Denuvo: Every Download Is A Lost Sale For This Anonymous AAA Title We're Referencing, So Buy Moar Dunuvo!

from the or-don't dept

The saga of antipiracy DRM company Denuvo is a long and tortured one, but the short version of it is that Denuvo was once a DRM thought to be unbeatable but which has since devolved into a DRM that cracking groups often beat on timelines measured in days if not hours. Denuvo pivoted at that point, moving on from boasting at the longevity of its protection to remarking that even this brief protection offered in the release windows of games made it worthwhile. Around the same time, security company Irdeto bought Denuvo and rolled its services into its offering.

And Irdeto apparently wants to keep pushing the line about early release windows, but has managed to do so by simply citing some unnamed AAA sports game that it claims lost millions by being downloaded instead of using Denuvo to protect it for an unspecified amount of time.

In a statement issued by Denuvo owner Irdeto (the latter acquired the former earlier this year), the company states that it tracked pirate downloads of an unnamed ‘AAA’ (big budget, major studio) title during the first few days after its release. Without Denuvo protection it was quickly cracked and made available on P2P networks and from there, pirates did their thing.

“Irdeto tracked the downloads of a major sports title on P2P networks after the title, which did not include anti-tamper protection, was cracked on the same day of its release,” the company says. “During the first two weeks, Irdeto detected 355,664 torrent downloads of the illegal copy of the title. Given the retail price of the game, this puts the total potential loss of revenue from P2P downloads at $21,336,283.”

There are, of course, many issues with this statement. First, citing an unnamed title is a bit odd, since the publisher of that title is quite obviously not a customer of Irdeto’s. Or, at the very least, isn’t a customer for that particular game. Why the need for anonymity, in that case? It would seem only to Irdeto’s benefit to name the title that chose not to be protected by Denuvo. And, if this is all publicly available information, keeping that name secret doesn’t make a great deal of sense.

From there, we can move on to Irdeto choosing to keep the math simple by suggesting that every download is a lost sale, in order to come up with its $21 million dollars lost figure. This line of thinking has been debunked so many times that it’s not truly worth discussing, other than to say that a DRM company citing it as a valid number should tell you everything you need to know about the wider “report.”

And, finally, Irdeto is citing a two week release window important for sales of games as though Denuvo hadn’t been defeated on timelines much, much shorter than that. This isn’t to say that it’s always defeated within two weeks, but that often ends up being the case particularly for AAA titles.

It’s worth noting that while Denuvo games are often cracked very quickly, it’s definitely not uncommon for protection to stand up to the first two weeks of attacks. Denuvo can usually hold off crackers for the first four days, so these figures are obvious marketing tools for a technology that has been somewhat diminished after various cracking groups began taking its challenge personally.

But just in case Denuvo only manages a single day of protection, owner Irdeto suggests that the effort is worth it – even dropping down to the importance of standing firm for an hour.

An hour. An hour. When a DRM company has reached the point of touting that it can protect a game for an entire hour, we’ve jumped the shark. We don’t have much information about the cost of using Denuvo for publishers, since everything I’ve read suggests publishers have to sign restrictive NDAs that prohibit revealing that information, but I’m struggling to understand how making pirates wait an hour for a cracked game can be worth whatever those costs are.

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Companies: denuvo, irdeto

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Comments on “Denuvo: Every Download Is A Lost Sale For This Anonymous AAA Title We're Referencing, So Buy Moar Dunuvo!”

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33 Comments
That One Guy (profile) says:

"At least FIVE MINUTES!"

It’s worth noting that while Denuvo games are often cracked very quickly, it’s definitely not uncommon for protection to stand up to the first two weeks of attacks. Denuvo can usually hold off crackers for the first four days, so these figures are obvious marketing tools for a technology that has been somewhat diminished after various cracking groups began taking its challenge personally.

But just in case Denuvo only manages a single day of protection, owner Irdeto suggests that the effort is worth it – even dropping down to the importance of standing firm for an hour.

‘Unbreakable’. Months. Two weeks. Four days. One day. One hour… Ah how the mighty have fallen, and desperately scramble to justify shelling out for their garbage product.

