another mod, giving the impression that a swift “staff meeting” had just taken place. It said:

“We are happy to support healthy exchanges on the forums. And people will only get banned for breaking the rules. Discussing DRM is not breaking the rules – and as long as it is a civil conversation, it’s cool with us.”

That’s a healthier attitude, and good to see. The first message there is more than a little concerning however. I won’t invoke Godwin’s law here, but I’ll just say that the phrase “silencing your critics” shouldn’t be taken too literally. Be careful, EA – you’re treading a very fine line here.

Spore Forums (Sporums?) (via Kotaku)

Related posts: Sporeasing the Sporestrictions | Upsproar | Okay, I’ll stop now.

Duncan Geere