EA loosens PC-game DRM

Customers can now "deauthorize" computers to get around SecuROM's five-machine limit on Spore, Mirror's Edge, and 17 other recent games.

After the digital rights management on last year's Spore sparked a popular uproar and a legal dispute, Electronic Arts has been backing off its aggressive--and apparently ineffective--DRM stance.

Spore is just one of 19 EA games that use SecuROM.

First the publisher relaxed the game's SecuROM security to allow users to install it on five different computers instead of three. Now the publisher is letting customers "de-authorize" PCs so they don't count against the limit, which remains in effect.

The move isn't just limited to Spore. EA has used SecuROM on 19 of its PC games released since May of 2008, and new de-authorization tools available from the publisher allow customers to manage the systems approved by the DRM software on a game-by-game basis. A full list of the relevant games is included on the Web site.

DRM de-authorization isn't EA's only step away from especially restrictive DRM. Last week, EA Play head Rod Humble announced that The Sims 3 would use the age-old PC DRM scheme of having a serial code included in the retail box, and no online authentication would be needed.

"We feel like this is a good, time-proven solution that makes it easy for you to play the game without DRM methods that feel overly invasive or leave you concerned about authorization server access in the distant future," Humble said.

The Sims 3 is set for release on the PC and Mac on June 2.

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Discussion

84 comments
mattxavier
mattxavier

DRM is absolutely pointless, a good game will always sell, Mass Effect did.

nirmalsuki
nirmalsuki

One word... Software Piracy... Ok, two words, but it's faaantastic!!!

Carpe_Noctum
Carpe_Noctum

They just sold 3 copies. There are 3 girls I have bought both The Sims and The Sims 2 for and I wasn't going to get them The Sims 3 because of that crazy DRM but now I will. Good move on EA's part.

PnoizeMD
PnoizeMD

cool, i can finally buy mass effect

iceeman
iceeman

back in the day, ea used to have a phone number u can call to do business with...companies should remember the customer comes first. getting too large and ignoring customer requests can come back to haunt you.

BabycakesOMGLOL
BabycakesOMGLOL

ya, i doubt by the this time next year there will even be a DRM in effect.

Writin_Reg
Writin_Reg

How about EA REMOVING SECUROM from the Sims 2 games period, so those of us who have all expansion and stuff packs can actually play all our legally purchased software. The revoke tool does nothing for Sims 2 players as we got the Same Securom as Spore but without any limits and with or without limit Securom makes the games destructive to our pc components. Becomes a moot point to show good will to customers who cannot buy EA's products at all when we can't use them on our pcs. Even if the games came free, I have no use for them. EA needs to REVOKE SECUROM period.

nappan
nappan

*glances at article* ... meanwhile, back in the real world where everyone has used other means to disable or bypass DRM...

bad_furby
bad_furby

exactly but being forced to connect to the internet, just so u can play the darn game to begin with is just south or ridiculous

GpVon
GpVon

piracy will exist no matter what they do. remember there is always some one out there smarter then you.( not saying you as in you Max,but in general)

MaxCadillac
MaxCadillac

What's the solution for piracy? Live with it? BAH!

Sins-of-Mosin
Sins-of-Mosin

snake289 - Being flagshipped is a good reason.

BloodMist
BloodMist

The BF games haven't been good since 1942.Wake up people.

Gezquester
Gezquester

I still cant even believe they did this! I was fuming when I found out that I already had this secuROM crap from Hellgate: London, I was thinking phew, I escaped its grasp. I really hate EA because of this but hey, Battlefield: Bad Company is just too good! Its really sly of them though, its like buying a game from a retailer and then them turning around and saying - Oh yeah now we have to punch you in the gut thee times, sorry, its part of the DRM. We would have told you before but then you wouldnt have bought the game would you? - It sucks!

HOMIE_G64
HOMIE_G64

I miss the old CD-keys. Nothing beats losing yours and scouring your registries looking for it. This is a great step for EA.

