Rage 2 Drops Denuvo In Record Time After Customer Outcry
from the rage-against-the-drm dept
I have avoided writing posts every time Denuvo’s DRM, once thought un-crackable, ends up being very, very crackable. At some point, everyone basically agrees that the dragon has been slayed and we all ought to stop poking it with pointy sticks. The most recent story involving Denuvo, however, deserves to be highlighted, if only to recognize that the neutering of this once-vaunted antipiracy tool has reached a stage that requires a different time measurement. Let me explain.
As Denuvo’s technology unraveled, both the company and its defenders retreated to a position of claiming that even if Denuvo could protect a game for mere weeks, or even days, then it was still worth it. A huge chunk of a game’s total sales, goes the theory, occur in the initial release window, so protecting that timeline is vital. As Denuvo began to be cracked more quickly, that useful time for protection went from months to weeks to days. As a result, I began updating you all here with posts detailing the dwindling timeline for major game titles’ protected status. It became a useful unit of measurement right up until a game was cracked before its public release.
But perhaps we have a new unit of measurement we can start using: the length of time before a game publisher decides to strip out Denuvo itself. We don’t appear to have much time to use this new measurement unit, however, as that timeline already appears to be in the category of days.
When Rage 2 players discovered it was tagging along for the ride in the post-apocalyptic shooter’s Steam version, they were not pleased.
They didn’t have to wait long for a solution. Rage 2’s latest Steam patchtouts that it “removes Denuvo DRM” because its developers “saw a fewrequests”—emphasis theirs. Rage 2 came out on May 14, meaning that player complaints got it stripped of Denuvo mere days after release.
This isn’t a brand new thing, of course. Previous titles have had Denuvo stripped out of games via patch updates. What’s different with Rage 2 is the speed with which this decision was made, coupled with the outcry from a well-informed customer base. Gamers at this point generally are aware of what Denuvo is. They’re also aware of the debate over claims that Denuvo has performance impacts on how games play on their PCs. And many of them are probably even aware of how useless the DRM has become.
All of this combines with some specific circumstances in this game to create pissed off customers when games release with Denuvo. Pissed off customers are generally something a business wants to avoid, leading to the publishers of Rage 2 to strip Denuvo from its game with haste.
For one, there was all the passionate fan response to Denuvo’s presence in the game, which took on an even more aggrieved tone than usual due to the fact that the DRM wasn’t present in the game’s Bethesda Launcher version. This led to the usual slew of negative Steam reviews, forum posts, and other complaints. On top of that, Rage 2 was cracked within less than 24 hours of its release, seemingly because of the aforementioned lack of Denuvo in its Bethesda Launcher version. Given that Denuvo’s stated goal is to “protect initial sales” from piracy, there was likely no real reason for Bethesda, id, and Avalanche to keep it around anymore.
And so here we are. Denuvo has reached a place where the best measurement of its success or failure is no longer how long it takes to crack the games it is supposed to be protecting. Now we measure it by how fast its own customers are dropping the DRM from their games entirely.
It really shouldn’t take some third unit of measurement for the industry to realize that this is all pointless.