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id Software Clarifies Denuvo Technology Wasn't Responsible For Doom Eternal Issues Following Update 1

id Software's Marty Stratton clarified the issues introduced in Doom Eternal following its Update 1. Via a Reddit post, the developer informed its audience that Denuvo's introduction into the game with Update 1 (a move that sparked a review-bomb on Steam and a quick backpedaling from the company regarding its inclusion) said that the anti-cheat software actually wasn't responsible for the reported issues.

The developer said that the actual performance issues introduced with Update 1 lie in changes in the graphics memory handling code, as well as some bugs introduced alongside customizable skins. The developer also went on to say that the decision to include Denuvo post-release wasn't one forced by publisher Bethesda, but an entirely in-house one, and that the subsequent decision to remove the protection has nothing to do with Denuvo's software quality. Of course, the addition of an always-on DRM solution to Doom Eternal as a post-release patch still stands, as users that previously acquired the game did so without knowledge of its eventual addition. Look after the break for a complete transcript on the comment.

id Software Backpedals on Doom Eternal Denuvo DRM Retrofit

Someone at Bethesda or id Software thought it was a good idea to retrofit "Doom Eternal" with the vastly unpopular Denuvo DRM as an anti-cheat component, two months following its March launch, as part of "Update 1" (a major game patch). This invited the wrath of gamers as they review-bombed the game on Steam. The game's executive producer Marty Stratton took to Reddit, to announce that Denuvo will be removed in the game's next update (without announcing a timeline), while defending it. Stratton maintains that the performance issues noticed in Update 1 are not related to the Denuvo implementation. If you've read our comprehensive review of Denuvo, where we go into the technical aspects of the DRM solution, you'll know that it can be implemented in a number of ways, some of which inflict performance penalties.
Image Courtesy Modern Vintage Gamer

Adobe Pulls the Plug on Venezuela, Thousands of CC Users Cut off From Their Apps

With U.S. economic sanctions on Venezuela taking effect, Adobe discontinued its Creative Cloud (CC) subscription service in the country, stranding thousands of creators without their creative apps. Adobe switched to SaaS-only in several markets and the only legal way for creators to use popular Adobe apps such as Photoshop, Premier, Acrobat, Lightroom, and Illustrator, is through CC. Much like Steam, CC is a DRM platform that lets you subscribe to Adobe apps on monthly or annual payment plans, and provides you with the latest versions of the apps, with regular updates. You also get access to cloud-storage an asset library, and a social network of creators.

Adobe's exit from Venezuela isn't sudden, the company has given Venezuelan creators until October 28th to download any content stored on their accounts. From October 29th, Adobe's servers will longer respond to requests from Venezuela. This also means Creative Cloud apps will break. CC authenticates users by dialing home each time an app is launched. If a user is falling behind on subscription payments or if the app can't reach Adobe servers, they are usually given a 14-day grace period before the app stops working. Executive Order 13884 signed by President Trump strips Venezuela of all U.S. businesses, which would include payment processors such as Visa and MasterCard.

Rage 2 Both Featured and Didn't Feature Denuvo on Release, Bethesda Removes the DRM From Steam Store Version

This is an interesting way to go about implementing DRM in the form of Denuvo - include it in one digital store release, but don't use it on another. This is what Bethesda has apparently done with the game, releasing a non-Denuvo enabled version of the game on their Bethesda Store, whilst offering a Denuvo-inclusive version on the Steam Store - without warning users of this feature on the platform.

After considerable outcry from buyers of the game, who weren't made aware of Denuvo's inclusion, Bethesda has promptly removed the DRM suite from the Steam release, meaning that it is now at parity with the version being distributed on the Bethesda Store. Whether the non-inclusion of Denuvo on the Bethesda store was a matter of making the wrong executable available only the company knows, but it's strange to license the DRM for a single store release - and Bethesda sure didn't include it "accidentally" on the Steam version, which makes the act of not listing it a debatable one. Of course, with one version not sporting the DRM, release groups have already started distributing the game in a cracked state, which obviously invalidates any protection Denuvo might provide.

