Why I have not bought Spore!


I was pretty excited about the Spore Creature maker, although truth be told I only made one creature. So I was pretty keen to get Spore when it did come out, my daughters certainly enjoy Sims so this seemed like something that they would also enjoy.

However on the day of the big release, it was not available for Mac, so that put me off for a day or two. Then the links to get a Mac version were down, and it was pretty opaque what the Mac system specifications were. There were a few good reviews on the US Apple store site, one bad one on the UK Apple Store. The reviews of Amazon were phenominally negative.
Wikipedia shed a little more light on things, and checking out some personal blogs via Technorati a bit more.

All in all an interesting story was unfolding, the professional reviews were overwhelmingly positive, a few caveats, maybe not historic, but certainly momentous. The wisdom of crowds was telling a different story
DRM DRM DRM
limited gameplay in some levels
not a lot to do throughout
certainly no classic
only three installations, and immense problems getting any tech support
bugs when playing
buggy installation
won't run unless on an admin account (apple - big deal for me, all users have separate accounts, we run three computers, and I run the only admin account myself)
still fuzzy what machines would actually run the software

The game has been in development forever, and being hyped up for longer, so it can hardly be a case of rushing it out. The more likely explanation seems to be that the game is a shell, albeit a buggy one, that will allow for further expansion packs. An undersea level that was in promos has not been released, and it looks like EA do acknowledge that expansion packs will come out.

After the slating that Apple and Microsoft have had for releasing buggy software, it looks like the media are giving EA games a free ride here, they have released software that is buggy, and difficult to install, providing dismal tech support, but the traditional media have given them glowing reviews, and fail to pick up on issues like all the negative Amazon reviews disappearing through a technical glitch. It would appear that traditional media, and established web media want the same old rules of hype it high, stack it high, sell it in shedloads, to apply. The people that actually shell out money are trying to subvert this message, there is a degree of hysteria, I am not sure that the DRM is that big a deal, or the Amazon glitch, but I am equally certain that this looks to be a shockingly buggy and problematic piece of software that has not attracted the glowing reviews over gameplay that would encourage me to take a chance with it.

I will just let this one run for a while, as they say, wait till it turns up in the bargain bins, or they manage to iron out the bugs.

Had this been Apple or Microsoft it would have been front page news, poor products are hard to forgive, but the games industry still seems to get away with releasing stuff that is bright and shiny, without getting probed on the substance. I hope that we are entering a new world, where companies need to impress lots of vocal customers, and not just a few privileged media folk. On recent performance the average Joes seem to have been much more astute here, and it is their advice that I will be following.