Several people commented that Amazon.uk has every right to remove reviews from people who haven’t played the game. I completely agree. Actually, Amazon has the right to remove any review from anyone at all – it’s their site and they can do as they please. They do need to be aware – and I’m sure they are – that regularly removing low reviews would cause people to distrust the whole system. But I don’t think that’s a problem here.
The thousands of people who gave Spore a one-star review on Amazon without playing the game weren’t reviewing the game as much as taking part in an impromptu protest. I agree with their cause and I’m very glad that Amazon USA let those reviews stand, since it was most likely the catalyst for the news stories above. If nothing else it’s forced EA public relations people to come out on stage so we can boo them.
Keep in mind that pirates care nothing about DRM. They don’t see it, they don’t deal with it. The only people who deal with DRM are paying customers. This means that every single person who took part in the Spore protest – and all the thousands more taking part in threads all over the internet – are all people who wanted to buy the game. Some did. Some did, and then downloaded the pirate version. Others just pirated the game. Some – like me – abstained entirely. But everyone who complained was someone who was concerned about how the DRM was going to affect them as a paying customer.
I also want to note this from the Forbes article:
We haven’t changed our DRM, except for all the ways in which the new one is different.
BioShock trotted out this excuse as well, “This DRM is just a tiny bit worse than earlier ones.” Which is piss-poor reasoning, since it’s clear that the DRM is useless for the purposes of combating piracy. Keeping it useless but making it harder to use seems to be a plan with no upside. Certainly you must expect customers to draw the line somewhere, which is what’s been happening.
And in any case, this isn’t just a “little” different, since the new system changes the game from a purchase to a rental.
But iTunes has a revoke tool, and Spore doesn’t. You can move your tunes around, but Spore simply gets “used up.” And lots of people avoid iTunes because of the DRM anyway. I’m one of them. (Also note that Amazon now sells DRM-free MP3 files.)
- They should not have access to this information.
- They’re wrong. How long have they been collecting this data? A year? Two? Since the release of Spore a couple of weeks ago? I’m not actually privy to how long they’ve been harvesting data from their customers. In any case, it hasn’t been very long. Maybe long enough for one computer upgrade. But if the user is playing the game, this number goes up over time as they upgrade, until they run out of installs. Which is why people are calling this a “rental”. When you get a new computer / graphics card, it’s very natural to want to see how your old games look on it.
- Even if the 25% figure was correct and was relevant, claiming that you only screw 25% of your customers isn’t really an impressive claim.
I’ll say it again: This is an awful thing to have happen to such a promising release.
DM of the Rings
Both a celebration and an evisceration of tabletop roleplaying games, by twisting the Lord of the Rings films into a D&D game.
The Best of 2011
My picks for what was important, awesome, or worth talking about in 2011.
Trashing the Heap
What does it mean when a program crashes, and why does it happen?
Resident Evil 4
Who is this imbecile and why is he wandering around Europe unsupervised?
id Software Coding Style
When the source code for Doom 3 was released, we got a look at some of the style conventions used by the developers. Here I analyze this style and explain what it all means.