Like Flies: Doom The Latest Game To Remove Denuvo Via Patch

from the hmmmm dept

One or two instances can be outliers, but any more than that and it’s a trend. And there is now indeed a trend among video game companies for removing Denuvo, the DRM once thought to be the industry’s final solution to piracy. As the DRM software has indeed been proven crackable, some game makers have begun releasing patches to remove it from their games entirely. Somewhat strangely, Denuvo’s removal tends to be absent from the patch notes. Such is the case in the latest example, in which id Software has stripped AAA title Doom of Denuvo.

Theories abound as to what is going on here. There are some who believe these game makers are finally coming around to understanding that DRM is annoying their legitimate customers and no longer stopping piracy. The problem with that theory is that you would think companies like id Software would include the removal of Denuvo in the patch notes if that were the case. It would be a PR boon to be seen as consumer friendly if there were no plans to keep up this annoying DRM arms race any longer.

At the NeoGAF link above, some are suggesting that the new strategy for publishers will be to utilize DRM in the first few months of a game’s release and then strip it out once it’s been on the market for a while. That way, the companies can combat piracy as best as they can during the critical initial release window and then, I guess, choose to stop annoying their customers months down the road. If this is indeed the strategy, it’s a dumb one, as quite a lot of ill will in the public can be generated if/when the DRM breaks the gaming experience for real customers, especially if that happens in that same critical release window. Not to mention that Denuvo in particular cripples the modding community, which often serves as a boon to interest in any particular game.

Still others think that this all has something to do with a money-back guarantee offered by the makers of Denuvo.

There are theories floating around, though. The biggest is a rumor that Denuvo offers developers a money back guarantee if a game is cracked within three months. The (alleged) main stipulation? Developers have to remove the anti-piracy tech first. Given that Inside and Doom have both been cracked, majorly blemishing Denuvo’s vaunted un-crackable reputation, that would certainly explain the removal.

And, if true, it should hopefully dissuade that kind of hubris from developing with other DRM makers in the future.

Which is ultimately the entire point: this is an awful lot of hand-wringing over a technology that has never been proven to work, has been shown time and time again to pain the backsides of legitimate customers, and acts purely as a cost to game developers with no real ROI. Maybe it’s time the industry decides it’s simply done wasting its own time and money on DRM?

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Comments on “Like Flies: Doom The Latest Game To Remove Denuvo Via Patch”

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25 Comments
Roger Strong (profile) says:

I've said it before...

We’re missing an opportunity here. Given the war on encryption, we should be calling encryption “Digital Rights Management.” Which it is, of course; it’s just a matter of who manages the rights to the encrypted data.

That way, those who have declared jihad against encryption would be declaring jihad against DRM.

Machin Shin (profile) says:

Re: I've said it before...

That is and interesting thought, and well, it is one that is true anyways. If real encryption is outlawed or otherwise crippled it will cause DRM to crash and burn. DRM relies on having encryption that gamers can’t crack. You weaken encryption technology you weaken the DRM resulting in it failing faster than it already does.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: I've said it before...

The problem with that is that being for encryption would mean you’d be labeled as pro-DRM, which is not a label I and a great many others would care to have applied to them as it carries implications that are anything but accurate.

Stick with talking about encryption in terms of privacy and security, that’s certainly accurate and I’d think being anti-privacy and/or security would be much worse than simply being anti-‘DRM’.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

“Satisfaction or money back” is a common consumer promise in some circles. If the game developer can prove that the game has been hacked within x time of release while also proving a correct setup of the DRM, it could be something a DRM-manufacturer would promise or something an AAA-studios lawyers would specify after the DRM-producer oversells its product.

As always DRM to various degrees produce a bloat on the game in terms of ressources used, it often makes other parts of the code more difficult to setup, it makes the game more difficult to optimize and it can introduce significant problems with the game.

In terms of providing more sales, it is much more difficult to measure. It is 100 % certain that one hacker stopped doesn’t increase revenue by one sale. It is also almost certain that it will have very little effect on pre-sale and first day sale. So we are talking that the DRM is potentially protecting some of the tailing income. Even if the DRM is 100 % perfect and works for years, the extra work needed to maintain the code may prove to be bad business. Particularly if you run on a DLC or similarly modern model, with expansions or patches…

Eldakka (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

If the game developer can prove that the game has been hacked within x time of release while also proving a correct setup of the DRM, it could be something a DRM-manufacturer would promise or something an AAA-studios lawyers would specify after the DRM-producer oversells its product.

