Copyright crusaders are climbing over one another to denounce Will Wright's Spore from video game publisher Electronic Arts. Even the normally stable ZDNet warns Spore's three-install limit could kill PC gaming. Kill it! Meanwhile, the scientific-methody gang at Ars Technica decided to test the system. They hit plenty of annoyances — at one point Spore's DRM servers were down — but a call to customer service got them more than they expected:
We decided to tell him that we had rented the game. He assured us he could resolve the situation and did—issuing me another CD key for the game. We wanted to make it clear we understood the DRM restrictions and asked about the install limitations and he informed me that "you could install the game all day long on the same machine—it was limited to installations on three separate machines." The only catch: the game had to be reinstalled after the new key was issued. While the issue of the install limit is a touchy one, it doesn't look like a normal install will do much to use up your limit, and in fact we surpassed the install limit by a few times before running into an issue. Even after being told that we were "renting" the game, EA was happy to give us a new key to run the game. In this case, customer service wins, and we left wondering if the DRM controversy might be more philosophical in nature than rooted in any real-world inconveniences.