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Games Entertainment

DRM Shuts Down PC Version of Gears of War 598

carlmenezes writes "It seems that the DRM on the PC version of Gears of War came with a built-in shut-off date; the digital certificate for the game was only good until January 28, 2009. Now, the game fails to work unless you adjust your system's clock. What is Epic's response? 'We're working on it.'"
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DRM Shuts Down PC Version of Gears of War

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  • by GrpA ( 691294 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @03:08AM (#26663233)

    What needs to happen is for everyone with a copy of this to take the disk back as faulty. Most consumer laws support this action.

    My son's version of Oblivion (I think it was Oblivion) failed to install after he upgraded his PC five times and they refused to give him another code...

    So we took it back to EB and demanded a refund (faulty product) which we were entitled to do. If you can't play a game, it's not of merchantable quality.

    Looks like we'll be visiting them once more with a copy of GOW for a full refund :(

    Perhaps if everyone did this, we'd see DRM take on a more practical appearance like a USB dongle - or even the entire game on a USB dongle - and without time limits or requiring web authentication.


  • The fix is what?? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by teslar ( 706653 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @03:34AM (#26663369)

    Now, the game fails to work unless you adjust your system's clock

    Now not only is the game broken due to a broken DRM implementation, but even the logic behind the DRM is broken since it at least this part can be circumvented by adjusting the system clock (!!). What was the point of even bothering with this then?

    Although, actually, wouldn't this now make changing your system time an offence under the DCMA?

    I never thought I'd post those two words together in one sentence, but yeah.... epic fail.

  • by Renraku ( 518261 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @03:34AM (#26663373) Homepage

    My first stop would be back to the store I purchased it from. Software, is a license. Therefore, when that license is revoked for whatever reason, the software no longer works..either by legal system or it actually stops working as in this case. Everyone that wants their money back should get it back.

    Mistakes happen. Even retarded and far-reaching mistakes.

    Lets see if Epic can put its money where its mouth is when it preaches about DRM. I know if I got an instant no-questions-asked refund after this, that would be enough to appease me.

  • by boogerme0 ( 1151469 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @03:36AM (#26663395)
    DRM does it again. Does this mean consumers who've been affected by this can sue? After all, Epic did technically violate an inherent contract in the buying and selling of video games: consumers give money to a company in order to play the video game (permanently). Since the consumers essentially do not have their game anymore, they paid for nothing more than a rental. It's akin to selling your car, then taking it back a few weeks later and pocketing the money you stole, er, made. At least they should be giving a full refund to the affected consumers.
  • Re:Idiotic Design (Score:2, Interesting)

    by KDR_11k ( 778916 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @03:42AM (#26663415)

    And fail when the known valid source is unreachable?

    Considering all the other cases in which the system fails that wouldn't be out of place...

  • by GrpA ( 691294 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @03:43AM (#26663421)

    Laws vary from place to place in the world, but...

    Here in Australia, there's quite a few consumer laws that cover it... "Merchantable Quality" is the main one and a game that has a time-bomb like this in it isn't of merchantable quality...

    So yeah, this will be the third time I've done this.

    To the local EB store's credit, they have always met their obligation to refund when I've demanded it. Saves me making a full complaint to the consumer watchdog.


  • Re:HAHAHAHAHA (Score:2, Interesting)

    by GF678 ( 1453005 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @04:19AM (#26663639)

    Give it up. At this point, complaining about Steam is difficult because even if you have valid points, you're in the minority. Everyone is so wrapped up over the platform that dissenting opinions are met with aggressive response.

    It's provided a lot of good things to the PC gaming industry, but it has its flaws. It's not perfect, and people should think hard about how much control they want it to have over the games they purchase (or rent, depending on your view).

