Denuvo Responds: Five Days Is Better Than No Days, Amirite?

from the math dept

It certainly looks for all the world like Denuvo is unraveling as a valid option for DRM in video games. The software, once described as the final solution to piracy, has had its defenses cracked in time intervals following an exponentially shorter curve. For how long it would take to crack a Denuvo-protected video game, reality went from “never”, to “months”, to “less months” in the case of the latest Doom game. After Doom was cracked, and after the developer removed Denuvo from the software via a patch, the makers of Denuvo spun it as a victory, stating that developers were protecting their games during the early release window and then removing it later.

But then Resident Evil 7, protected by Denuvo, was cracked in under a week’s time. With its spin halted by this new reality, Denuvo’s response has changed slightly to: hey, it could be worse!

Now, Denuvo is defending its “Anti-Tamper” technology, saying it’s still the best copy protection currently available.

“It’s correct that the title in question was cracked some days after release,” Denuvo Marketing Director Thomas Goebl told Eurogamer. That said, “Given the fact that every unprotected title is cracked on the day of release—as well as every update of games—our solution made a difference for this title.”

It’s a response as bold as it is simple: five is a number greater than zero. And, hey, that’s true. Every positive number is greater than zero. Like, oh I don’t know, the cost of Denuvo licensing being greater than the zero it costs to not implement it at all. If we’re going to boil this all down to simple math equations, it seems to me the most important equation should be is X greater than or equal to Y, with X being the amount of money a few days of DRM protection provides and Y being the cost of using Denuvo DRM. With a cracking window short enough that I can count the number of days it takes on one hand, it strains the mind to understand how X could possibly be greater than Y.

And keep in mind that Denuvo prefaced this by stating that its DRM was the best on the market. And that’s true! But that doesn’t say anything positive for the value of Denuvo, while at the same time telling game companies all they should need to know about the value of DRM in general: it doesn’t work. And not only does it not work, but you don’t get your money back after it fails to do its job.

Goebl did deny earlier reports that publishers were being issued refunds after their Denuvo-protected games had been cracked. “We do not have any deals in place that offer refunds if a game is cracked within a specific time frame,” the company told Eurogamer.

Hey, at least they’re being upfront about it. Game developers can buy a thing that doesn’t work and doesn’t come with a refund, or they could notice that Resident Evil 7 continues to sell very, very well, piracy and all.

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Comments on “Denuvo Responds: Five Days Is Better Than No Days, Amirite?”

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27 Comments
That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Funny they never put their money where their mouth is.
If they offered a refund scale that shrank the longer the game remained uncrackable it might be worth it.

But with all snakeoil salesmen, they want you to believe that this time this tech will completely solve the problem. They can’t admit that this is just a stop gap measure to get a window for X days.

It would be more honest for them to have said
if we get you 30 days, no refund.
if we get you 21 days, x%
if we get you 14 days, x%
if we get you 7 days, 100%

I know its yelling into the void, but when are they going to get past the well if we charge less people will think its bad mentality. If instead of charging $70 expecting only x sales, they charged $35 and see if those numbers doubled.

Building games is expensive, but the bean counter method of trying to recoup everything in the first 5 days keeps shooting them in the foot.
If the game was only $20, do you think there would still be all the interest in cracking it?
At $20 pretty much everyone interested could get it.
If there was a legit playable demo so people could see how it works on their machine, that removes the DL’er who wants to make sure they won’t get stuck with a game that runs like shit.
Yes you are gonna have those that still will dl it no matter what, but right now there is actual evidence that dl’ers buy more stuff… if they know they like it.
Rather than declaring war with more and more invasive ‘protection’, how about accepting its gonna get cracked and rather than punishing people who paid us, lets give them a better experience.
There are the stories of smaller devs reaching out to the ‘pirates’ and rather than screaming asking if they like it to get it. Sometimes they find out some of the pirates are from markets they aren’t reaching.

There are people who think that the online platforms solved all the problems of reaching all of the people, but its not true. Its much better but there are places it doesn’t work for.

Or you can keep paying those people who promise this time the tiger repelling rock will repel the tigers that ate your last 4 cows protected by the old tiger repelling rock tech.

Bamboo Harvester (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“If the game was only $20, do you think there would still be all the interest in cracking it?”

Yes. It’s not about cost, it’s a challenge. There are competitions held with kudos to the first “group” to crack games.

They’re not cracking it to “pirate” the game – the guys cracking it have already PAID for the game. Usually for multiple copies.

Simple superiority psychology. Proving they’re smarter than the guys who put the locks on it.

