Gamasutra: The Art & Business of Making Gamesspacer
arrowPress Releases
September 1, 2014
PR Newswire
View All





If you enjoy reading this site, you might also want to check out these UBM Tech sites:


EA's  Spore  Breaks Piracy Record
EA's Spore Breaks Piracy Record Exclusive
December 8, 2008 | By David Jenkins

December 8, 2008 | By David Jenkins
Comments
    22 comments
More: Exclusive



EA’s Spore has apparently become the most pirated PC title of 2008. TorrentFreak, a weblog dedicated to aggregating news for the BitTorrent P2P protocol, reports the number of estimated downloads have broken all previous records for an individual game.

The report suggests that more than half a million illegal copies of Spore were downloaded within 10 days of the game’s official release. According to the site’s latest estimates, a record 1.7 million file-sharing downloads have now taken place since early September.

Although largely a critical and commercial success, Spore has courted controversy over its DRM policy and limited number of allowable installs.

Some observers, including TorrentFreak, claim that rather than limiting piracy, the DRM features have actually driven more potential users to pirating the game, in order to avoid the limitations imposed by EA.

According to TorrentFreak, the second most pirated game of the year is The Sims 2, from the same EA studio. Although first released in September 2004, the game reportedly saw 1,150,000 illegal downloads during the year.

The third most pirated title was Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed at 1,070,000. The PC version was reportedly available six weeks before the game’s official launch, and Ubisoft subsequently filed a $10 million lawsuit with disc manufacturer Optical Experts Manufacturing (OEM).

Number four in TorrentFreak’s list is Crysis, with 940,000 illegal downloads. Earlier in the year Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli, put the ratio of legal to illegal copies of key PC titles as high as 1 to 20.


Related Jobs

InnoGames GmbH
InnoGames GmbH — Hamburg, Germany
[09.01.14]

Software Developer JavaScript (m/f)
InnoGames GmbH
InnoGames GmbH — Hamburg, Germany
[09.01.14]

Backend Developer Marketing / CRM (m/f)
InnoGames GmbH
InnoGames GmbH — Hamburg, Germany
[09.01.14]

Software Developer Flash (m/f)
InnoGames GmbH
InnoGames GmbH — Hamburg, Germany
[09.01.14]

Mobile Developer iOS (m/f)










Comments


Frank Smith
profile image
Its the cost of doing business these days.

Jake Romigh
profile image
I looked forward to Spore for two years, but due to their DRM, I have not yet played the game as a silent protest. I truly hope that Spore sends a message to more developers: Piracy is a problem that must be solved but you should never treat the consumer as a criminal. That being said, I think a lot of developers, the ones that didn't know this from the get go, are realizing this idea.

Andrew Heywood
profile image
Hahahahaha - delicious :)

James Frizell
profile image
Though I understand why they would try to protect their game so viciously, it has ultimately backfired. They can go on about how they only wish to protect themselves in what they think is a world brimming with evil pirates, but you can't automatically assume that the average consumer is a criminal that needs to be forced into anything as part of some DRM.



As they have learned, people don't HAVE to buy their product to enjoy it. I remember back when piracy for console games was bad, and suddenly a few months into that games that were popular became $20 "classics" in order to make it easy for people who want to buy good games to choose buying it over pirating it.

Stephen Panagiotis
profile image
I'm all for protecting your IP and property and getting the money from the sales. But the DRM was the wrong way to go about it.



No matter what copy/theft protection these people make, it'll be cracked on day 1 if not day 2. Make it easier and friendlier to purchase and play games and pirating will decrease.



Except from those who just want everything in life free, which as James stated above, is NOT the average consumer.

Jeff McArthur
profile image
Jake Romigh you should pick up a copy of World of Goo if you don't have one already, a very fun game with no DRM, great way to support an upstart that belives DRM is bad! - Jeff

John Palamarchuk
profile image
Good.



No one wants to rent Spore for a full retail price (aka limited installs), EA deserves it and maybe next time they'll learn.



First Sims 2 telling me I can't run programs it doesn't like when I play the game due to its super crazy anti-piracy security, than this. Where's the article how EA is screwing over gamers? I've yet to see that one...

Sean Parton
profile image
@Jake: The message that Spore is sending to developers is "EA can screw you and still make record profits, suckers". Despite all this "omg pirated" crap, the game still sells ridiculously well. In addition to Spore being remembered as the most pirated game of 2008, it will also be remembered as one of the most profitable games of 2008 and future years (considering how it's following the Sims idea of numerous expansions).

Rocket Man
profile image
Which goes to show how stupid DRM is.



A pity EA will never learn.

JJ Lehmann
profile image
How ironic.