  • Re:HAHAHAHAHA (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dupont54 ( 857462 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @04:32AM (#26663703)
    I totally agree with you.
    Remember when Steam deactivated game licences [consumerist.com] that were previously working fine: people have legitimately bought games from Asia and one day, the great Steam overlord decided that the price was not high enough for "rich" countries. So, instead of negociating with the "faulty" retailers like any civilized corporation, they retroactively started to enforce region-locking to punish their consumers...
    You cannot trust an online activation system. Period. Offline mode is not an answer: once a mysterious bit has changed on your computer, you are force to activate again.
    Oh yeah, and Stardock are more or less in the same bag (except it's only some patches that are protected, not the base game).
  • Re:HAHAHAHAHA (Score:5, Interesting)

    by iNaya ( 1049686 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @05:14AM (#26663933)
    Seeing as you already paid for the games, wouldn't it be within your rights to pay a friend to download a pirated version of the games you already own for you?
  • Re:HAHAHAHAHA (Score:2, Interesting)

    by DavoMan ( 759653 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @07:44AM (#26664591)

    in having all my games ready to be downloaded anywhere, any time. also gamersgate seems to be good in this aspect, while direct2drive is more limited. now the best would have also the savegames stored online, but that has yet to come.

    This just shows that relying on someone else to host your stuff (DRM/licensing) means you have to wait for them to come up with features.

    With no DRM, you could simply put the games on a disc, format, and put the games back on your hard drive.

    Think about it. Your current obstacles for doing this are all software features designed to make it hard.

  • Re:HAHAHAHAHA (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 30, 2009 @08:39AM (#26664895)

    Perhaps because not all of us think copyright infringement is ethical. I don't Pirate games (or anything else for that matter) for this reason.

    I don't buy a game before I have found a no-cd crack for it. Does that violate your morals about copyright infringement? Because it sure as hell violates the DMCA...

  • Re:HAHAHAHAHA (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PMBjornerud ( 947233 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @08:42AM (#26664929)

    Perhaps because not all of us think copyright infringement is ethical. I don't Pirate games (or anything else for that matter) for this reason.

    So... if you paid good money for a game and DRM cut off your access to said game, YOU would be the unethical one for having a pirated version available to play?

    There are many cases where piracy is way more ethical than DRM.

  • Re:HAHAHAHAHA (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @09:11AM (#26665113)

    Indeed. One classic example is that about 6 months ago my normally slightly flakey internet connection decided it was going to die for 2-3 days. I normally play WoW quite a bit, but during that downtime I ended up playing a lot of single player games to pass the time until the ISP got their stuff fixed. I'd have been HIGHLY pissed if any of my single player games decided that they needed net access just to phone home at that time.

  • Re:HAHAHAHAHA (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bit01 ( 644603 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @09:24AM (#26665211)

    It always amazes me that Steam is heralded as the future of PC gaming

    Most are probably astroturfing marketing lowlifes. They lie through their teeth saying how "wonderful" it is.

    There's many vested interests trying to get consumers to accept DRM rather than realizing what a scam it is.


    Anonymous company communication is unethical and can and should be highly illegal. Company legal structures require accountability.

  • by Cowmonaut ( 989226 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @09:41AM (#26665369)

    No one really likes DRM however there is little effort on the Anti-DRM Camp to come up with a solution that fixes the companies problem, of illegal piracy, or sharing a copy with your friends.

    Game companies already had a solution for the "problem" of people sharing a copy they own. Blizzard's "Spwaned Copies" were freaking amazing. Honestly though, how is sharing a copy of a game you own a problem? You lend people books don't you? Or movies? What about movie/video game rental stores like Blockbuster or Hollywood Video? In short, explain how its a problem or there isn't one.

    Also, why do the people that are against DRM get saddled with finding a "solution" to piracy? Every [wikipedia.org] single [gamasutra.com] DRM [wired.com] scheme [overclock3d.net] has been an failure [wikipedia.org] and damaging to the consumer to the point that some people feel morally obliged not to buy the games anymore from those companies. Better still, these DRM schemes do nothing but encourage you to pirate the game since the pirated version doesn't have the DRM!

