Just in case you needed a reminder that always online requirements are a bad thing: EA’s Darkspore was removed from Steam this past weekend due to a game breaking, server side bug that rendered the game unplayable.
Darkspore requires players to be online at all times while playing, and player data is saved server side rather than on the user’s PC. Or it’s supposed to, anyway: recently, Darkspore have been experiencing “Error 3,” which prevents any new data from being saved onto the game’s servers.
EA’s response to this problem is strangely callous, even by EA standards: basically, EA doesn’t have a fix for the bug available, and they have no plans to ever patch the game. “Darkspore is no longer developed,” an EA community manager wrote on the game’s official forums. “”It is for almost all intents and purposes an abandoned title. If you cannot play the game & have flicked through technical issues for any fixes, then contact EA Customer Support; especially if it regards CD-Keys or refunds.”
Because of these issues, Darkspore has been pulled from Steam. It is however, still available for purchase on EA’s Origin service.
Darkspore was released in 2011 and was developed by SimCity developer Maxis. The game is a Diablo style action-RPG spin-off of Will Wright’s ambitious Spore, and features that same “creature creator” tools as the original game.
At this point, I have to wonder if anybody really cared about Darkspore anymore, but this story is still a good cautionary tale of the potential pitfalls of having an always online requirement. It’s hard to think of a game that uses always on DRM that hasn’t run into some sort of server-side problem (SimCity, Diablo 3, etc,) so it’s frankly ridiculous that publishers continue to release PC games that continue to use this form of restrictive, invasive DRM. Console gamers rallied together to force Microsoft to back down from their DRM policies on the Xbox, and maybe its about time that PC gamers made a similarly organized effort to let PC publishers know that they won’t put up with this BS either.