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Spore Players Revolt Over DRM Install Limit

Electronic Arts says it's unfazed by Amazon.com's users, claiming the protection is necessary to prevent people from copying its game and distributing it online.

Since the highly anticipated PC game Spore was released earlier this week, there has been a sustained campaign among Amazon.com's users to disparage the game for its inclusion of copy protection technology, also known as DRM.

But Electronic Arts (EA) defends DRM and claims that it is necessary to prevent people from copying its game and distributing it online.

As of Wednesday afternoon, out of 2,086 customer reviews posted on Amazon's Web site since the title launched, 1,918 have rated the game with only one star out of a possible five. The reason, the game's reviewers say, is the digital rights management software that gets installed with the game.

Comments like this are typical: "My husband and I have been excitedly anticipating the release of Spore for years, watching early game demos and reading any news about the game that we could get our hands on. We were initially thrilled to learn that Spore would finally be released this September '08. But after learning about the awful DRM that comes with the game, in particular the 3 install limit, we have decided NOT to purchase Spore."

Spore, nonetheless, is the second-most-popular PC game title on Amazon at the moment in terms of sales.

Other top-selling PC game titles on Amazon have been reviewed dozens or, at best, a few hundred times, though with far more favorable ratings.

"There has been a lot of discussion about the DRM in Spore, and the team at EA and Maxis wanted to clarify how the system works, and why it's in place," an EA spokesperson said in an e-mailed statement. "Our system works just like online music services that limit the number of machines you can play a song on. This system is an effort to control piracy. You can install the game on three computers -- at your office, at home, or for your family. What you can't do is make and distribute a thousand copies online. If you feel like your situation presents special circumstances, contact our customer service and we'll talk through it with you."

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