    DRM is not working. This is very fucking obvious. Until they figure out something else to try, they should go back to only having the CD-KEY (which doesn't stop people from pirating in any way whatsoever, but makes it easier in multiplayer games to ban disruptive players. EA already is under a Class Action lawsuit due to the DRM in Spore before it moved to Steam. How many more game companies are going to have to be attacked legally by their own fans to get them to stop ripping us off?

    Oh and before you bitch I have a link to Steam in with the failures, remember that the Steam DRM does get cracked on occasion. They just patch and ban accounts. Will not stop players from doing it for single player or LAN games (and it takes no real effort) but as a DRM system it still fails at its task. On the plus side at least its largely bearable.

  • by LilGuy ( 150110 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @10:04AM (#26665593)

    Unfortunately more and more games are requiring you to "activate" online before you can even start to play them, even if there is no online content whatsoever.

    This REALLY sucks when you don't have internet at home. I was finally able to save up some good money while living out in the boondocks on a farm, and went to walmart to buy a game to cure my no-internet boredom. When I got there, the only decent looking games I wanted to get had a little note at the bottom of the package stating "* This game requires online activation before use."

    I thought how strange, being as how a couple of them didn't even have a multiplayer mode. I thought, well maybe that's just for some kind of updating scheme or something, but I sure wasn't going to risk $50 to find out. So I ended up buying a USB drive, taking it to a place with high speed public internet, and just torrenting a few cracked games instead.

  • Re:HAHAHAHAHA (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LilGuy ( 150110 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @10:11AM (#26665667)

    The last place I lived was at the cutoff line for the city limits. The property literally began where the city limits ended. The house was approximately 25 feet from that line. There was not one provider who would run a cable or try to set up a wifi connection for us there, while our nearest neighbors all had cable/dsl.

    In fact the man who owned the house had to pony up somewhere around a half thousand dollars to get Qwest to run a friggen phone line, which they wouldn't let us use DSL with.

    The US really is shitty for 'rural' internet access.

  • by gEvil (beta) ( 945888 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @10:40AM (#26665997)
    I'm assuming that whoever made the NoDRM/NoCD crack/patch before has already taken care of this problem. Anybody know?
  • by Hyppy ( 74366 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @10:52AM (#26666165)
    But you could just let your friend drive your car, which would deprive the car company their legally-entitled profit.
  • by AioKits ( 1235070 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @11:04AM (#26666339)
    I will admit, I did download a pirated version of those games. I liked them so much I went out and brought actual box copies of them. They are good games, fun to play. Although every time I get a capital ship to level 10 it lasts all of 5 minutes as the computer loves to just rain down hurt on it.
  • by visible.frylock ( 965768 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @11:32AM (#26666685) Homepage Journal

    No, but it does tell me I need to close Process Explorer while I'm installing it.

    So let me get this straight. I use a program on startup and throughout my session to be able to troubleshoot any stability problems, but I need to turn it off to install your game because I might catch a glimpse of what YOUR software is doing to MY computer?

    That was more than enough for me. I was a happy purchaser of morrowind and oblivion, and wanted to get fallout 3. But after seeing that, I am boycotting bethesda forever.

  • by L4t3r4lu5 ( 1216702 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @11:34AM (#26666709)
    I don't think i'll play those games.

    However, i'll buy them anyway. JUST to prove their point, and show my support.

    It's the same reason why send money to the people who make SpyBot, the Mozilla project, Paint.NET, and the other F/OSS I use.
  • Ahh, yes! The "begging the question" defense of free market theory.

    The theory requires that everyone be rational therefore anything that people do in an economic transaction must be rational.

    So he must have figured in the "shaftage" as part of the price he's paying. Which is rational. Because I said so.

    Up next:

    Proving God exists by reading the Bible. ;-)

    The real problem here is that "rational" is not well defined. And if you want to get really technical, a free market would have an infinite amount of sellers and and infinite amount of buyers.

