News

by Timothy Geigner


Filed Under:
cheating, drm, piracy, video games

Companies:
denuvo, irdeto



Denuvo Announces Plan To Fail To Combat Online Game Cheaters After Failing To Stop Piracy With Its DRM

from the fail-train dept

For years now, we have discussed Denuvo's reputation sliding from being once thought of as the potential ender of video game piracy to just another DRM corpse fit for the funeral pyre. Despite this precipitous fall, we also discussed a few months back that the company had been bought by another security company, Irdeto. While the announcement of the deal was generally bizarre, with Irdeto referring to Denuvo as the "world leader" in gaming security, we mentioned at the time that Irdeto is mostly invested in anti-cheating platforms for online gaming. It seemed likely that Irdeto thought that Denuvo's tech might somehow fit into that chief offering.

And now, with an announcement from Irdeto, it indeed seems that Denuvo is pivoting to combating online cheating.

Today, Iredeto announced that they’re joining the Esports Integrity Coalition (ESIC). And perhaps more importantly, Denuvo will soon launch its own anti-cheat technology to help solve this problem.

“Denuvo’s Anti-Cheat technology, which is soon to be launched as a full end-to-end solution, will prevent hackers in multiplayer games from manipulating and distorting data and code to gain an advantage over other gamers or bypass in-game micro-transactions,” the company says.

On the one hand, look, cheaters in online games suck out loud. These cheaters break the online gaming experience for all the non-cheaters out there. Perhaps more importantly, anti-cheating software is going to become a very real market ripe to be exploited, given the explosive growth in competitive online eSports and online gaming in general. If any company or group of companies could manage to end this infestation for gamers, they'd deserve a hero's parade.

On the other hand: this is Denuvo. Few companies have rivaled Denuvo's boisterous claims and posture coupled with the failure of its product. It would be very easy to change out the references to anti-cheating software in the Irdeto quote above and replace them with references to Denuvo's DRM and map that onto how Denuvo talked about its DRM product but a few years ago. Same promises, different product. I can only assume that anyone partnering with Irdeto for Denuvo anti-cheating software are basing that decision more on the reputation of Irdeto than Denuvo.

I have no idea if Denuvo will be successful in stamping out online gaming cheating. But, given the company's history of failure, I know where I'd place my chips if put to a bet.


Reader Comments

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  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 27 Aug 2018 @ 12:35pm

    Well, it could always be worse: They could be making actual games.

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

    • icon
      Mason Wheeler (profile), 27 Aug 2018 @ 1:19pm

      Re:

      That wouldn't be worse; that would mean they're actually putting their development resources to a productive use that (presumably) people actually want!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Aug 2018 @ 12:38pm

    Anti-cheat companies always confuse me. In the non-gaming realm you have a security team dedicated to making sure everything is locked down and users can only use the system as intended. Sure sometimes you are too small, or you have a huge expansion coming up so you get a professional security contractor to come in and shake everything down in the short term but you don't long term outsource this stuff out. This is integral to your software.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Aug 2018 @ 7:07pm

      Re:

      This is integral to your software.

      On the server side.

      Denuvo is designed as a plug 'n play DRM solution for end-user systems. I have no doubt that they intend to pull a Nintendo and push the idea of Remote Attestation as the answer to online cheating with whatever product they are making here.

      You will always have malicious actors, assuming trust in whatever they say is defeat by default.

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

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 27 Aug 2018 @ 12:51pm

    Most anti-cheating mechanisms are just fireworks at best and a hindrance for non-cheaters at worst. I said most. In any case, given how Denuvo DRM was both I would bet with you.

    Still, I seriously hope somebody can come with a cheat-proof system. Maybe when games start being streamed to users pcs instead of running on them? (God forbid this becomes the norm)

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Aug 2018 @ 5:39am

      Re:

      It's about validating user input. Most cheats are pretty dumb and these companies are ever dumber.

      Take just about any first/third person game out there. You send updates to a server telling the server where you are. Server sends that information out.

      If you have a modicum of technical acuity you can hijack these update bursts to tell the server you are in the air. And if the game developers never put in any logic to validate inputs to at least say "There is no way this character moved from sea level to 1000ft into the air in an instant" the server will just accept that the character is flying in the air.

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

  • identicon
    Baron von Robber, 27 Aug 2018 @ 1:14pm

    Denuvo: Expanding our incompetence into new fields!

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

  • icon
    Gary (profile), 27 Aug 2018 @ 1:16pm

    Side Effects

    Most anti-cheat software is pretty harmless.
    Although some of it will start scanning things outside of it's legitimate role, run when you aren't using the game, phone home, or shut your game down because it decides legitimate software is a threat to the game.
    It's easy to make krap software. Not so easy to protect the online game without screwing up your PC.
    VAC was horrible because it messed with your PC in bizarre ways.
    CS:GO is notorious for having ineffective anti-cheat in place.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Aug 2018 @ 1:31pm

      Re: Side Effects

      scanning things outside of it's legitimate role, run when you aren't using the game, phone home, or shut your game down because it decides legitimate software is a threat to the game

      How is all that "pretty harmless"? And how is that better than VAC? All VAC does is detect if you are using a cheat when playing online and ban you from playing on official servers. Most of that all takes place server-side and doesn't affect the client at all, or your ability to play on unofficial servers.

