News Posts matching "DRM"

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Shadow Warrior 2 Temporarily Available for Free on GOG.com

As an update to the GOG.com 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.

GOG.com Celebrates 10th Anniversary with a Makeover, Freebies and a Site-wide Sale!

It was less than a month ago that we reported on GOG.com's Back to School game sale event, and today we got wind of an even larger one. Indeed, GOG.com (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 GOG.com 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.

Denuvo's Latest Version Resists Piracy's Attempts Entering 2018

Denuvo may be one of the most controversial DRM systems out there - even though all of them are, in some level. However, the Austria-based company has developed that which is likely the most successful anti-piracy measure in recent times - despite news of its death. As we covered almost two months ago, piracy scene groups were claiming to have already figured out Denuvo, and hailed their cracking routines as being developing in such a way that (...) Denuvo protected games will continue to get cracked faster and faster." The new methods no longer involve reverse-engineering a game's executable to strip a game of its DRM software; now "[piracy] scene groups have found a way to get past [Denuvo's] encryption and keygen files in just a day. They do not crack Denuvo, they simply keygen it, so Denuvo thinks nothing is wrong on the pirated version."

However, news of Denuvo's death were an exaggeration, it would seem. The company's latest DRM version, launched with Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed origins, has eluded circumvention of its protection mechanisms - though in this case, there's an added layer of security, VMProtect, that works in conjunction with Denuvo's solution to make life harder for would-be crackers. Perhaps more telling, then, are the other games that make sole use of Denuvo's tech and still haven't been cracked. Such is the case for Sonic Forces, Injustice 2, Football Manager 2018, Need for Speed Payback and Star Wars Battlefront 2. After all is said and done, it's always just a matter of time before protection mechanisms get bypassed. But Denuvo always has just aimed for a "protection window", anyway, and it seems the company is back to guaranteeing it.

"Scene Groups Have Figured Out Denuvo", Piracy Group Declares

Denuvo's fall from grace - and current thread of obsolescence waters - has been a long time coming for scene crackers and pirates. One of the only anti-tamper mechanisms to actually deter pirates in their cracking efforts as of late, Denuvo ushered in an era of unmitigated success upon the first months after its launch, by any measure. Marketed as a "best in class" solution, Denuvo's makers were smart enough to know that any kind of protection they made would be eventually surpassed by pirates' efforts - which is why they simply said that Denuvo's mission was to " (...) provide the longest crack-free release window compared to competitors." Looking to guarantee developers and publishers the arguably most important time-frame for new game releases and sales, Denuvo's sales and marketing director Thomas Goebl said that their aim was "to help publishers to secure the initial sales windows of their games, hence delaying piracy."

CPUs Bear Brunt of Ubisoft Deploying VMProtect Above Denuvo for AC:O

It's been extensively reported that Denuvo has failed as an effective DRM solution for games, as some of the newer releases such as "Assassin's Creed: Origins," were cracked by pirates less than 48 hours into the market release. For those who bought the game, Denuvo adds its own CPU and memory footprint. In an effort to stem further piracy of "Assassin's Creed: Origins" (because hey, there are limited stocks of pirated copies on the Internet), Ubisoft added an additional DRM layer on top of Denuvo, made by VMProtect. The implementation is so shoddy, that paying customers who didn't spend a fortune on their PC builds (most PC gamers) complain of abnormally high CPU usage, which is in some cases, even reducing performance to unplayable levels.

Ubisoft deployed VMProtect as a concentric DRM layer to Denuvo. Genuine user authentication has to now be performed by two separate pieces of software with their own PIDs, CPU-, and memory-footprints, not to mention user data falling into more hands. Gamers such as this one took to Steam Forums to complain about abnormally high CPU usage, which is traced back to VMProtect. Gamers complain that the game now hits 100% CPU usage, resulting in frame-drops, stuttering, and even unplayable frame-rates. As gaming prophet Gabe Newell once said, the only way to beat piracy is to offer a better service than the pirates. Right now the pirates offer better frame-rates, at an introductory price of $0, while stocks last.