  • by warpup ( 611775 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @12:01PM (#26667067)
    I am forced to wonder if setting the clock forward to a date after the copyright on this game expires will automatically unlock the DRM. If not, perhaps there is a legal issue to be pursued, since the public domain is protected by the US constitution.
  • World of goo (Score:2, Interesting)

    by rokknroll ( 677118 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @02:14PM (#26669007)
    "World of goo was DRM free too and it got pirated the shit out of it." Or: World Of Goo was a DRM free game , nonetheless, it got the shit pirated(sic) out of it. seriously , good point though. Crayon Physics suffered a similar fate.
  • by NitroWolf ( 72977 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @02:17PM (#26669045)

    Honestly though, how is sharing a copy of a game you own a problem? You lend people books don't you? Or movies? What about movie/video game rental stores like Blockbuster or Hollywood Video? In short, explain how its a problem or there isn't one.

    Are these serious questions? The answers are blatantly obvious. I'm no DRM fanboy, that's for sure - but are you seriously trying to compare sharing a copy of a game with loaning a book or DVD to a friend? In the first case, you now have TWO copies of said game (which is copyright infringement) and now you BOTH can enjoy the game AT THE SAME TIME. In your second and third cases, your friend can enjoy the content or you can, but not both (unless you both watch it together). I mean seriously... duh.

    DRM [wired.com] scheme [overclock3d.net] has been an failure [wikipedia.org]

    Unfortunately, your links are wrong. DRM is generally not meant to prevent piracy, it's meant to prevent 0 Day piracy and as long as it can between release and when the price drops from it's release price. That is the point of DRM, and in that it has had varying degrees of success.

    Now, I am not saying that DRM is right or good or even necessary. In fact, I think DRM should be limited to the bare minimum of CD-KEY and/or the discs not being copyable by Joe-Average trying to make a quick copy for his friends. Anything beyond that is pretty pointless and just hassles paying customers.

  • by 0xygen ( 595606 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @02:54PM (#26669641)

    I call BS on this. Piracy gets people interested in both games and media, as recent news articles about studies of the subject seem to indicate.

    The real effect of DRM on me is that each time I buy movies or games I am discouraged from doing so again and pushed a little further towards so-called piracy. I'll explain why...

    As a teenager, I was prolific pirate.
    Encouraged at first by how easy it was, and the fact I really did not have the means to purchase the games.
    On rare occasions, I was a customer, but only when funded by birthdays etc.
    I was never a potential customer for the games I pirated.

    Now, I'm an adult with cash I am happy to spend on games. However, it was my teenage years which got me hooked on gaming.

    What makes me sad is that I still find often find myself resorting to piracy.
    The driving factors:

    1) I do not like waiting to play games other regions have, I often download US or Japanese games before they reach Europe.
    The difference is that now I will happily buy it when it (finally) reaches our European shores.

    2) Copy protection - I don't like physical media, it gets scratched, I lose it and do not like switching DVDs all the time. I've been buying tons of Steam games lately for this very reason.
    This annoys me, as I have much less rights with a Steam copy of a game - e.g. no chance of reselling it. I had hoped Steam and other digital distribution would stop the region-delays game too... but it has not.
    The activation limit policies on newer PC games are also starting to cause this.

    3) Same crap we get with DVDs loaded with no-skip trailers and anti piracy warnings. The DVD rips are conveniently pre-cleaned of the BS they force in my face on a legal copy. Again, the region delays suck too.

    Having pirated this stuff, I am often willing to buy a copy when it finally reaches Europe.
    It worries me that by going about it this way I am risking finding myself in court for copyright infringement, but honestly, I am happy to pay for the content. I would just really prefer it is delivered sensibly without the stupid limitations listed above.

    The result of this is that when I finally buy a copy, each time I am disappointed to find it significantly less convenient than the pirated copy, a little bit of my willingness to continue buying is forever sucked into the void.

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. -- Wernher von Braun