Matt Weaver
profile image
Ah if P2P and torrents are hitting record numbers for spore, imagine Usenet. Hahah. But like someone else said, that's business. Spend money, Lose tons of it, make tons of it... endless beautiful twisted spiral of "what goes around, comes around".

Sean Parton
profile image
@Matt: "What goes around, comes around", eh? You think EA's gonna ask for a bailout?



@Gamasutra: Are there absolutely no checks on people that sign up to this site to see if their actual people? This is the second time I've seen this "Rocket Man" troll since the anon posting was removed.

Sean Parton
profile image
Hm, a note for my reply to Matt above: I tried to use sarcasm "tags", but they seem to have just been removed. Please don't take that reply seriously; it's a joke.

Jake Romigh
profile image
@ Sean: I think that both of these facts will be remembered: an extremely popular game that sold really well but still had a strong community response to it.



@Jeff: I support 2D Boy entirely, though I was sad to hear they had a significant problem with piracy, no matter what the percentage was. That's a discussion for another article.

Roberto Alfonso
profile image
Gamasutra is an industrial site, different from consumer sites like 1Up and IGN (even though certain news are bound to appear in both sites). So, it is expected that discussion here are somewhat more polite and neutral than in those sites. Trolls definitively stand out, and while other sites would try to ban them, we should just don't mind them. A "lol, wut?" comment really stands out when you are checking sites like this one.

henry bracey
profile image
hopefully this will go some way towards teaching EA a lesson, they've become far too arrogant now they are so big.

Patrick Merritt
profile image
with consoles popularity, spore seems to be the game making the most ripples in the pc world(even though its also on consoles). Being the mopst popular pc games leads to being the most pirated.

Vern Bittner
profile image
The only message this sends is that it is no longer worth the hassle to develop AAA single player products on the PC. When a company tries to secure their IP and fight ever advancing methods of piracy they get lambasted by an internet mob which materially impacts sales.



As long as piracy of this level is present and the PC community reacts so violently to companies' desire to protect their property, the only AAA titles that will be seen on the PC will be MMO's and ports.

Christopher Plummer
profile image
This is just following the principle of ESCALATION.



If you call yourself the baddest Sheriff then you are going to attract the toughest criminals. When EA chose to make Spore the poster-boy for DRM they made themselves a bullseye for every hacker that wanted to make a name for themselves. And even though most people aren't criminals, most people will take a free turkey out the back of a truck from a known one with no questions asked - if you know what I mean. Put those two together and you 're losing a lot of something, maybe everything.

Ryan Wiancko
profile image
The PC market is still a very viable market to create games for but publishers and developers alike need to throw out the old business model, it isn't working and need to adopt a new one. Look no further than Guild Wars for your first example or anything Google does for inspiration. It's funny just like the movie or music industry we cling desperately to old broken paradigms and then cry and complain about what has broken them instead of adapting and changing.

Brian Pleshek
profile image
What's probably going to happen is that more and more companies are going to be delivering games to consoles and the PC market will shrink. I have heard of some games companies who have consciously decided to release on consoles first and PC later so as to not ruin their console sales by PC pirated copies. While is it possible to pirate console games, the average consumer doesn't know how as they would on the PC side.



I'd imagine if Spore was released on the 2 next gen consoles and the Wii if it can handle it(Wii in my opinion is a last gen console--not a troll and i'm not looking for a flame war--just a personal observation) before the PC they may not have seen a 1.7M unit loss to piracy. Even a delay of a few weeks on the PC could easily have changed the profitability of this product. Personally, i like the model that the guys at Stardock use for licensing. It's very convenient and consumer friendly.



One of my all time favorite games had one of the worst consumer unfriendly copy protection schemes that I have encountered. Anyone remember Masters of Orion 2? You had a map that came in the book that you had to follow the coordinates given by the game at startup and type in the name of the star. It was a real PITA. And eventually someone posted all the coordinates on the internet and there was a crack for it(thank god). Perhaps pirates are going to be the death of the PC gaming market. I have noticed a sharp decline in the number of titles available over the last 10 years. At least by the look of the shelf space available in stores.



Brian

Stephen VanWambeck
profile image
I haven't seen any hard numbers for the quantity of titles released on the PC in a year. Subjectively it seems like fewer titles are getting made, but then again I only look for titles I like (in the vein of Age of Wonders). I haven't looked for PC titles in stores in quite a while. Why bother when I can order them off Amazon, or even just use Steam for digitial delivery?



I personally think digital delivery is where the PC market will go. While Steam does have DRM it's not obtrusive. The same can be said for other digital delivery services such as those found on Big Fish Games and Gamehouse. Those companies have made it easy to download, play and pay for the games without the annoying hassles of DRM.


none
 
Comment: