EA gets more class action suits. Will they ever realize that SecuROM isn’t the answer?

I noticed today on GamePolitics that two more class action suits had been brought up against EA and their use of SecuROM software.  You can read the PDFs here and here.  This time the suits concern the installation of SecuROM when an EA product was installed.  Yeah, that’s nothing new – except these were demo versions of the game. DEMOS. Well, to be fair, one demo and one free version of some software.

That’s right, in the tyranical pursuit of knocking out game pirates everywhere, EA has decided it’s in everyone’s best interest to install third party, anti-piracy software on their demos.  And not just any third party software but everyone’s favorite – SecuROM.

The two demo packages in question are the free version of Spore: Creature Creator and the demo version of The Sims: Bon Voyage.  In the first case the plantiff notes that EA makes no mention of the installatio of SecuROM in their EULA or anywhwere else for that matter and that SecuROM can’t really be uninstalled completely.

In the second case, the user experienced immediate problems with other legitimate software on her computer.  Mainly the little used and esoteric ability to access her iPod and other USB storage devices.

EA must be putting a lot of faith into SecuROM’s CCCC – their Copy Control Competence Center (I couldn’t really make this stuff up if I tried) where “a team of experienced engineers is continuously working on new ways to keep you ahead of software piracy.”  Go them!  They’ve managed to stall hackers for almost a week PRIOR to the release of some software titles (ahem: Spore) from cracking their products and being able to play the game for free.

If EA is looking for a better solution than spending lots of money hiring SecuROM to fail prior to launch, they can try the simple authentication/verification scheme.   Each title ships with a key code.  When the user installs their product, the game calls EA once, verifies that it’s a single install that hasn’t been used before and then allows the users to unlock updates, patches, etc.  Without a code anyone could still install the game but they won’t have access to the goodies.  Improvements, perks, extras, what have you.

Of course, that would force them to concentratre more on developing a good, enjoyable and original game.  Meaning that if they lost money on a title, they couldn’t simply blame piracy, shake their heads and effect a sad, told-you-so look on their collective corporate faces.  A good title will make them cash.  A poorly executed title will garnish them nothing but scorn although being EA they’ll still probably show a small profit on it.  Lots of people buy EA titles based on franchises.

I know this is something of a soap box for me but it really, really annoys me when a company feels they have the right to install intrusive software on my computer.  Enough is enough.  I hope these lawsuits make it to court and I hope EA loses badly.  I’d hate to see some developers hurt over this but I’d love to see them pick a different distributor or publisher.  Hell, go Steam or Impulse and pull together for physical box publishing. Save a bundle AND avoid the ire of PC gamers.

[tags]ea, drm, securom, dorks, soapbox[/tags]

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