Where Art Thou, Denuvo? Shadow of War DRM Cracked in Two Days

Denuvo has been one of the foremost DRM technologies in recent times. There have been a number of issues around this particular RM technology: unclear terms of service that didn't explain the use of this third party DRM, or reports of inconsistent and even degraded performance on Denuvo-protected games. While some of those points have since been corrected - there's no clear evidence of degraded performance with Denuvo anti-tamper on or off - and games' terms of service have been updated to include references to Denuvo anti-tamper being used, this is one of those technologies that has been more ill-received - kind of like SecuROM, back in the days.

Denuvo, however, has enjoyed some measure of success in the past, in that it has allowed games developers to see their products remain uncracked for longer periods of time that they would with other DRM technologies that are currently employed (like Steam, for instance). Developers and publishers say this allows them to see more fruits from their labor in that at least during that DRM-protected window, would-be pirates will likely make the jump towards a legitimate version of the game, instead of waiting for the DRM protection to be bypassed. Lately, though, its protections are being bypassed almost as fast as Steam's, which has been the case with Middle-Earth: Shadow of War - cracked two days after release. This is a prickly subject that usually neatly divides proponents of either DRM-free games, or those that really don't care, so long as it doesn't tamper with end-user experience. There are success cases for both fields - GOG on the DRM-free side of the fence and Steam on the other, for example - but this is clearly a debate that won't be settled any time soon.

GTA V is Slammed with a Swarm of Negative Reviews Following Mod Tool Shutdown

Grand Theft Auto V's Steam entry has been swarmed with negative reviews following Take Two Interactive's decision to shutdown the popular modding tool OpenIV with a legal cease and desist letter. In just a weeks time, over 42,000 reviews have been published on the Grand Theft Auto V steam page, the overwhelming majority of them negative (only 13 percent were positive). This is in stark contrast to the games usual rating, which is generally positive. It appears to have had such an impact as to actually make the game's overall rating fall into steams "mixed" rating territory.

AMD Sends Required Patches for Vega Support in Linux

AMD has recently sent out around a hundred patches, which amount to over 40 thousand lines of code, so as to allow developers to integrate support for its upcoming Vega GPU architecture under Linux. The new code is essential towards baking support for Vega under Linux, considering the many changes this architecture entails over AMD's current-generation Polaris 10 (soon to be rebranded, if sources are correct, to the new RX 500 series.) Also of note is the existence of seven different device IDs for Vega-based products, though this really can't be extrapolated to the amount of SKUs under the Vega banner. For now, that really is just a number.

Steam Changes Indie Game Policy. For Better or Worse?

Valve has a right to be proud of their Steam platform. After all, it's become an essential part of any gamer's tool belt. Even if one does not buy games on the Steam store directly, many games require it as part of their DRM to activate and launch, and you will end up with Steam on your system anyway. Recently, Valve has been looking into ways to make their system more accessible to smaller companies and Indie Developers, and until now, Steam Greenlight has been the main way to allow for this.

Under Greenlight, for a fee of $100, a developer could put up as many games as they desired into the Steam platform, but they are not immediately put into the store. Rather, they are voted on by the community and only games that do well are allowed in. Steam Direct differs from this in that it gets rid of the community voting process and allows developers to publish directly for a fee that is paid for each title. This opens a new can of worms that depends entirely on how large this fee is. Valve is currently talking in the range of $100 to as high as $5,000 (based on a survey among developers).

NVIDIA GeForce Experience Gets UI Update, Won't Work Without Login

NVIDIA released a major update to its GeForce Experience app, which significantly changes the user interface (UI). The new GeForce Experience 3.0 is being shipped as a public beta, and is currently not part of an NVIDIA driver installer. Its UI now has two key sections, one which deals with game setting optimization, and the other which lets users access NVIDIA GeForce features such as Ansel, GameStream, driver updates, etc. Perhaps the biggest change here is that having an online account with NVIDIA is no longer optional, if you want to use GeForce Experience.

NVIDIA uses this account to store your game settings and other preferences on the cloud, so they're portable between all your devices, and could be useful if you're a PC enthusiast that frequently changes hardware. On the flip-side, though, GeForce Experience becomes another app that dials home each time you start your PC, impacting start-up speed. The new UI does make things more organized, and labels your games much like a DRM client like Origin or Steam would. You don't need GeForce Experience to use NVIDIA graphics cards, though. The app's install is still optional, and can be unchecked in the "Custom install" screen of the GeForce driver installer.

