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.
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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