Free Game Alert: GOG Offering The Witcher

The grander the stories, usually, the humbler the beginnings. And so it was for CD Projekt Red with its first adaptation of The Witcher, Wiedźmin, based on Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski's work. The original The Witcher game was built by a CD Projekt Red that had no internal engine, and thus, had to license (then free from EA) developer Bioware's proprietary Aurora engine (used on that company's original neverwinter Nights and expansion packs).

Now, you can have this piece of CD Projekt Red's history for free. Just head on to GOG and you can snag yourself a free, DRM-less copy of the game, including some digital goodies (You'll have to download GWENT, CD Projekt Red's card game, then click on the "Get GWENT card + The Witcher for free" banner. The original game was far, far simpler - and, at the same time, more complex - than its sequels. The version on offer is the definitive one, in the form of the Enhanced Edition: CD Projekt dedicated even more time to polishing the game over the original: it includes over 200 new animations, additional NPC models and recoloring of generic NPC models as well as monsters; vastly expanded and corrected dialogues in translated versions, improved stability, redesigned inventory system and load times reduced by roughly 80%. And if that's not enough, the protagonist has white hair! And if you didn't already know: there's a Netflix series incoming.

SEGA Confirms Intention to Keep Using Denuvo On Its New Releases

SEGA has confirmed that they are planning to use Denuvo on its future releases (subject to change, of course). The company's affirmation comes hot on the heels of the recent Resident Evil 2's executable release on Steam that didn't pack in the custom-tailored DRM solution, which saw users flying to test the impact of the Denuvo DRM on the games' performance. A difference of 4-12 FPS in the same game and system configurations (in favor of the DRM-less version) have been reported by users that benchmarked both releases, which does amount to a discernible difference in final frame output.

Following the public's reaction to this, SEGA has reaffirmed, in an answer of sorts, that their upcoming Total War: THREE KINGDOMS (May 23rd release) and Team Sonic Racing (May 21st release) will still be using Denuvo so as to protect early sales of the titles. It's interesting that the company has already removed the protection system from Yakuza 0, Yakuza Kiwami and Sonic Mania, and has recently released Yakuza Kiwami 2 without the same tech. It seems that the higher profile the release, the more SEGA tends to opt for the anti-tamper tech - which does make some sense in the grand scheme of things.

Denuvo 5.6, Used in Both Metro Exodus and Far Cry New Dawn, Cracked in Five Days; UWP for Crackdown 3 Bypassed

New game releases with newly-revamped Denuvo protection, and new cracked versions of those games - all in less than five days after release. For now, only Metro Exodus is cracked, though the fact that Far Cry New Dawn makes use of the same version does little to inspire confidence in its continued resistance. The tale is becoming older and older, and the question in most anyone's mind is whether there is actually any financial incentive for developers/publishers to go after Denuvo's protections against cheaper option, because it seems that Denuvo is failing to guarantee even that brief time-window that is always brought about when it comes to new game releases.

Most Denuvo-protected games have been cracked in less than a week after release, and things haven't been improving for some time now. Whether or not it makes sense to keep a team of software engineers working on such a product is also a question that would be well-posed to Denuvo. But not only Denuvo and its DRM solutions are falling short, since it seems that Microsoft's own UWP-protected Crackdown 3, which finally released after a very early 2015 reveal, has also been cracked.

Is Denuvo Falling Out of Favor? Another Bandai Namco Release Sheds the DRM Tech

Denuvo's technology has fallen out of efficacy, at least, with recent game releases sporting the technology being, overall, quickly cracked (some exceptions, that confirm the rule, exist, of course). However, the usual sales pitch of "protecting games' launch windows, where most of the revenue is made" hasn't been reflected on some of the high profile game releases as of late. While the market has kept using Denuvo technology as a DRM ftowards curbing piracy efforts, it seems that the technology's cost-to-profit ratio isn't working out so well for some companies to include it - such as Bandai Namco.

the company has recently launched God Eater 3, which shunned the Denuvo DRM solution in favor of more classic solutions (Steam). Ace Combat 7 still included the protection, and stands uncracked as of yet (12 days and counting). God Eater 3, which launched 4 days later, didn't include the protection, and the company's Jump Force videogame, launched just yesterday, didn't pack Denuvo either. This means that these two latest game releases have already been cracked, while Ace Combat 7 is holding out strong. Perhaps this signals an experiment being taken on at Bandai Namco's headquarters regarding the benefits of Denuvo usage, though it seems that a game like Ace Combat 7, which will likely sell particularly well in the western market compared to the other releases, did justify Denuvo more than the other releases - but only Bandai Namco knows whether this signals a shift in direction or not.

