Y2K9 Bug Strikes: Gears of War PC Disabled by Date

By Nick Breckon, Jan 29, 2009 12:01pm PST Many users are reporting that the PC version of Gears of War was entirely disabled yesterday when the game's digital certificate expired.

The expiration date on the certificate was apparently set for yesterday, January 28. When the date switched over, the game became unplayable.

"This was a surprise to us too," said Epic programmer Joe Graf on the company's official forum. "We have been notified of the issue and are working with Microsoft to get it resolved."

A similar issue recently disabled Turbine's Lord of the Rings Online. As in that situation, users have found a simple workaround for the Gears problem: setting the system clock back to a date prior to the expiration.

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  • for fuck's sake why is the internet so completely wrong on this topic? everybody is all "DRM! DRM!" but this has nothing to do with DRM.

    it's a bug in the anti-cheat software. it's checking to see if the executable is modified. it does that by verifying the built-in certificate, which is a cryptographic signature that says that Epic vouches for the content of the EXE.

    the bug is that the certificate check is deciding that the certificate is a forgery because it has expired. this is a mistake, the certificate cannot be renewed or re-issued, and so it should not have any expiration checks at all.

    Again, nothing to do with DRM. It's not a license check. It's not online activation. It's just a dumb mistake/oversight by whoever designed the EXE validity check.