Salzburg-based software company Denuvo first released its anti-tamper DRM (digital rights management software) in 2014. Most game developers and publishers quickly opted to adopt Denuvo in an effort to protect launch sales. with its hard-to-crack software.
However, its application gave rise to several controversies. In some games like Tekken 7 and Sonic Mania Plus, the Denuvo implementation was heavy on the CPU, resulting in worse performance than the DRM-free versions of these games. In other cases, such as Final Fantasy XV: Windows Edition, extensive testing exonerated Denuvo from causing performance degradation.
The debate continues to this day, which makes most PC gamers very happy whenever a developer decides to remove DRM from their game. CAPCOM, for example, has a habit of doing this a year or two after release, as we’ve seen with Devil May Cry 5 and Resident Evil Village.
However, Denuvo hasn’t resigned itself to the idea of being the scapegoat for any poor PC port. In an interview published a couple of days ago in Ars Technica, Steeve Huin (COO of Videogames at Irdeto, the company that acquired Denuvo in 2018) publicly defended anti-tampering DRM.
Players almost never have access to the same version of a protected and unprotected game. Throughout the life of the game, there might be a protected version and an unprotected version, but they are not comparable because they are different builds for six months, many bug fixes, etc., which could make it better or worse. We put effort into enforcing security and validating that performance is as it was and unaffected… In the case of tamper protection, I think there is a clear statement that there is no discernible impact to gameplay due to the way in which we do things.
Huin understands that his word is not enough for PC gamers. As such, he revealed that Irdeto intends to allow select outlets to test nearly identical versions of a game with and without Denuvo.
Unfortunately, our voice is not enough to convince people because their minds don’t trust us as a starting point in that debate. You’ll see for yourself that the performance is comparable, identical… and that would provide something the community would hopefully trust.
The program, which is scheduled to begin in the next few months, should lead to independent tests that Huin hopes will persuade PC gamers that Denuvo isn’t a problem when it comes to performance.
It goes without saying that we will be contacting Irdeto to request access to the program so that we can offer you this newly announced standalone test whenever it becomes available.
Interestingly, Huin admitted later in the interview that Denuvo could affect performance slightly, to the tune of less than one percent. However, he was referring to anti-cheat software, which is separate from anti-tampering DRM and, as far as we know, is also much less popular among game developers, who tend to use BattlEye, EasyAntiCheat, or Valve Anti-Cheat. . id Software experimented with Denuvo Anti-Cheat in DOOM Eternal, but removed it in the 1.1 update.
Huin also mentioned that the company will focus more on anti-cheat technologies and its variations as they are pro-consumer. For example, Denuvo released a bot detection technology called Unbotify earlier this year, which also monitors auto-aiming controllers and the like.
On the other hand, the interview did not refer to the protection software of the Nintendo Switch emulator. Originally introduced by Denuvo in August 2022 (with no input from Nintendo), it doesn’t seem to have taken hold, especially since Nintendo Switch games are still available from day one (or even earlier, in some cases) via PC emulators. like Yuzu and Ryujinx.