      Perhaps you meant EA and Origin? Or maybe Sony?

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

      • icon
        nasch (profile), 28 Aug 2018 @ 12:27pm

        Re: Re: Side Effects

        How is all that "pretty harmless"?

        "Most anti-cheat software is pretty harmless. Although some of it will start scanning things..."

        Emphasis added.

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

  • identicon
    Shmerl, 27 Aug 2018 @ 1:35pm

    Some of the most disgusting developers ever. They really have nothing better to create?

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

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 27 Aug 2018 @ 1:37pm

    Anti cheating..

    On competition??

    THEY USE THEIR OWN COMPUTERS...NOT the Players..
    Its the only way to make SURe things are equal, and the players DONT need to carry a WHOLE COMPUTER AROUND..

    They MIGHT bring a few hardware parts they USE...but NO programming..

    So this is TOTALLY stupid.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Aug 2018 @ 4:38pm

      Re: Anti cheating..

      There is a lot of pre-finals/championships gaming going on outside of the arena. Gamers use their own machines from home while climbing the ladders to get into that top-10 spot. This is still an important protection but Denuvo is probably not the right company to provide it.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Aug 2018 @ 9:27am

      Re: Anti cheating..

      Performance-enhancing drugs should also be a concern to people worried about cheating.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Aug 2018 @ 1:38pm

    *sigh*

    There's no technical details, but it seems pretty likely, from how they've done things in the past, they their 'anti-cheat' software will run on the clients, as a form of DRM (which means those games will lose any chance of working on Linux+wine for example).

    It seems pretty obviously to me that any attempt to secure a persons machine against the machines owner is doomed to fail (even if it succeeds, you are now a thief because you've stolen control form someone of their property).
    Any anti cheating measure should always be on the server

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

    • identicon
      Christenson, 27 Aug 2018 @ 1:55pm

      Re: *sigh*

      Umm, this is *exactly* the same as copy protection...it can only work if my computer isn't actually mine, and even then...
      (Sets a second computer in front of the untouched one playing the game, trains the camera on the screen, and plugs in the USB carrying the keyboard and mouse data...)

      And when is it cheating, if I need to use screen-reader software?

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 27 Aug 2018 @ 1:59pm

        Re: Re: *sigh*

        I think you missed my point.
        My point was anti-cheating (to be effective) should be done server side, where the users can't modify it.
        Yes there may still be ways they can circumvent it, but at least in is on solid theoretical grounds (where as client side is not). And it has the shocking value add of being more future proof (updates to the anti-cheating compontent may not even require a client update for one thing)

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

        • identicon
          Christenson, 27 Aug 2018 @ 2:29pm

          Re: Re: Re: *sigh*

          Server side is indeed *a little* better, but what if I hire a Canadian to stand in and level up my character??? What if I have a robot outside my computer do it?

          Both are basically impossible to prevent.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 27 Aug 2018 @ 4:40pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: *sigh*

            Neither of those are important factors to e-sports and not something any anti-cheat software attempts to prevent.

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

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 27 Aug 2018 @ 2:45pm

      Re: *sigh*

      There's no technical details, but it seems pretty likely, from how they've done things in the past, they their 'anti-cheat' software will run on the clients, as a form of DRM (which means those games will lose any chance of working on Linux+wine for example).

      I found it quite interesting that Valve's Steam Play announcement explicitly discouraged publishers from using "invasive third-party DRM middleware, as they sometimes prevent compatibility features from working as intended." They didn't mention Denuvo explicitly, but it was pretty clear that was what they were talking about.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Aug 2018 @ 4:37pm

    Hang on a minute you bunch of cynical meanies. There is every chance Denuvo will make a totally awesome anti cheat software suite. With the added file size, restricted internet pipe, extreme lag, cheaters will be forced to have the same crappy experience as everyone else.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Grande and Cox, 27 Aug 2018 @ 4:56pm

    Did you guys miss the important part of the quote? The one big use of denuvo's anti-cheat is probably going to be making sure nobody cheat engines the in-app purchases. It won't matter if a game isn't multiplayer; they'll carry that experience to singleplayer games.

    Denuvo, your reputation is tarnished anyway. Don't think that going after the "eviiil cheaters who ruin our gamez" will make you any more beloved. You closing down would actually help a lot more than you going after "eviiil cheaters."

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

  • icon
    Mononymous Tim (profile), 27 Aug 2018 @ 8:40pm

    ..full end-to-end solution..

    Considering they obscured the actual game code with tons of CPU wasting garbage code, get ready for major bandwidth wasting garbage data to obscure the actual data.

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

  • icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 28 Aug 2018 @ 1:10am

    I have a better solution than a highly-valued company: It's called "gamers". Shh. I want to patent them.

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


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