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. icon
    PaulT (profile), 19 Apr 2017 @ 12:05am

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

    What I find fascinating about this kind of argument is that it assumes that everyone's making the same purchases and making the same complaints.

    This is completely untrue. The people whining about the new Transformers movie, for example, are often people who haven't paid for the last 3 but still see a new one getting made while their favoured movie type is not. The people whining about the bad movies are not the people paying for them.

    Hell, look at the facts. Transformers 4 made nearly $100 million less at the US box office, but it's deemed a success because it got a huge amount of business from China. The guy who refused to buy a ticket in the US is not the person to blame for the next one.

    You argument is a lie so long as you pretend that everyone you're complaining about is a single group with the same opinion. It's easy, but it's completely false. Just because a popular trend goes one way, that doesn't mean that there's not the same number of people fighting against it. The guy who blindly buys a Transformers 5 ticket is going to have his voice heard more than the guy who decides to avoid that crapfest and do something else.

    "But damnit the will line up on release day to drop $60 on it so why would any game maker tell them to stop?"

    Again "them" includes people who refuse to do this, never pay full price, never buy on launch day and never buy from any outlet that uses DRM. But, you still blame them for the problems with the industry and attack them when they say they're tired of the industry going against them

    Stop lying about people, maybe they won't annoy you so much when you start dealing with real opinions.

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