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?

Filed Under: denuvo, doom, drm, video games


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  • icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 19 Dec 2016 @ 1:18pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Machin Shin (profile), 19 Dec 2016 @ 1:29pm

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 19 Dec 2016 @ 1:31pm

      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'.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Roger Strong (profile), 19 Dec 2016 @ 1:36pm

        Re: Re: I've said it before...

        Good point.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Bruce C., 19 Dec 2016 @ 1:59pm

        Re: Re: I've said it before...

        If being anti-encryption means being anti-DRM that doesn't necessarily equate being pro-encryption with being pro-DRM.
        NOR != AND

        The actual inverse implication is that if you are pro-DRM you can't be anti-encryption.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 19 Dec 2016 @ 1:24pm

    Quoth Ravenhurst,

    Precisely! Like flies!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2016 @ 1:29pm

    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

    In other words if you think our DRM is useless and remove it, we will refund you.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 19 Dec 2016 @ 1:38pm

      Re:

      More 'If our DRM is demonstrated to be useless via being cracked within three months, remove it and we'll refund you'.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2016 @ 2:22pm

        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...

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2016 @ 2:38pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          The DRM proponents ignare an asymmetry, for DRM to work it has to work 100%, while only one person needs to crack it to make unlimited cracked copies available.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Eldakka (profile), 19 Dec 2016 @ 7:15pm

          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.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 20 Dec 2016 @ 12:40am

            Re: Re: Re: 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!

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 19 Dec 2016 @ 1:31pm

    GoG ftw.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2016 @ 2:51pm

      Re:

      Exactly,

      GOG.com > Steam.com

      Hope the pressure continues so I can buy Ubisoft and EA games someday.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Dec 2016 @ 5:42am

        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=best selling&page=1

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Thad, 20 Dec 2016 @ 9:25am

        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.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          The Wanderer (profile), 21 Dec 2016 @ 8:01am

          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.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    sehlat (profile), 19 Dec 2016 @ 1:46pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Thad, 20 Dec 2016 @ 9:31am

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    SpaceLifeForm, 19 Dec 2016 @ 2:29pm

    Or, another explanation...

    It was a rootkit, it is soon
    to be discovered, so CYA time.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jamie, 19 Dec 2016 @ 3:13pm

    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://kot aku.com/denuvo-explains-why-doom-dropped-their-anti-piracy-tech-1790192362

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2016 @ 3:34pm

      Re: Denovo does not give refunds

      Denuvo has investigated Denuvo and found that Denuvo has done what Denuvo was supposed to do.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Machin Shin (profile), 20 Dec 2016 @ 6:43am

        Re: Re: Denovo does not give refunds

        That is pretty much same thing I got from that second link. I have a hard time trusting Denuvo when they are trying to explain why people are removing their product. They would NEVER admit customers are leaving for any negative reason. (If they did admit that then their PR would be the worlds worst)

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Lonyo (profile), 20 Dec 2016 @ 5:44am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rekrul, 20 Dec 2016 @ 4:08pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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