RIP Denuvo: Resident Evil 7 Cracked In Five Days

from the on-to-the-next-one dept

The Denuvo saga has been impressive on a couple of levels. The DRM software's public cycle was notable first in that game-cracking groups, notorious for their confidence in their own abilities, initially sounded the alarm over Denuvo's status as an anti-piracy unicorn that would never be broken and would lead to the end of software piracy. That happened in January of 2016. By August, Denuvo was being broken by other cracking groups. By the time winter rolled around, game developers, including developers of AAA titles, were pushing out quiet updates to games to remove Denuvo from their software entirely. Denuvo's makers, meanwhile, spun this as a success story, suggesting that developers were chiefly using Denuvo to protect games during the initial release cycle and then removing it afterwards.

But that thin thread of relevancy appears to have snapped, relegating Denuvo to the same scrap pile as every other form of DRM ever tried, now that a cracking group has successfully cracked a Denuvo-protected game in five days' time.

Yesterday, just five days after its January 24th retail date, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard was cracked by CPY. The self-proclaimed Italian group placed RE7 on a so-called top site, with the ‘piracy pyramid‘ doing the rest of the work by cascading it to torrent sites in a matter of minutes. Currently, tens of thousands of pirates are grabbing the 23GB download.

So, that protected release window has shrunk to just under a week. Whatever the cost to implement Denuvo in a game, those five days can't make it worth the price of admission.

Now, some will point out, as does the TorrentFreak post, that there are still un-cracked Denuvo-protected games on the market. And that's absolutely true. But also true is that the trend for the efficacy of Denuvo DRM only travels in one direction and not a good one for those looking to the software as a way to end the scourge of video game piracy. When we begin measuring the effectiveness of DRM in days, or even when we do so in weeks, it's clear the only logical action for developers that used it is to rage-quit the DRM entirely and move on.

Particularly when that same DRM, so ineffective at stopping piracy, proves to be impressively effective at pissing off real customers.

Some fans have complained that Denuvo is unwieldy and annoying. It forces games to be dependent on third-party activation servers and makes certain types of modding impossible. Publishers use the program regardless, in hopes of boosting game sales by rendering piracy more difficult.

And now that it's no longer serving that purpose, it's time it was dropped from use. The good news for those of us who want to see a thriving games market is that Resident Evil 7, because the reviews have been quite positive, is selling quite well. Even with it having been cracked in five days' time. Because piracy isn't a barrier to success, nevermind one worth annoying legitimate customers over.


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Jan 2017 @ 6:09pm

    Control

    It's what this was and is always about. Controlling customers under the guise of "fighting piracy".
    If they make the game, they're entitled to sell it for a fair price. On multi-player games there's even a certain degree to which they should aim to control the experience.
    But DRMs and copy protections were only ever means of control. Why else would these companies have kept paying even 1c for protection software when they were so ineffective that the games showed up online days or weeks before launch? Why double and triple down with draconian online schemes and limited activations when a crack was just a few clicks away, even if you had bought the game?
    Denuvo's goals were no different and I'm happy it can be gotten rid of. If for nothing else, the goal of preserving these games for the future makes that worth it. Because publishers have shown, time and again, they don't care that the DRM on the game you bought 10 years ago can no longer talk to the servers it needs, among other examples.

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

  • identicon
    Christenson, 31 Jan 2017 @ 6:21pm

    Random, per copy changes to the code make breaking it easier

    That was the word, I think...that they tried to make breaking the game harder by putting in DRM checks in different, random places in the code.

    That only works if the crackers only have one copy of the game!

    P.S. The correct word isn't CONTROL, it's MEGALOMANIA or NARCISSISM.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 31 Jan 2017 @ 6:53pm

      Re: Random, per copy changes to the code make breaking it easier

      From the Arstechnica article:

      Denuvo copy-protection relies on specific triggers inserted into the executable game code, and those triggers are placed differently in each protected game.

      My read on it was that the 'random' bit to the code didn't differ between copies of a particular game, but between different games. In that case knowing where the code was buried in Game A won't do the ones cracking it much good for Game B, as they need to start the search over each time.

      On the other hand, once they have a good idea of the code they're looking for then the search should take less and less time each time it's done, as it becomes easier to spot it, which may explain how RE7 was cracked so quickly, plenty of practice on the part of those DRM hunting.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 31 Jan 2017 @ 10:03pm

        Re: Re: Random, per copy changes to the code make breaking it easier

        Well it does seem to be getting cracked quicker than previous examples of their "flagship". I wonder if they can bilk their customers into paying to develop a whole project to write a unique DRM algorithm for every product.

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

  • icon
    Atkray (profile), 31 Jan 2017 @ 9:50pm

    Once again the internet routes around what it perceives as damage.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Jan 2017 @ 10:10pm

    Dear "Resident Evil 7": On behalf of all the cracked games that have come before you, it gives me great pleasure to deliver this timely and appropriate message.

    Welcome to the family, son!

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

  • identicon
    Nevermind, 1 Feb 2017 @ 12:37am

    Lol

    I had to laugh when I played this for free but as I have never been a fan of Capcom since the Spectrum days I do not care. Also piracy is as big on the consoles as it is on the PC so stop blaming PC gaming for sale losses! How many people making emulators? I have already seen a PS4 one but sadly not working yet. So blame console lovers no PC!