John85851 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

And all of this goes back to the issue of why one download does not equal one lost sale.

As it’s been said over again with downloaded movies:
* How many people download a game to try, then find they don’t like it or it won’t run on their system? Not a lost sale.
* How many people collect games and no intention of buying or even playing it? Not a lost sale.
* How many people download games to trade with other people for games they want? Not a lost sale.

So, again, why are companies trying to fight these kinds of people instead of focusing on a better customer experience, which people will pay for?

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

You forgot another reason – people downloading a cracked copy of the game because the DRM is preventing them from playing the one they bought. Obviously, if someone has to do this too many times, they’ll just skip paying for the broken one, so they DRM is losing them sales.

Bonus: even if it takes 5 extra days to crack, the DRM will still cause issues for paying customers indefinitely, so its mere presence makes the legal version inherently less valuable than the pirate copy.

orbitalinsertion (profile) says:

I have the best malaria-infested swamp on the market. And if it took 5 days for someone to build a bridge, while everyone else who paid for the trip had to slog around the edges, that’s a good thing yeah?

To be honest though, we like it when the swamp stays put, because some people don’t see the bridge or won’t use it. And it’s a hoot that we get paid for that.

Ryunosuke (profile) says:

Simple math for Simple people

Is X (in this case the cost of implementing Denuvo) greater than Y (in this case being sales lost regardless of DRM). If true (ie. X>Y) then why are companies still putting DRM in games?

in an ideal world, we wouldn’t NEED DRM, but such is life. Less ideally, would be for crackers and hackers to wait 6 months on cracking a game, that gives both the devs the initial 6 month sales rush, as well as gives time for devs to iron out bugs and such. Again, such is life.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Simple math for Simple people

in an ideal world, we wouldn’t NEED DRM, but such is life.

You’re in that world now. DRM does squat to stop pirates, the only people it screws over is paying customers, so I’d say it’s pretty clear it’s not ‘needed’ for anyone but the companies selling it.

As for those cracking the DRM, as others have pointed out they’re not doing it for the money, they’re doing it for the challenge. A company boasting about how ‘strong’ and ‘unbreakable’ their DRM is is basically putting a gigantic target on that DRM, as various groups race to see who can break it first.

Remove the DRM and the game companies/publishers are in the same position as they are post-crack, except now they avoided paying for rubbish code that hoses over their paying customers and gives the pirates the better experience.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Simple math for Simple people

I think you are conflating a point here.

There is no such thing as ‘lost sales’ so Y will always be very low and there is no point in DRM.

People who actually download games fall into a few different categories.

A lot of people simply cannot afford the to buy the game and as a result you are extremely unlikely to get their money DRM or not.

Another major group are people are ones who want to try the game before they shell out $60 on something that might be a steaming pile of crap and if the game is good you are likely to get their money DRM or not (note that with perfect DRM they are unlikely to be able to try it and so will not be in a position to buy it).

A third group will not buy any games with offensive DRM in and they will only buy your game if you didn’t include DRM.

So in three scenarios above DRM has only reduced your sales and at the same time will have greatly reduced exposure to the game in the process.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Simple math for Simple people

You forgot a 4th group. People that buy the game but the DRM is so pervasive it makes the game non-functional so they download the cracked version so they can actually play the game they paid for. This also applies to people that play on non-standard setups for example using WINE on linux where often the game will play, but the DRM will screw it up.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Simple math for Simple people

“Less ideally, would be for crackers and hackers to wait 6 months on cracking a game”

In an ideal world copy protection would last a much more reasonable period of time. Truthfully even ten years is too long for things like games. Maybe for movies or something.

In an ideal world anything discontinued would no longer be protected by law.

But we live in a world where corporations write the laws. And hence we live in a world where everyone simply ignores the laws that corporations wrote. We didn’t write these laws so why should we listen to them at all?

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Simple math for Simple people

“If true (ie. X>Y) then why are companies still putting DRM in games?”

Because they like having piracy as an excuse. Game didn’t do well because it was crap? No, it’s the fault of those pirates. Game didn’t sell up to expectations because we screwed up the release date or didn’t pick up on a game-killing bug? No, it was piracy.

As long as they have piracy to blame for their woes, they’ll put DRM in there as an attempt to make it look like they’re doing something about it. So long as they can fool their boards into thinking piracy is the reason behind any issue, they don’t have to be accountable for their mistakes. Plus, these decisions are usually being made by accountants and managers – the actual techies know it’s a mistake, hate DRM because it hits their game’s performance and causes more problems than it solves.

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