When you reach the point where you find yourself arguing that a single hour of protection is enough for people to infect their product with what you’re selling, I think it’s safe to say you’ve reached the point where you might as well give up and try something else.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

“Denuvo: Every Download Is A Lost Sale For This Anonymous AAA Title We’re Referencing, So Buy Moar Dunuvo!”

Pay no attention to the fact that paying customers hate our product, screw them you already got their money why care about them?!!?!? Chase those bastards who might DL the game to check it out once and delete it. Give us more money to drive home the point you hate paying customers & care more about people who will most likely never pay you!!!!!

Keep paying us so that consumers remember their place, to give you money & expect shit treatment!

Christenson says:

Re: Re:

Indeed sales are lost when DRM is installed. That is only one cost.

The other is, besides a payment to denuvo, (and letting a shady company like denuvo learn about your process and/or running their scripts in your build chain), setting up some kind of bulletproof license/authentication server.

Bulletproof because if it goes down, every paying customer of yours is going to be screaming bloody murder.

Agammamon says:

Someone should ask the Denuvo guys “if each stolen copy is a lost sale, then how come no one made massively more money when you rolled out Denuvo? How come the sales needle barely twitched? In all the years that you’ve been ‘protecting’ that release window, how come titles with DRM aren’t seeing massively more sales than titles without?”

Anonymous Coward says:

People who pirate are probably either testing before they buy (remember when demos were a thing?) or they weren’t going to buy anyways. Denuvo’s inclusion wouldn’t prevent them from pirating; even if Denuvo were working as intended it would just delay the date the pirating took place.

Since Denuvo often does have minor to drastic impacts on game performance, its inclusion does cause lost sales. No point in buying a game if the DRM makes it crash so often you might as well not be playing.

ryuugami says:

Re: Re:

Since Denuvo often does have minor to drastic impacts on game performance, its inclusion does cause lost sales. No point in buying a game if the DRM makes it crash so often you might as well not be playing.

Performance is not the only reason, being treated like a criminal for buying a game is up there as well. I wouldn’t return to a store if after every step taken I had to endure a patdown to ensure I didn’t steal anything.

I’ll tolerate Steam DRM, as it’s fairly light-weight (and I’m not talking about performance here) and gives me some value as well. However, I personally skipped buying several Denuvo-protected titles on Steam (and several with other DRM types). Didn’t pirate them either, though, so I guess it doesn’t register as a "lost sale" to their accounting.

Anonymous Cowherd says:

Re: Re: Re:

Me too. I pretty much stopped playing PC games entirely when the always-on internet DRM nonsense started spreading. I also left the Xbox One in the store over the DRM controversy. Bought a PS4 instead.

That’s the real lost sales, not people who would never have bought anything in the first place.

Anonymous Coward says:

Only $21mln?? That figure is rather low. Back of the napkin calculation: the projected maximum population of Earth (reachable in the next 50 years) is 9bln people, so if they used Denuvo, the maximum profit they could have is 9bln * $60 = $540bln! Of course they have to use Denuvo, otherwise they’ll lose all those 9bln potential sales over the next 50 years. This is potentially more than the GDP of Croatia! Just think of the potential sales!

Jinxed (profile) says:

I’m lost here.

Denuvo claims piracy is the reason for a loss of $21 million.

However, as I read the reviews of most sports games released today, I see people upset over the use of microtransactions to force players to pay even more for a game which should have been complete upon release.

These reviews rarely exceed 3 stars (out of 5) or garner a rating of 4 (out of 10), which the majority being disappointment.

While I will give some credit to Denuvo’s claim piracy can affect *some* sales loss, it’s blatant fraud to ignore the true factors resulting in a loss of sales.

True piracy is getting people to pay much more for a game released incomplete.

Potential Loss says:

Potential Loss

These pirates they speak of are people that wont buy it anyway, mostly people without money to spend on stuff like that, priorities. To sit here and say they would for sure buy if there was no other option if to fool ourselves. If you could completely avoid piracy, i believe nothing would change, still no money to spend on games.

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