Denuvo DRM - It works, and you're going to get more of it

When it was first revealed that GTA V on PC would use the DRM called Denuvo, there was a lot of gnashing of teeth. Since it was created by many of the folks that made SecureROM and ScreenPass, people feared that it would be just as aggravating for legitimate customers.

Well, here we are a few months later, and there’s nary a complaint about Denuvo. People blamed a bunch glitches in Lords of the Fallen on Denuvo, but according to the developers none of the issues came from the DRM. It was used in Batman: Arkham Knight and Dragon Age: Inquisition and it effectively delayed the pirates by weeks.

Denuvo is being used in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain and Mad Max. I don’t think I’ve even seen anyone comment on it outside of some speculation that MGSV’s Denuvo protection was interfering with Phenom processors, but Konami already issued a hotfix for that and it seemed it had nothing to do with the DRM - it was a Fox Engine issue.

I think Denuvo is here to stay and I guess I’m okay with it. I haven’t had an issue yet that I’m aware of.

My body is indifferent, and will keep on keepin on.

I’m completely fine with any DRM that doesn’t affect me. If my copy of the game runs as the developers intended it, then you can do whatever else that doesn’t involve absurd things like sending personal information out or other silly side-effects I might not be aware of.

Chris Woods

For certain values of “works”, anyway. Oh noes, the pirates had to wait whole weeks to play AAA $60 titles for free. But whatever. If it doesn’t fuck up futureproofing or limit my installs or break the game, it’s their lookout if they want to waste their money on this shit.

It isn’t even really DRM—it’s just fancy obfuscation and debugger-prevention, so you can’t hook up your tools and trivially step past the bits of code which would ask Steam if you’re really allowed to play. It wouldn’t do anything to stop you from playing by itself.

I think publishers have caught on to the fact that no DRM is unbreakable. At this point, they want to make it really inconvenient to circumvent, (even with a crack) and keep the pirates at bay for a few weeks so the game retains its launch value.

I don’t know how much Denuvo charges for their tech, but whatever the rate is, publishers have decided that it’s worth it. For now. And let’s face it, Steam DRM is a joke. It takes hackers all of two seconds to crack it for each game. It will be interesting to see if Denuvo maintains its value.

Really, the most secure from of DRM is making games use a client/server setup that keep’s the player online and plugged into the publisher’s system.

Telefrog has the right of it. It isn’t about preventing hackers from hacking a game. It’s about delaying them through the launch window time frame.

None of those games (that I played) gave me any problems, so I’m fine with this DRM solution, I suppose. Seems kinda silly to have it in addition to Steam I guess, but since it’s not causing me any issues I suppose it’s … fine?

LOL I see what you did there. #HatTip

It seems it’s working well enough.

One of the possible problems with DRM is impact in performance, but rumours are unfounded in that case. For example both Mad Max and MGS5 are said to run very well, from what I’ve been reading.
Another possible con is how it could be not compatible with future OS systems. For example it seems old games DRM like Securom and Starforce has stopped working in Windows 10. This is because if I’m not mistaken the DRM used some kind of low-level access to cd-rom drives, but that isn’t the case with Denuvo of course, nor it installs services in the system.

The legit concern is that as it isn’t an anti-tamper system for the executable, it disallows certain types of mods. For example in Bethesda games there are usually a series of mods that need a new executable, the Script Extender, it couldn’t be done with Denuvo. Or Stalker or Xcom, they had mods through .exe modification.

A combination of growing up and the convenience of online services such as Steam/GoG & Origin have made me not care about DRM so long as it doesn’t screw up my system performance.

Back in the days of disc installed games, I cared about it, and cracked exe’s on lots of games, but that wasn’t about piracy, it was about not wanting to dig up a disc to launch the game.

That depends on the developers. If they wanted to allow modding even with Denuvo or something like it, then they can expose an API or allow access to a game’s functionality another way as long as it’s running.

Of course, it’s modding where the users have a “say” in how it’s done, instead of being decided by the developers. Ideally all devs would plan and develop their games with modding in mind, but it isn’t the case. And sometimes these unofficial mods have been great. I suspect they also will impede memory manipulation so forget trainers, fov modifcators, etc.

Sounds good to me, if it works and doesn’t impair the experience.

I wish everybody would commit to removing the DRM after, say, 6 months. That way the launch window is protected and the game will remain playable forever, even after their company and distribution platform is dead and gone, without resorting to using a crack.

I get that that’s the intent. I just continue to think the idea that that achieves anything, much less justifies the cost of the DRM, is hilariously illogical.

I’m sure they have metrics supporting the launch window protection strategy. And I’m cool with that, they need to protect their revenue, as long as it doesn’t make the pirated version the best version.

I’m surprised that so many people still pirate games at all. It doesn’t take long to go from no games to more games than you’ll ever have time to play, taking in free, freemium, low-price legacy games and sales on modern titles. That’s even before you get to buying AAA titles brand new at full price, and this applies to most platforms now. We’re all deluged with great games to occupy our time.

On PC it’s all about the launch window for big games - the review embargoes and late PC code releases are symptoms of this as well as the new benign DRM. Eveyone wants the new hotness, but the online service model with extrinsic rewards like achievements and gamerpoints and the kudos/bragging rights all reinforce the benefits of doing the right thing and paying where necessary or desirable.

This probably has something to do with most consoles being underpowered compared to most gaming rigs.

I wouldn’t be surprised if overall piracy rate is down. But I also imagine that the demographics are very similar to what they’ve always been: kids, people with low income and/or other financial priorities that still want to keep up with the Joneses gamingwise, people in countries that don’t have ready legal access, people with ideological objections to DRM (even things like Steam), people who just don’t want to pay for shit at all, people collecting games they’ll never play out of some weird hoarding instinct, etc etc. I am extremely skeptical of the idea that “people who don’t want to pay for this game but will if it’s not cracked within a couple of weeks of launch” is a large, or even existent, portion.

This is as good a place as any to mention this: the English release of Clannad had a scare with the DRM for its limited-edition Kickstarter-only physical release. The game’s Japanese publisher originally wanted the physical release to have a disc check as the DRM on a PC game being released in 2015, but the western publisher managed to talk them into letting it be fully DRM-free.

Remember, no matter how bad a DRM scheme may sound (or not sound, which seems to be Denuvo’s case), it could be much worse.