Denuvo Strikes Back: The DRM Has Been Patched And Is Working... For Now

from the drms-race dept

The recent saga of Denuvo DRM has been fairly fast moving as these things go. Once thought to be the DRM unicorn that video game makers had dreamed of for years, the time it took for cracks to be released for Denuvo-protected games shrunk to months, then weeks, and finally days. It seemed for all the world like Denuvo was destined for the grave.

But these things don't always progress in linear fashion. The recently released Bioware title Mass Effect: Andromeda was patched recently for a variety of gameplay functions. Unheralded in the patch notes was the updated version of Denuvo included within it. That updated version appears to be setting back cracking groups, forcing Mass Effect pirates into using the older, pre-patched version of the game.

The CPY collective released a crack for version 1.04 of Mass Effect: Andromeda just ten days after its release, making it the latest in a long string ofgames to see its previously unbreakable Denuvo anti-tamper technology quickly crumble. But after last week's version 1.05 update to the game, Reddit user NTStatus noticed that the game's executable now includes a new reference to an "InjectableGTPSteam.pdb" file.

That same file path can be found in games like Dead Rising 4, 2Dark, and Nier: Automata, recently released titles known to use a revamped version of Denuvo, which launched in February and has yet to be cracked. Games like For Honor and Sniper Elite 4 are now approaching two months on the market with this new and improved Denuvo protection intact, showing that Denuvo's latest volley in the battle against piracy seems to be holding for now.

No sane observer expected the Denuvo folks to simply admit defeat and lay down their arms. It was obvious from the outset that the DRM would be updated in an attempt to stave off the cracking groups that had previously turned the security software into so much Swiss cheese. But it's equally obvious that this is an arms race that will continue on the other side as well, making it ultimately a losing proposition. On a long enough timeline, DRM fails. Always. Even game developers and the DRM makers themselves admit as much, with much of the focus and reasoning for using DRM at all turning on the axis of the pivotal early release sales window for games. The reason why the Denuvo stories from months past were so problematic is that a cracking time of mere days destroys that rationale for using DRM. The updated version restores that rationale... for now.

Meanwhile, it's worth repeating that other game developers are embracing better ways to attract both fans and money, typically in the form of fostering bonding connections with fans that keep them from wanting to play great games for free without compensating the creators. It's not as though examples don't abound of DRM-less games raking in huge amounts of money. They do, which makes one shake their head at the DRM arms race all the more.

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Filed Under: cracks, denuvo, drm, patched, video games


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2017 @ 4:26pm

    Re: Re: If gamers weren't so stupid, this would already be over

    The larger companies were once smaller companies. How did they manage to grow, despite using DRM?

    Because stupid gamers supported them. They bought their products, thus not only providing them with the income necessary to grow, but giving them positive feedback, i.e., "DRM is acceptable to us and you should keep using it".

    Had gamers, as a whole, strictly boycotted anything and everything with any form of DRM, no matter how benign, then the steady stream of articles about game DRM here on TD wouldn't exist, because there wouldn't be any game DRM to write about. I don't blame the gaming companies: yes, they're assholes, but they're vastly smarter than their customers, because they've managed to convince gamers to buy their crap despite the fact that it's crippled garbage. The gaming companies are doing what maximizes profits, and that means using DRM.

    Gamers could STILL change this by starting right now, today, en masse, absolutely swearing off any game with any form of DRM. Give it a year or two, DRM would be gone from the market, because the gaming companies would either pull it or go under. But gamers are too stupid, too weak, too pitifully inadequate to make this very simple thing happen.

    No, instead they'll rush out to stores at midnight to buy the latest game because they are so easily manipulated by the gaming companies, who've turned this bullshit PR stunt into an event. And then they'll buy add-ons, and upgrades, and everything else, and THEN they'll whine about the DRM that they just paid for.

    I'll stop pointing out that gamers are stupid when gamers stop BEING stupid.

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