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EA restores access to Darkspore following DRM scare


First, the good news. Maxis / EA have apparently fixed an issue with Darkspore that was preventing players from connecting to the game. This is a huge relief because, since early May, some Darkspore owners have been unable to connect to the game’s servers. The bad news, of course, is that it’s July 1st, and for two months affected users apparently received no support or information about when a fix would arrive.

So should we be more confident in EA because they fixed the problem and restored their players’ access to the game? Or should be we be more concerned because, if your game experiences a server error, you’re completely at the mercy of EA’s willingness to fix it?

That’s the crux of the issue: Darkspore players were unable to play their game, apparently due to an issue with EA’s servers for the game (error code 3). This started in mid-June, and apparently affected everyone playing Darkspore. Then, according to that same forum thread and EA’s own statement today.

It seems clear that, at the very least, fixing Darkspore was not a high-priority item for EA. That’s understandable: even the affected users were joking that the game was pretty much dead even before the server error planted a stake in the heart of the community.

But that’s the issue with DRM that depends on EA’s servers working smoothly: as games get older and their audience fades, there’s less and less incentive to keep maintaining those servers and ensuring the remaining players can continue to access their game, beyond the fact that it’s the right thing to do. EA’s approach to DRM and authentication makes it so that it’s hard to buy their games with complete confidence that you’ll be able to play them in years to come. Especially if you buy a game that EA would rather just forget.

Either way, they do appear to have gotten around to restoring service to Darkspore players, so credit where it is due. Hopefully in the future fixes and updates arrive a little more quickly.

(Thanks, Eurogamer)