Darthnaevus
Darthnaevus

finally a good DRM news concerning EA!

doktron
doktron

This is relatively good news for PC gaming,and definitely a step in the right direction,but it still dosent go far enough.EA exec Rod Humble states that "using the age old PC DRM scheme of using a serial code printed on the retail box(or game manuel,or wherever) with no online activation... is a good, time PROVEN method that makes it easy to play the game, without overly invasive DRM schemes that leaves one concerned about future authorization server access or authentication".So why cant they use serial code activation for all PC games,which I have never complained about since I believe it is a decent and fair method of authenticating any PC game. The PC is by far the superior gaming platform,and it would be sad to see it destroyed by crappy DRM schemes that dont even prevent what they are intended for (game piracy).There is always a way to fix things,but shooting yourself in the foot isnt one of them!

Destroy3r3
Destroy3r3

Jesus, I really can't understand why companies find so stupid ways to protect their games! After all, pirates do whatever they want, simply because they are always one step ahead of the companies and one way or another they break the protection. And the ones who face the problems are the gamers who buy a legal copy of the product, as they have to spent quite some time to correctly install and register the game, not to mention the NECESSARY Internet connection. In the previews years, you could buy a game, go to your home and play it in nearly 15 minutes. Now you need at least one and half an hour to play a game. I bought GTA IV and waited 2 hours until it was installed and correctly set up with all this DRM sh*t, and my friend who bought an illegal copy managed to play it in 30 minutes... Ok, piracy is not the solution, but neither is a stupid protection which will be bypassed 3 days after the game's release...

Deepfreeze32
Deepfreeze32

Well, this is a step in the right direction. *Is glad that HAWX has no real DRM to speak of*

HappyBB
HappyBB

I wonder how many people actually boycott EA games due to the DRM issue? Some people here said that they resisted to buy EA games due to DRM. How many people actually put this in action? If the number is great, the I am really surprised that for the first time, at least in my memory, consumers actually can stand up against evil and greedy companies and win!

Pilch_R_eD
Pilch_R_eD

So many things as a gamer, and especially a PC gamer, have been so frustrating lately. So.....Thank you for this decision. Install limits really are inexcusable. But that fact that your not only making sure that your game's from now on don't have them, but your also allowing us to fix up our game's from the past. Very reassuring. I can finally look at my copy of Mass Effect and not freak out. Yay for Sanity. This is the first shocking thing from EA I can say I'm very happy about. I think I speak for all PC gamers when I say "wOOt!" ^^

snake289
snake289

Thank god you can take all the DRM stuff off now theres no excuse for pirates saying that they wasn't getting the games due to DRM anymore.

JPM2004
JPM2004

This is great news! I can actually buy The Sims 3 - it was a game I really want but refused to buy if it used SecuROM - glad to see EA are being a bit more sensible about things now - although ultimately, the best thing would be for SecuROM to be removed from the games already using it. I think EA probably realised that SecuROM only CAUSED pircay of their titles, as opposed to preventing it, and they couldn't afford to lose sales on The Sims 3, one of their biggest franchises. In a way, I always figured that this would happen, even if it is only for this game. Still good news though! :D

DistortedGecko
DistortedGecko

That DRM stuff was such crap. It only hurt the honest customer. I'm glad EA is backing off.

Spybreak
Spybreak

Sweet, this and the galactic expansion might persuade me to re-install Spore again!

Dilbert3k
Dilbert3k

Good god, I'm going to be able to buy the Sims 3. I had resigned myself to pirating it. Now they are allowing me to buy it. I had to check to make sure this wasn't a April 1st joke. Thank you for treating us like customers EA.

theory8sf
theory8sf

Yey! Now I could finally buy Spore and Need For Speed Undercover! I always wanted to play them but I was concerned about the restrictive DRM.

rb2610
rb2610

"Dongle's are still the way to go. Include a USB dongle, all the expensive apps do it and guess what, they can cry all they want that they cant back up their data. If you arent responsible enough to keep your USB Dongle, maybe you shouldn't be playing games." I'm not that familiar with this idea having not bought any 'very expensive software' but if you had a large game collection that you used regularly wouldn't that be a lot of dongles to carry around with you?

