Spore was without doubt the most anticipated game of the year. The game itself has blown away the people who have played it, but the DRM encouraged thousands to get their copy illegally. Already Spore has been downloaded more than 500,000 times on BitTorrent, and this number is increasing rapidly.
Most critics agree that Spore is a great game. However, the users aren’t too happy with the absurd DRM restrictions that come with the game. EA decided that people who buy a legitimate copy of the game, are only allowed to install it three times.
The idea behind DRM is that it will stop people from pirating the game, but in reality, it often has the opposite effect. As Forbes points out, many commenters on various BitTorrent sites now legitimize downloading this game because the official copies include some heavy and intrusive DRM.
“You have the power to make this the most pirated game ever, to give corporate bastards a virtual punch in the face,” deathkitten writes in a comment on The Pirate Bay. He or she is spot on. Spore has been the most downloaded torrent on The Pirate Bay for over a week, which is unique for a game.
Since September 2nd when Spore first appeared on BitTorrent, it has been downloaded a little over 500,000 times across various BitTorrent sites according to our most recent statistics. This download rate exceeds that of any other pirated game in history, and in a week or two from now it will be the most pirated game ever on BitTorrent.
As a comparison, Crysis, one of the best-selling PC games of this year has only been downloaded 420,000 times since it was released in November 2007. The Sims 2 currently holds the record for the most pirate downloads. There are no accurate stats for this game, since it was released long before we started tracking downloads, but we estimate that approximately 1 million copies have been downloaded.
Of course the record breaking number of Spore downloads can’t be attributed solely to DRM, but it sure helped. That’s not all, it also contributed to making Spore one of the worst rated games on Amazon. Out of the 2,219 reviews, 2,018 awarded the game with just 1 star, all because of the strict DRM.
DRM doesn’t stop people from pirating a game, on the contrary. It only hurts legitimate customers since the DRM is removed from the pirate version. The same is true for music, movies and books. Let’s hope EA and other media moguls will learn their lesson.