Spore had all the aces up its sleeve in order to become a best selling title. It promised players the ability to create their own creatures and then lead them through various stages of evolution until they could travel through space and visit other planets developed by other players. It delivered on all of these, but, sadly, there was one thing that shadowed all of the innovations that this title brought, DRM (Digital Rights Management).
Although the game had quite a lot of features, the decision of Electronic Arts, the publisher of the game, to include the DRM system SecuROM, in order to prevent piracy, created a massive backlash. Users were frustrated by the fact that the limitations imposed by the program meant that they couldn't create multiple online accounts, for members of their families, or install it at work, where they could also play the game. This backlash has even resulted in a few class action law suits, filed against EA for damage to players through this DRM software.
Although EA did admit that the pirated copies did not equal lost sales on its part, the fact that the DRM system employed was so severe turned a lot of angry customers towards downloading pirated copies off the Internet so they wouldn't be stressed by SecuROM anymore. It now seems that there were quite a lot of customers angry at Spore, as, according to TorrentFreak, it has been the most pirated PC game of this year.
That's right; according to a statistic released by the popular site, over 1,7 million copies of Spore were downloaded this year, which is quite a lot, as it has only been launched 3 months ago. The game dominates its runner up, The Sims 2, which only managed to be downloaded 1,1 million times, considering it has been launched 4 years ago. Other 2008-released games that managed to get to the top are Fallout 3, Far Cry 2 and Pro Evolution Soccer. Here are the full results:
1. Spore (1,700,000, released Sept. 2008)
2. The Sims 2 (1,150,000, Sept. 2004)
3. Assassins Creed (1,070,000, Nov. 2007)
4. Crysis (940,000, Nov. 2007)
5. Command & Conquer 3 (860,000, March 2007)
6. Call of Duty 4 (830,000, Nov. 2007)
7. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (740,000, June 2005)
8. Fallout 3 (645,000, Oct. 2008)
9. Far Cry 2 (585,000, Oct. 2008)
10. Pro Evolution Soccer 2009 (470,000, Oct. 2008)
All in all, it definitely seems that EA has received what it deserved for including such a limiting piece of software with its games. Let's just hope that it learned its lesson, but then again, if you look at new releases, which also have SecuROM, things might not change yet.