LinksCarnage
LinksCarnage

Well it was either this or have a few million dollar losses. Consumers don't put up with this DRM sh*t.

mattcake
mattcake

The "what happens if my disc breaks" is possibly the dumbest excuse I ever heard. I've got CDs 15yrs old, never been kept in a box, scratched to hell, that still load perfectly. I've purposely *tried* to break a dvd and bent it over 180 degrees in my hand and it didn't break. Frankly if you manage to "break" a cd/dvd then you're an idiot and you deserve to have to buy the game again. Kudos to EA for letting up on the DRM - looks like they have a new PR department recently huh? :)

SilentElite
SilentElite

Death to SecuROM the illegal EA software.

Jedilink109
Jedilink109

Yeah the Serial number code isn't so bad but sometimes the disc might break or something and then you have to buy another copy if you wanna install it again. I don't EVER EVER EVER want people to make copy after copy of these games or anything but dude, when I'm restricted from using my own stuff I just bought, it's a major hassle.

kegmiester
kegmiester

Finally something to get my keys back from DRM.

parrot_of_adun
parrot_of_adun

I thought this was an april fools joke when I saw it yesterday. Really didn't expect this from EA...

makemeweak
makemeweak

Now it mirrors the archaic iTunes DRM that Apple only recently abandoned (although not retroactively). I guess it's a step in the right direction. At least it's manageable.

pidow
pidow

Restrictions should never be imposed when it's your money..if I want to play a game at my uncle's or were -ever, I should have that right to insert the game I PAID for on anybodies computer, etc.

DeadManRollin
DeadManRollin

That's a great move by EA. I will definitely buy Sims 3 now.

Autolycus
Autolycus

Dongle's are still the way to go. Include a USB dongle, all the expensive apps do it and guess what, they can cry all they want that they cant back up their data. If you arent responsible enough to keep your USB Dongle, maybe you shouldn't be playing games.

rikhan_z
rikhan_z

Should of thought of that before

cockneyscouse
cockneyscouse

People often (with good right) crticise EA. But it has to be said on a few occasions they seemed to listen, should get applauded when they do.

RetroBros
RetroBros

I remember this being released for SPORE quite a while a go. So no worries people, it's for real.

TehEliteElite
TehEliteElite

If this is an April Fool's joke, I'm going to nuke them from orbit.

trollkind
trollkind

Serial Codes and even online activation are fine with me, installing a root kit without acknowledging me and that I can't get rid of and messes with my PC (I've had some strange behaviour on my XP64 since I installed a Securom infested title), that should be legally prosecuted. I have a job and can buy whatever game catches my fancy but this lately nonsense keeps me from buying any new games on the PC platform. If it was a move to get people to buy more console games, it worked for me. Hrmph.

ow8
ow8

Go bankrupt EA. Please go bankrupt.

orcmonkey3000
orcmonkey3000

I personally like the idea of going back to the old serial number system. If they want to prevent pirating of their software, which is totally understandable, why don't they go after those who pirate it rather than punishing everyone else with pointless, stupid DRMs? There are other ways to solve the problem that digital rights management. Besides, once a person buys a copy of a piece of software, they can LEGALLY do with it whatever they want to, short of distributing copies of it. This is true because, although the company still owns the "intellectual" rights to the software (i.e., the idea, the code that makes up the program, etc), the consumer owns the actual copy of the software that he purchased. If he copied and distributed that software to his friends, or reverse-engineered the software to use the code in his own programs, he would be infringing the company's intellectual rights to the program; anything else, however, is entirely legal. If the user wants to make backup copies of the software for his own personal use, that's legal. If the user wants to install the software on 18,726 different computers that he owns, that's legal too. It is just as bad for the company to infringe upon the user's right to ownership of that copy of their software, as it is for the user to infringe upon the company's intellectual right to the software produced by the company. That's my two cents: down with DRM!

Mr_Versipellis
Mr_Versipellis

Wow, they do have brains after all, it seems! I'm also glad about The Sims 3. If only they'd go back to SafeDisk...

kokonut1971
kokonut1971

So finally, one of the Giant wakes up and finds that drm are not even worth the money they put in to make them work plus legal actions against them might have scared them somewhat...they know that Sims 3 can and could become a big cashcow for them so i guess they don't want to mess it up like the spore fiasco...they wanna rub the crowd the proper way for sims 3...and you can smell it....