Hitman 2's Denuvo Protection Busted 3 Days Before The Game's Launch
from the you-were-saying? dept
So, we were just talking about how Denuvo’s new ownership, Irdeto, was busily making the case via the example of some unnamed AAA sports game that even when Denuvo DRM is cracked in a few days it’s still worth it to protect a game’s initial release window. The comments from Irdeto got so ridiculous that it claimed that even if Denuvo kept titles safe for a few hours, that was still worth it. As specious as this claim might be, it’s also formulated to be hard to argue with. After all, with this low of a bar, all Irdeto’s Denuvo has to do is barely work for any measurable amount of time before the release of game in order for Irdeto to claim victory. So how can it possibly fail?
Well, how about if a game’s Denuvo protection is defeated before the game gets released?
This weekend, the technology suffered yet another disappointing blow. The long-awaiting stealth game Hitman 2 – which comes ‘protected’ by the latest variant of Denuvo (v5.3) – leaked online. Aside from having its protection circumvented, this happened three days before the title’s official launch on November 13. It appears that a relatively new cracking group called FCKDRM (more on them in a moment) obtained a version of Hitman 2 that was only available to those who pre-ordered the game. There are some reports of the crack failing at times on some machines but nevertheless, this leak is important on a number of fronts.
Firstly, the game leaked online three days early, rendering the protection when the game finally comes out much less useful. Secondly, presuming the original copy of the game was obtained on Friday when the pre-order copy was delivered, it took just a single day for the group to crack Denuvo’s latest protection. Considering an announcement made by Denuvo just last week, this is a pretty embarrassing turn of events.
That is putting it mildly. This is the destruction of a nonsense argument Irdeto made for itself to try to pretend that Denuvo was worth any amount of investment by game publishers. For the game to be cracked before official release is nearly the ultimate punchline in all the jokes that have been made at Denuvo’s expense since the once-vaunted DRM became just another DRM failure. For it to happen to a AAA game, with the name of that game very much in the public eye, just days after it cited an anonymous AAA game as the reason Denuvo was necessary, almost seems like this was a setup job.
But it wasn’t. Instead, this is just DRM being DRM, which is to say fallible. And that should be causing other publishers that have used this exact iteration of Denuvo, and have games in early release, to wonder why they bothered.
Given that Denuvo 5.3 was cracked so quickly (some crashing issues aside) it raises questions about other upcoming titles set to use similar technology. They include Battlefield V from EA/DICE, which has its official full release on November 20 but is already available to early access players.
I’ll give Denuvo this much: this is the longest death spiral I’ve ever seen.