DRM Kills the Party

The creator of the Sims family of games has created a new game named Spore. You would think this game would be well received. The Sims have sold over 100 million copies so far. However there has been a backlash from users regarding the digital right management (DRM) schema used to prevent users from making copies of the game. The DRM only allows you to install the game 3 times. After that it will not work. This has led to a user revolt at Amazon. The users have given the game a 1 out of 5 rating for the game, complaining mostly about this restrictive DRM policy.

The creator of Sims and Spore is Will Wright. The Spore title was released to the public earlier this month. There are versions for the PC, Mac, iPhone, and Nintendo DS. Spore is an open ended game where players evolve. It has a creature creator module. You can upload your creations online the Sporepedia for sharing with others. However Spore is a single player game for now. Future versions may incorporate multi player capabilities.

Spore may have received some bad press due to the DRM issue. However from the business perspective, what was the result? Did this prevent a lot of users from buying the game? Maybe it really prevented a lot of piracy. This is a tough call. Part of the current issue is more of a public relations one. You do not want to release something huge like the Sims but have everybody stealing copies through piracy. It is a tough line to walk.

So far I have only produced freeware. I encourage people to pass copies on to other people. When I get to the point where I am selling software, I will want to have a revenue protection strategy in place. I don’t want to piss of legitimate users. However I would not want to make it easy for the thieves to run my game.