EA spent $50 million and six years on the latest creation by Will Wright, founder of Maxis (later bought by EA) and creator of the original Sims series. The latter series has sold more than 100 million games.
Spore heavily depends on user-generated content (some would call this user innovation, others might call it open innovation) to create value. Players create their own species and then share them via Sporepedia, the ultimate catalog for virtual species. The user-generated characters will presumably fuel word-of-mouth marketing (more often called “viral” marketing).
The TV ad (appropriately enough on the Sci-Fi channel) and the product concept seem compelling, although I’m outside the target demographic for the game.