CDKOffers Lets You Save Big on Genuine Software and Games

CDKOffers is a new online retailer selling genuine license keys to popular software and games, letting you save over 80% on your software costs for new PC builds. Licenses to popular software such as Windows 10 Pro operating systems and Office 2016 Professional Plus productivity suite are so cheap, that you'd rather buy new keys than hassle porting your old OEM key between motherboards. Globally-valid Windows 10 Pro OEM keys go for as less as USD $14.52, while globally-valid lifetime Office 2016 Professional Plus keys go for $36.87, which is less than half what you'd pay for an annual subscription for Office 365. While you'd on the site, you can also check out their jaw-dropping deals on game keys and in-game credit vouchers, which you can redeem on popular DRM platforms such as Steam, UPlay, Xbox Live, etc.

Buy Windows 10 Pro OEM from CDKOffers | Buy Office 2016 Professional Plus from CDKOffers

One more thing, use coupon code "TP20" for a further 25 percent off on the already discounted price!

Epic Games Begins Moving its Games Off Steam and on to its Own Store Platform

Epic Games is moving its entire collection of digitally-sold games away from Steam, and on to its own new store+DRM platform rivaling Steam, Origin, and UPlay. The new Epic Games Store plans not only to sell games published by Epic, but also other third-party publishers, to whom Epic is promising an 88% revenue share (keeping a 12% thin margin for handing DRM, unlimited downloads, and update patch distribution). For comparison, Steam rakes in a 30% margin. Epic is offering additional incentives to third-party game studios who use Unreal Engine. Epic Games titles are being pulled out from Steam store. The move does not affect people who already own Epic titles on Steam, as future re-installs and patch updates will continue.

Valeroa, Denuvo Competitor, Overcome Two Days After City Patrol: Police is Released

We recently covered Valeroa, a tentative new entry into the anti-tamper-tech industry. Valeroa tries to skirt the line of being called a full DRM solution with some non-intrusive choices in its design(which still remains much of a mystery). According to the company, "only a handful of functions are protected by Valeroa; this technique doesn't even require an internet connection, it doesn't read or write the hard drive continuously and "does not limit the number of daily installations or changes of hardware". The company's motto is that games with their protection "Cannot be cracked within reasonable time".

Well, crackers took that as a "Challenge Accepted" type of claim, and took to City Patrol: Police to test Valeroa's claims. The result was that the game was cracked just two days after release. Whether or not this means protection was assured for a reasonable time is something to be discussed between Valeroa, City Patrol: Police's publisher Toplitz, the developer (Caipirinha Games) and other companies that might be in the discussion table to use Valeroa's solution. This wasn't such a high-profile release, either; imagine this was a juicy target, such as any new AAA game, and it's likely the cracking procedure would have lasted even less time.

Valeroa Anti-Tamper Tech Tries To Protect Initial Sales, "Cannot Be Cracked Within Reasonable Time"

The launch period of a game is the most important from the sales perspective, and piracy can seriously damage those initial earnings. Several anti-tamper systems have been launched to avoid this, but none seems to be really effective. Denuvo is well know on this front, but its protection has been defeated over and over (and over) again, for example. There's a new anti-tamper technology called Valeroa to fight these issues, and its approach is somewhat different.

As the developers explain, Valeroa "is not a DRM" and it doesn't affect the performance of games because "only a handful of functions are protected by Valeroa". This technique doesn't even require an internet connection, it doesn't read or write the hard drive continuously and "does not limit the number of daily installations or changes of hardware". The most interesting bit comes with its approach to the actual protection, which according to their developers Valeroa "is extremely difficult to crack before and closely after the game release date. The protection becomes a lot easier to crack after a predefined period".

GOG Joins the Black Friday Sales Craze with up to 90% Off in DRM-Free Games

GOG, the store-front for DRM-less game titles from CD Projekt Red, have also joined in on the Black Friday craze. It's just so much of what makes the world great - from hardware to software - that's vying for our limited wallets that it's hard to know how to focus - unless you have a pretty strong will to commit to your pre-made listings (which you did do; right?).

