Commentary

EA's technologically superior DRF

  • by , April 1, 2009

I recently purchased Spore for my computer. I’m normally not much of a gamer, especially computer games, but I had heard so many great things about it that I thought why not?

When I got it fully installed, though, I started running into a few problems, namely, EA’s and SecuROM’s extensive digital rights management software. If you’ve tried playing Spore (or other titles by EA), you’ve maybe run into SecuROM’s overarching DRM. In fact, I believe SecuROM goes beyond simple DRM and enters the realm of DRF: Digital Rights Fascism.

Why do I use such hyperbole?

Well, I’m not so sure it’s hyperbole really. When I first installed Spore, it started giving me hell even before I was able to enter a registration code.

Did you get that? The game had already told me I used up all of my registrations with my current code BEFORE I had the chance to enter in a registration code. Apparently, Spore (along with other EA titles) installs SecuROM’s uber-DRM on your computer without really telling you (although it’s probably buried in the T&C somewhere). The real problem comes when you try to re-install: it doesn’t re-install SecuROM; it remains hidden on your computer for you to find on your own.

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So, to find out how to rectify this, I turned to the world’s repository of all knowledge: Google. My many Google searches turned up something that probably shouldn’t have surprised me: tons of people all of the world were having problems of some sort with SecuROM and Spore’s DRM. And the problems were prevalent regardless of Windows or Mac.

EA’s official website was no help either – their final solution to all of this was to turn off programs running in the background to free up some CPU power. How was freeing up a few megs of RAM going to fix SecuROM’s registration problems? Your guess is as good as mine.

SecuROM’s official website was a little more promising. They have a special program for Windows that automatically finds and removes the offending SecuROM files. So at least they acknowledge that their DRM is shoddy. But again, another problem: there isn’t an equivalent program for Mac.

So, back to Google. I eventually found out how to manually remove the SecuROM DRM from my computer from YouTube of all places. Once I did that, I was able to register my game and get down to playing!!

And by the way, Spore is absolutely amazing. I highly recommend it, especially if you’re a fan of any of the Sim titles.

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