Electronic Arts (EA) is the leading developer and publisher of some of the most popular games. EA has an impressive track record of releasing hit after hit with 27 titles that have sold over 1 million units. They company has a history of great franchises like the Madden NFL series, The Sims, and Need for Speed. Their streak may now be slowing down. It seems the giant has hit a snag with the recent release of its highly anticipated Spore game. Complaints are rolling in from consumers and Spore fans are beyond disappointed.
For those that don't know, Spore is a game that tracks a world of creatures and the evolution of these creatures. The amount of hype that Spore has amassed is astounding. With a great story line and a ton of publicity, expectations are riding high. EA expects to sell over 2 million copies of Spore before the end of the year. To give users a taste of where things were headed, EA released SporeCreator. This could be viewed as a prequel for Spore. It allowed those who were impatiently waiting for Spore's debut to tinker with one of the game's main focuses: creating creatures. SporeCreator turned out to be a huge hit. Creator Will Wright only expected to get about 100,000 creations or so, yet over 2 million creatures have been created to-date. With such a successful beginning EA was seemed to have a guaranteed hit on their hands.
Bad Ratings, Worse Issues
Will Wright hoped that Spore would "change the way people look at games forever and change hopefully the perception people have of their own creativity." Yet this doesn't seem to be happening if recent reviews are any indication. Currently on Amazon, Spore has a rating of one and a half stars based on the reviews of over 500 people. Taking a closer look at these reviews explains that the biggest problem with Spore is that it isn't evolutionary in any way.
From a technical standpoint, a lot of fans have issues with EA's DRM system in Spore. The system requires users to activate the game over the internet with a limit of 3 activations. Any more than that and you'll have to call EA for help. The problem with this method is that EA requires proof of purchase of the Spore game in order to give you another activation code. This doesn't seem very evolutionary to us in any way. Microsoft anyone?
As for playing the game, we feel we hit the nail on the head when we stated that Spore is a "hugely ambitious follow up to The Sims game series." It was ambitious and a great try. However, we didn't find anything very appealing about the gameplay. Sure we can watch our creatures grow, but you can also do that with The Sims but with people instead of creatures. The graphics and visual effects may have been the closest EA came to "evolutionary" with Spore. Overall, the game itself suffers from being too simple Sims like. Spore is a serious lackluster.
What Needs to Change
There's a lot about Spore that needs to change. First off, DRM has to go. That's so old school EA. We understand you want your product to sell and not be pirated. However when issues such as the one in Europe pop-up, you need to rethink your strategy. Scrap the DRM.
Lastly, the game-play needs to change. Everything was going great with Spore creature creation tools. However interacting within the game is a drab. There isn't a challenge in Spore and it's far from evolutionary. Don't sand-box us. Give us something to work for. In the end, we feel Spore appeals to those who liked the Sims. It's too easy, too repetitive, and not complex enough for the rest of the world.