The DRM-less storefront is listing titles with up to 90% discounts over their current RRP. This includes gems you can only find on GOG such as the Soldier of Fortune Titles, CD Projekt Red's The Witcher games, all manner of older Fallout and The Elder Scrolls titles, Spore (remember that one?) Stellaris, Battletech... As well as many more, less-mainstream offerings. Go on over to GOG - the sale is live through November 27th.

Another Denuvo Version Falls: Hitman 2 Cracked Days Before Official Release

Well, Hitman 2 has been released, really, but only for special edition buyers, who are able to get their hands on the game where you kill Sean Bean (one of the most killed actors of all time, if I recall correctly). However, the official launch date really is set for tomorrow, so the title is still accurate. And providing the title early for special edition buyers has turned the tides on Warner Bro's decision, and put the pressure on Denuvo... Again. the DRM used on Hitman 2 stands at version number 5.3, but a single day after the game was made available to early players, on November 9th, Denuvo was gone.

That's not much to say on protecting the most critical cycle on any new game release: as Irdeto, Denuvo's parent company, puts it, the first 14 days. You can read the entire press release where Irdeto explains their market understanding after the break. The fact of the matter, however, seems to be that hackers are getting better and better and understanding and circumventing Denuvo's efforts.

Latest DENUVO Version 5.2 Already Cracked, Version 4.9 Still Holding the Fort

In the never-ending war between crackers and DRM company Denuvo, the latest victim has been (as it always tends to be) the later's efforts. Version 5.2 of Denuvo's anti-tampering protection has been cracked, opening the floodgates to cracked versions of Mega Man 11 and just-released Football Manager 2019.

Considering the proximity of release for both Hitman 2 (November 13) and Battlefield V (November 20th), it's likely both of those games will ship with the same 5.2 version. The group that cracked Denuvo's 5.2 protection are using the moniker FCKDRM'', which is likely a homage to GOG's FCK DRM movement. This, I'm sure, is well above hat the initiative's objectives were, and is sure to be frowned upon.

New Exemptions To The DMCA Allow Users To Hack And Repair Their Phones (And Their Tractors, too)

You know that iPhone you bought? Or that home appliance? Or that tractor? They're not yours. Not completely, I mean, because if something breaks, you'll have to repair them through the official repair services of the hardware maker. You can try to repair them by yourself, but you'll probably have a lot of trouble doing it or even getting an unofficial technical service to do it. Oh, and until now it even wasn't legal for you to try. Companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Samsung or John Deere have turned repair control into an art form. The DRM they impose on their products is becoming more and more complex, and there are lots of devices that are very complicated to open to try to repair.

Agencies like EFF have long been fighting for the so-called "right to repair" movement to try to fight these kinds of strategies, and these days those efforts have paid off. The Librarian of Congress and US Copyright Office have adopted "exemptions to the to the provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA") that prohibits circumvention of technological measures that control access to copyrighted works". This means that from now on, users will be able to hack the software and fix the hardware on (some of) their devices in order to repair or maintain them. The new rules apply to smartphones, "home appliances" and "home systems", but they go beyond there and will allow users to repair cars, tractors and other motorized land vehicles (no boats or planes, though) by modifying their firmware.

Shadow Warrior 2 Temporarily Available for Free on

As an update to the 10th anniversary celebrations, it turns out that Shadow Warrior 2 won the public vote to decide which game was to be available not only DRM-free but also monetarily-free. Accordingly, you can now head over to this page and avail yourself of a full copy at no charge for another ~40 hours as of the time of this posting.

Shadow Warrior 2 is a first-person shooter that released a little under two years ago to the day, and now has two free pieces of downloadable content as well (The Way of the Wang, and Bounty Hunt Part 1). It has a very positive rating on Steam, and elsewhere, and costs $39.99 currently. It goes without saying then that if this is a game that interests you, you should definitely pick it up for free on GOG while the offer lasts. Celebrates 10th Anniversary with a Makeover, Freebies and a Site-wide Sale!

