Game Developer: Just Wait Until The Game Is Cracked And Then We'll Patch Denuvo Out; Game Gets Cracked Immediately

from the facepalm dept

By now you likely know that Denuvo, the DRM once thought to be the end of piracy, is in what looks like a losing battle for relevance. The DRM's ability to keep piracy groups from cracking video games went from months to weeks to days over the span of a year or so, with its Version 3 roll-out defeated so quickly that I could barely keep up writing the post about its demise. Reactions among game developers has varied, with some developers refusing to use Denuvo entirely, while others silently patched it out of their games once those games have been cracked. From the perspective of the gamer, of course, this all appears to be every bit as silly as every other DRM that has ever been used. Denuvo tends to annoy legitimate game buyers at best, while the pirates, against whom it is meant to fight, appear to have defeated it completely.

And so the real story now is in watching how gaming companies are going to behave in this new reality where Denuvo has been neutered and gamers are revolting. Tequila Works, an indie developer responsible for Rime, has a take that ought to indicate exactly what the state of Denuvo's DRM is.

“We have had discussions about Denuvo internally, and one of the key points of all of those discussions have simply been, we want to ensure the best gaming experience for RiME players. RiME is a very personal experience told through both sight and sound. When a game is cracked, it runs the risk of creating issues with both of those items, and we want to do everything we can to preserve this quality in RiME.

We are very committed to this, but also to the simple fact that nothing is infallible. That being said, if RIME is cracked we will release a Denuvo free version of RiME and update existing platforms.”

As you may be aware, mere days after putting this statement out there, RiME's Denuvo protection was cracked. There is some additional information, revealed by the person who cracked the game, regarding the performance issues Denuvo's software created as the company desperately tried to keep RiME secure and get itself a win, but we'll leave that to a separate post. For now, we'll focus on Tequila Works' making good on its promise almost as quickly as Denuvo was cracked.

The studio tweeted that it plans to release a DRM-free version of Rime in the future, saying that "a promise is a promise." In the same tweet, the studio also pushed the blame of implementing Denuvo into the game to Grey Box, saying that “we didn’t implement that protection in the 1st [sic] place.”

The time for pushing around responsibility for using Denuvo is long past over. This DRM is so laughably ineffective at this point, and impacts only legitimate customers in a very negative way, that this disaster needs to become an industry black sheep post-haste. Game developers partnering with anyone looking to use Denuvo need to understand that they are almost certainly going to piss off their own customers. That's not a good way to do business.

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Filed Under: cracks, denuvo, drm, games, rime
Companies: tequila works


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  1. identicon
    Thad, 5 Jun 2017 @ 5:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Sims

    You have that reversed. It's Apple that has the OS-level DRM, not Windows.

    I've never replaced a component in a Mac and had it refuse to boot because it didn't think it was running on the same hardware.

    Which is why Windows can run on a VERY wide variety of hardware - including Apple's - but Mac OS / OS X runs only on Apple's hardware.

    I wouldn't classify that as DRM at all; I'd call it driver support. If you install compatible kexts and a compatible bootloader, OSX will run on arbitrary hardware; it's just unsupported.

    (Its licenses and suit against Psystar are a separate issue. I'm not a fan, but they're not DRM, they're something else.)

    You can burn a MacOS installer to a disc or a jump drive and it'll install on any Mac with hardware support for it; no license key, no online authentication, no check of any kind to confirm the purchase (and this was true even before they went to free-as-in-beer OS updates).

    If a lack of hardware support is DRM, then certainly MS's decision to disable Windows Update on Win7/8 installations running on Kabylake processors would qualify as such too.

    The big problem with Windows XP - from back in 2003 - is that people keep using it because today's apps still run on it. My iMacs from the same year were fully obsolete - no new software available - by 2008.

    Yeah, I've got an '06 Mac Pro that won't run a modern Mac OS because of its 32-bit EFI. It's infuriating. I'm not defending Apple's pattern of planned obsolescene, I'm just saying it's not the same thing as DRM.

    But what I'm talking about, specifically, is XP's hardware check. If too many components in your computer change, it flags it as a different computer and refuses to run. Again, this happened to me some years back during simple troubleshooting steps -- I didn't even change components, I simply unplugged them, booted, shut down, plugged them back in, and booted again, but that was enough to trip up the "you're running on unauthorized hardware" detector.

    I don't know if Windows still does that or not; I wouldn't be surprised if Win10 dropped it given that they were pushing adoption so hard they gave it away for free. But it was certainly an issue when WinXP first came out.

    At least, the retail version. As far as I know, MS never pulled that crap with volume licensing.


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