Friday, January 30, 2009

Gears of War DRM Screwup Makes PC Version Unplayable

Via -

Gamers who tried to play Gears of War on the PC Thursday ran into a slight snag: it seems that the digital certificate that allows the game to run expired on January 28, 2009. Basically that means if you keep your PC's clock up to date, you can no longer play the game. The official Epic forum is ablaze with complaints about this issue, as the still-kicking community becomes enraged.

"I had this problem this evening, I had to change the date and time (from PM to AM) and I am able to get in just fine," one frustrated gamer posted. "I also changed it back to the current date and time and it didn't work. Change it back to yesterday AM and it works fine... EPIC games won't be on my list anytime soon...."

Unfortunately, DRM can sometimes feel like a rug that can be yanked out from under our feet at any moment.

Epic Games is aware of the issue, but don't expect much hard news about what to do about the inability to play the game. "We have been notified of the issue and are working with Microsoft to get it resolved," a super moderator posted on the forum. "Sorry for any problems related to this. I'll post more once we have a resolution." (Microsoft is the publisher, and GoW is a Games for Windows release.)

Until then? You can either fiddle with your computer's clock or not play. Neither choice is much fun.

Did Epic assume no one would be playing the title once 2009 came around? It's hard to understand why there would be an end-date hard-coded into the title's DRM, especially one that came less than three years after the game was released. Many PC gamers are leery of any kind of DRM that must dial into a central server to authenticate, wondering what happens if those servers are shut down. Now we know—in this case, the game shipped with DRM that was essentially counting down until the game would cease to work.

While it's not rare for games to ship with bugs every now and again, it's pretty shocking when one ships with an issue that causes the title to stop working for everyone who paid. Those who pirated the game, as usual, continue to play with no issues.



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