It was less than a month ago that we reported on's Back to School game sale event, and today we got wind of an even larger one. Indeed, (previously Good Old Games) is 10 today, and decided it was as good a time as any to celebrate the anniversary with us. First up, the entire website has received a visual makeover which offers a new color palette and also some user experience improvements as it pertains to the game collections and menus.

More important to you, I presume, is the free game(s) available via a vote. As of now, visitors can vote between Shadow Warrior 2, Superhot, and Firewatch for another ~36 hours as of this posting following which the winning game will be available for free for the next 48 hours after voting ends. There are also many, many other games on sale on the website now, and has also added in support for their media partners to curate a list of recommended games including Eurogamer, PC Gamer, and GameSpot- a move that reminds us of Steam's own Curator system for game recommendations. The page also now includes a history section showing the website's humble beginnings to what is today the leading store front for DRM-free games. Go ahead and see if you find something you like today!

GOG Launches FCK DRM Initiative: Informing Gamers, Fighting DRM

GOG as a platform has been the pioneer in delivering DRM-free games to people all around the world. The basic idea is that ownership in DRM-infused games really isn't; it's more of a time bomb contract that gamers make with a third party that may or may not fulfill their end of the bargain (or may very well end support for a game, disable DRM verification servers in for single player games, and all of that).

As part of its effort to fight against DRM's entrenchment in the industry, and part of GOG's reasoning that the way to garner loyalty is not achieved by not trusting consumers from the get go, GOG launched their FCK DRM initiative, via a blog post on their news section, pointing to their new, information laden website. GOG says that "We strongly believe that if you buy a game, it should be yours, and you can play it the way it's convenient for you, and not how others want you to use it", and that the goal of this initiative is to "educate people and ignite a discussion about DRM".

Denuvo's Impact on Game Performance Benchmarked

Denuvo's impact on gaming performance has been spoken of immensely - as always has been the case for any and all DRM solution that finds its way into games. However, evidence always seemed to be somewhat anecdotal on whether or not Denuvo really impacted performance - for a while, the inability to test games with Denuvo implemented and officially removed (which, unsurprisingly, isn't the same as it being cracked) was a grand stopgap to any sort of serious testing.

Now, courtesy of Overlord's YouTube channel, we can see whether or not Denuvo impacts performance. In a total of seven games tested on a platform with an Intel Core i7 2600K stock CPU (for adequate testing of whether Denuvo really impacts more the CPU than any other system component) paired with a stock clocked 1080 ti. You really should take a look at the video; it's a short, informative one, but the gist of is this: Some games revealed performance improvements with Denuvo being removed: Mass Effect: Andromeda saw a huge boost from an average of 57 FPS all the way to 64 FPS due to the removal of the DRM solution; and Mad Max saw a more meager 54 to 60 FPS increase. The other games (which included Hitman, Abzu, and others, didn't see any performance difference.

Thinking Outside the DRM: Denuvo Sues Founder of Piracy Group "REVOLT"

What do you do when your main product keeps being bypassed in the eternal cat and mouse game of DRM versus piracy groups? If you're with Denuvo, you think "outside the box" and look for slightly different ways to eliminate the competition, such as actual legal action.

Following this legal action and a collaboration with Bulgaria's police, the justice system has managed to identify Aka Voksi as the founder of scene group "Revolt", seizing his personal computer - events that resulted in Voksi stating he would be dropping all piracy-related activities immediately and for the future (a wise move considering the circumstances). Reddit and piracy-focused websites have already begun fundraising efforts to prepare for Voksi's defense.

AMD Releases Radeon Software Adrenalin 18.5.1 WHQL Drivers

AMD today released Radeon Software Adrenalin 18.5.1 WHQL drivers. These are the first WHQL-certified drivers from the company for Windows 10 April 2018 Update, complying with WDDM 2.4, and support not just AMD Radeon discrete GPUs, but also Ryzen "Raven Ridge" APUs with integrated Radeon Vega graphics. The drivers support Microsoft PlayReady 3.0 DRM on "Polaris" GPUs.

