Spore’s WOM not evolving well
By Ted Wright September 10, 2008
Here at Fizz we are pretty upset with the folks at EA. We are gamers first and marketers second so for the life of us we can’t figure out why Will Wright allowed his most recent opus to have heinous DRM restrictions foisted upon it. For the uninitiated, DRM stands for “digital rights management” which is meant to keep people from stealing software by making illegal copies. Here at Fizz we are all for reducing to zero the theft of intellectual property. The problem here is EA chose take draconian measures and limit to three the number of times a legal purchaser of a game can download the game to his/her machine. This has not stopped illegal pirating as someone offered our office a “cracked” version of Spore 48 hours before it’s official release but it is causing huge negative buzz among Influencers because each time a computer is upgraded the DRM system assumes the computer is new and demands that the game be reinstalled. A hard core gamer might trigger a DRM event a couple of times a month with various upgrades or even system changes. A more moderate gamer will probably trigger a DRM event at least twice a year with things like software updates or when they buy a new machine.
EA will most likely change it’s mind just like the music industry did when it tried to put invasive DRM software onto CD’s. In the mean time 1000’s of gaming Influencers are saying “no way” to Spore and telling all of their friends not to buy it because the DRM will “mess up their computers”. A quick trip to Amazon.com will give an interesting example of Spore’s negative WOM.
Those of us here at Fizz who have been a friend to Will for years are sad to see his latest work trashed by poor corporate choices. Let’s hope Will takes Public Enemy’s advice to “Fight the power!”.