Maybe the game devs are cracking it themselves?

I can see it now, 1 week before the 3-month deadline is up, they release the crack themselves into the wild so they get their money back while still having had DRM on their game in the critical ‘box-office’ initial 3-months.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Is possible, but it falls back on the DRM-producer overselling.

If we are to go beyond the overselling premise and the idea that DRM is crap by default (If you want a conversation on another topic than the delusion with a madman, you avoid the delusion…), you could also theorize that the DRM is sold on a time-limited basis. If it is weekly, monthly or a quarterly fee, the 3-month window makes some sense.

It is important to note that the lack of official releases about the removal is a sign of a deal between the DRM-makers and the publisher/developer. So the only thing we know for sure is that whatever is happening is feeding a good deal of lawyers!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

You already can buy EA games. EA have been releasing older games on GOG DRM free for a while now. They recently (November?) added another batch of DRM free games to GOG.

These are games which did have DRM and now do not, such as Crysis. They are up to c.2007-2009 currently. As well as some much older games being on there.

https://www.gog.com/games?release=2005_2009,2010_2014&devpub=electronic_arts&sort=bestselling&page=1

Thad (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:

There’s a lot of multi-device convenience stuff that Steam has that GOG doesn’t yet (or didn’t last I checked). The biggest is savefile syncing. Portability is another biggie; if I install a program on Steam on one computer in my house, I can just copy-paste the directory to any other (same-OS) machine I want to play it on, whereas with GOG if I want to install on multiple machines I have to flag a setting to keep the install files and then copy them over to the other computer.

I have to figure GOG is at least working on this stuff, though.

The Wanderer (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I presume you’re talking about the GOG Galaxy client? Because the comment about “a setting to keep the install files” doesn’t make sense otherwise.

I’m on Linux, which GOG Galaxy isn’t available for yet, so whenever I buy something from GOG I download the installer directly from the Website and install it from that. It’s more manual work, but I can easily stick the downloaded installer in my local archive, and then pull it from there whenever I want.

GOG is not limited to the Galaxy client, though. My impression is that Steam is limited to the Steam client, and that you can’t access your Steam library without going through that client; if that’s not true, I’d be interested to know about it.

sehlat (profile) says:

What DRM Does

When I couldn’t download some books I’d purchased because Adobe Digital Editions refused to work with a publisher’s site, I ended up telling said publisher AFTER I’d had to re-install ADE just to get my books:

DRM does NOTHING to prevent piracy, but it does a darn good job of keeping loyal customers from BEING loyal customers.

Thad (user link) says:

Re: What DRM Does

DRM is very good at doing what it’s designed to do, but what it’s designed to do is not the thing it’s advertised as being designed to do.

DRM is sold as preventing copyright infringement. It doesn’t do that.

But what it does do is lock publishers into a single vendor, the DRM provider. Publisher has a dispute with Amazon over pricing? Well, okay, publisher, you can go try and make a deal with somebody else — but the only way your customers are going to be able to migrate their collections over to a different reader is by breaking the law and removing the DRM. And if you encourage them to do that, or tell them how, that’s a lawsuit.

Jamie (profile) says:

Denovo does not give refunds

It’s untrue that Denuvo give refunds (partial or otherwise) for games that get cracked during an initial period. This was posted about 5 hours ago on TorrentFreak, who got their information via Kotaku.

https://torrentfreak.com/denuvo-we-dont-give-refunds-when-games-get-cracked-161219/
http://kotaku.com/denuvo-explains-why-doom-dropped-their-anti-piracy-tech-1790192362

Lonyo (profile) says:

Still not easy to crack

Worth noting that per the above comment it was removed because it had achieved its purpose, and also that there are various games, some over a year old now on which Denuvo still hasn’t been cracked.

There’s also only one main “group” (person?) cracking Denuvo, CPY, and it seems to be taking a while each time, giving a nice window of uncracked games for people using it in terms of sales.

Rekrul says:

If publishers removed the DRM after a set period of time as a normal course of action, I’d be more likely to buy games. DRM is the reason I’ve never played Half-Life II or Alice: Madness Returns. The need for online activation kills any desire I might have to buy those games. I may pirate them one day, but I won’t pay for them as long as they come with a digital leash attached.

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