Besides these features, Radeon Software Adrenalin 18.5.1 WHQL comes with optimization for "Ancestors Legacy," with up to 6 percent higher frame-rates at 1080p, measured with an RX Vega 56, and up to 13 percent higher frame rates on an RX 580 (8 GB) at 1080p. The update fixes HBCC not resetting to default value when "Restore Factory Defaults" option is used in Radeon Settings. It also addresses ReLive streaming to Facebook intermittently failing; Netflix users experiencing display corruption on "Polaris" multi-GPU systems, abnormally high game load times in "Destiny 2," and fixes for screen tearing observed on FreeSync displays with performance metrics enabled.
DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 18.5.1 WHQL

The change-log follows.

Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition Denuvo Cracked Before Release

Initial speculations stated that Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition didn't employ Denuvo's anti-tamper technology. For starters, there was no mention of Denuvo anywhere in the EULA when the game went up for pre-order. It also wasn't present in the demo. However, five days prior to the official release, Square Enix updated the game's Steam store page and EULA stating that Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition indeed came with Denuvo.

Although Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition won't be released until tomorrow, consumers who purchased the title can pre-load the game beforehand. Since Steam preloads are always encrypted, warez group normally are forced to look elsewhere. For reasons unknown, Origin made available the unencrypted version of the game files. Chinese video game warez group 3DM was quick to act and got their hands on the unencrypted files. They later replaced the executable with the DRM-free one from the demo. What happened afterwards is history. A few users reported that they were able to advance as far as the ninth chapter without hiccups. According to one particular individual, he finished the game with the pirated copy, but it hasn't been confirmed yet.

Kingdom Come: Deliverance Ships With Always On DRM... For SP?

Kingdom Come: Deliverance has deployed itself unto the already overwhelming amount of games that users can spend both their time and money on ("spend" that takes the form of "invest" if it's a good experience, naturally). Kingdom Come: Deliverance is a 1400's era open-world simulator that runs on CryEngine, so expect beautiful graphics and vistas. There's been some clamoring over the games' systems; however, gripes with the game design and such considerations being put to rest (they're always better sampled by users themselves on a case by case basis, anyway), there's something strange on this distribution of the game.

This is because while Kingdom Come: Deliverance is being marketed as a fully single-player experience, there seems to be some sort of strange, overly eager DRM solution embedded, which invokes an error message that reads "There is no live connection to server" if users try to launch the game in offline mode. Not strange in the sense that developers would want to protect their return on investment - just strange that such an always-on server ping would be required for a single player experience. And alas, the game has already been cracked by the pirate scene - so this is a case where pirates are actually better served in getting the game that way than actual paying customers with an immediate lack of internet connection or spotty service. Fret not, however; for those who don't want to acquire a DRM-enabled version of the game, the developers, Warhorse Studios, are releasing a DRM-free version via GOG on February 27th. This is users' opportunity to show the developers that they abide to a DRM-less game - provided it's a good experience, naturally.

Update Feb 16th: This has been fixed by the developer in version 1.2.2 and the game will now run perfectly fine while Steam is in Offline Mode.

Denuvo Responds to 4.8 Bypass with Updated 5.0 Protection

Ever since the company's inception in 2013, Denuvo has been constantly playing a cat-and-mouse game with cracker groups. Italian entity CPY recently bypassed Denuvo 4.8 which was the company's latest DRM protection, or so we thought. Apparently, Denuvo knew that sooner than later their anti-tamper technology was going to fall and had silently prepared an updated version as a countermeasure. Bulgarian programmer Voksi from rival 'Revolt' warez group has dubbed this new version as Denuvo 5.0 instead of 4.9 because it brings many significant changes to the table. As a matter of fact, Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite received a silent, retroactive patch not so long ago updating the game to the latest iteration of Denuvo. Future titles like Dragon Ball FighterZ, Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age, and many more will certainly leave the oven with Denuvo 5.0 onboard.

In other news, digital security expert Irdeto recently acquired Denuvo. Irdeto might not be well-known in the gaming industry, but the firm is by no means a newcomer. With more than 50 years of experience under the company's belt, their highly-acclaimed Irdeto Cloakware cybersecurity technology protects some of the world's best known brands. With this new partnership, both companies aim to create more robust security solutions to combat piracy. It wouldn't be a shocker if future games come with as many as four layers of copy protection (Steam/Origin/Uplay + Denuvo + VMProtect + Cloakware) to fight off pirates. However, more isn't always better when it comes to DRM protections.
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