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 1 Feb 2017 @ 12:43am

      Re: Lol

      Wait. Blame consoles because someone's made an emulator for the PC that you admit doesn't actually work yet?

      "Also piracy is as big on the consoles as it is on the PC"

      Citation needed.

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

      • icon
        GristleMissile (profile), 1 Feb 2017 @ 3:36am

        Re: Re: Lol

        I don't have any figures on console vs PC piracy, but console piracy is at least something which is common. From Pandora's battery on the PSP to modchips in Xboxes to softmods on Wiis to CFW and flashcarts on the N/3DS, or even the simplest of all, burning a cd for a Dreamcast.

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

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 1 Feb 2017 @ 3:58am

          Re: Re: Re: Lol

          You're addressing current gen systems (RE7 is only on PC, PS4, and XBox One), so how easy it is to pirate on a Dreamcast is totally irrelevant.

          In my experience, piracy is a lot lower on modern consoles since they're so closely tied into paid for online platforms and both Sony and Microsoft make sweeping account bans for modded consoles. Some people do pirate, and I've known people to have 2 consoles for this reason (an extra one so that they can pirate without being kicked off their beloved CoD account). But, most people don't seem to bother with that.

          Generally speaking, PCs will have higher rates of piracy because they're an open platform where people are encouraged to mod their systems, compared to consoles where they're discouraged and locked down. You're free to disagree here, but if you're not basing your opinion on up-to-date evidence, I don't think you're correct.

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

  • icon
    PaulT (profile), 1 Feb 2017 @ 12:42am

    "Currently, tens of thousands of pirates are grabbing the 23GB download."

    I wonder how many of those are actually lost sales, compared to the people who were waiting until reviews came out (since the last one was rubbish), waiting for the inevitable discounts or waiting till they can afford to upgrade to a PS4 Pro for the VR (i.e. not wanting to buy the game twice but not wanting to buy the potentially inferior one first). Plus, the people who won't buy a Denuvo infected game to begin with.

    As always, there's plenty of factors that go into potential lost sales, but they obsess over the one they can pretend to be beyond their direct control.

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

    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 1 Feb 2017 @ 1:30am

      Re:

      Yep. And despite all the piracy the game is doing well. Despite all the apocalyptic, flesh eating piracy Hollywood set record revenues again last year. So much for such a crippling problem.

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

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 1 Feb 2017 @ 2:32am

        Re: Re:

        Doesn't count.

        Much like record breaking theater profits it doesn't matter how much something made with the existence of piracy, because clearly were it not for piracy every game, movie and song would be bringing in quadrillions of dollars each.

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

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 1 Feb 2017 @ 2:59am

          Re: Re: Re:

          By all accounts, RE7 is doing well because they ditched the changes in the series that fans hated and returned to its roots, making a good game in the process. They need to keep the piracy excuse ready for when they next release a bad game or otherwise drop the ball. Any drop in sales has to be something they can't be held directly accountable for the stockholders.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Feb 2017 @ 5:02am

    oh yeah?

    Submit DNA Sample Then Press Start

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

  • icon
    aerinai (profile), 1 Feb 2017 @ 5:44am

    Denuvo -- The Game

    Once Denuvo made the outlandish claim that it was unhackable, they painted a target on their own back.

    So at least from one perspective, they were giving the gift of a second 'free' game with each copy they sold! The winner gets bragging rights, and Denuvo's cash cow gets slain... talk about high steaks (sorry, I couldn't help myself).

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

  • identicon
    blah, 1 Feb 2017 @ 6:49am

    no worries

    75% of people dont even have the min spec to runthe game nice

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

  • icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 1 Feb 2017 @ 7:50am

    There's only one thing left for Denuvo to do...

    Promote its success story to the government while pushing for its software to be made mandatory. After all, their specialty is keeping the bad guys out while letting the good guys have access. Sound familiar?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Feb 2017 @ 10:06am

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Feb 2017 @ 10:55am

    I believe there's another interpretation to the sales numbers, and it's one most people don't want to hear on sites like this: The average gamer doesn't give a rat's ass about DRM strategies, they just want to play the game regardless. If they really cared they wouldn't be buying DRM'd games and walled garden hardware like the Xbox and Playstations. We can complain all we want about DRM, but in the end, enough people's wallets say "we don't care" that the CEOs of the big publishing houses say "we don't care what you think of DRM, it stays".

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 1 Feb 2017 @ 2:39pm

      Re:

      Most people don't care, or are even aware of DRM, no... right until the server goes down and their 'single player' game can't start, or something happens and their paid for copy is tagged as a pirated one and refuses to work, or the DRM causes their game to not work in some other way, at which point they get to learn about the wonders of DRM the hard way, and getting them to pay the next time becomes that much harder.

      After all, if they're going to be treated like a criminal even after paying, then why pay in the first place?

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

  • icon
    Monday (profile), 1 Feb 2017 @ 11:11am

    Great Game of Wits.

    This is kinda exciting! I would really like a comment from both the winners and losers as I'd like to know if *Denuvo* has been resting on their laurels, or have they simply reached the evolutionary end of the "*unbreakable*"code they created? or, are the Hackers getting really freakin' smart at their game?

    I think this is fun and exciting. I realize there are tens if a hundred and tens of millions of dollars at stake, but these are the things I need to know.

    I don't know about the rest of you'z... :)

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


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