Tt eSports Integrates Synaptics IronVeil Fingerprint Sensor into the Black V2 Mouse

Thermaltake's gaming hardware brand Tt eSports is the first to integrate Synaptics IronVeil fingerprint sensor into the mouse, with its new Tt eSports Black V2 gaming mouse. Placed slightly above where your right thumb would grip the mouse, this 4 mm x 10 mm rectangular sensor scans your thumbprint with an accuracy of 1/50,000 false-pass and 3/100 false-fail; letting you use the IronVeil software to authenticate a variety of things.

IronVeil technology is FIDO compliant, and is natively supported by Windows 10 and Windows Hello, letting you log-in or wake/unlock your machine using your thumb. It's also supported by various e-commerce websites, MMO games (login and quick in-game micro-transactions), game DRM services (such as Steam and Origin), and multi-step authentication by popular social-media websites. The rest of the mouse's feature-set is identical to the Black V2 that's already in the market for $49.99. The IronVeil-integrated variant of this mouse will launch soon, at $59.99.

Sanwa Supply Intros USB 3.0 Front-Panel Header Adapter for Ready Boost Internal Ports

This tiny accessory from Japan's Sanwa Supply might come handy for boosting system responsiveness on the cheap, using the Ready Boost flash-drive caching feature available with select versions of Windows. The 800-TK021 from Sanwa is a small blue PCB, which fixes itself to the motherboard on one end, using a standard USB 3.0 front-panel header, and gives out two USB 3.0 type-A ports.

The ports can then be used to stash away discrete USB 3.0 storage devices (such as flash-drives, DRM sticks, HDDs, USB 3.0 portable SSDs). One incentive is using a discrete flash drive to speed up system responsiveness using Ready Boost. On sale, the 800-TK021 is priced at 780 JPY (US $9), it could be distributed under different labels, in different markets.

Durango Implements Always-On DRM, Multi-GPU

Microsoft's next-generation Xbox console, codenamed "Durango", will implement an "always-on" DRM, according to a VG 24/7 report. Always-on is a stringent anti-piracy measure that's already in use with some PC game titles published by Ubisoft, which requires the players to be connected to the Internet when playing. Even as its proponents (read: game publishers only), claim increased sales, it faces strong opposition from the gaming community. The Christmas 2013 (tentative) launch of Durango rides on the assumption that fast, always-on broadband Internet will have proliferated to every living room.

Next up, there's talk of Durango featuring a unique multi-GPU hardware design that doesn't resemble symmetric PC multi-GPU technologies such as NVIDIA SLI or AMD CrossFire, but instead, the two GPUs will be tasked with rendering the same object redundantly. Perhaps Durango features native flicker-free stereoscopic 3D capability, and the two GPUs are merely rendering the two planes? Once again, there's talk that these GPUs will be designed by AMD. The CPU of Durango will feature "four or six" cores. Lastly, Blu-ray disc is back as the storage medium, in these latest rumors.

Ubisoft DRM Server Downtime Causes A Lockout

If you are trying to play Might and Magic: Heroes VI, The Settlers 7 and Tom Clancy’s HAWX 2 or are trying to activate Assassin’s Creed Revelations, Anno 2070 and or Driver: San Francisco don't bother. Ubisoft has announced a server migration this week that will block all access from players validating their legitimate purchases via Ubisofts DRM "always on" model. The original plan was to allow some of these games to remain playable. However it didn't seem to work. Some DRM schemes are more intrusive then others but the Ubisoft "always on" DRM has come under heavy fire this week from players turned critics via Twitter. One is quoted as saying, “Dear @Ubisoft I am totally unimpressed with your server upgrade strategy."

Ubisoft has yet to give a specified time when the servers will be re-launched and players can regain access to their games.

Ubisoft Server Maintenance To Render Always-Online DRM Games Unplayable

Next week, Ubisoft will be performing large-scale server maintenance, which could see its DRM-handling go offline. It would directly impact some games that are designed to work with Ubisoft's infamous "Always-Online" DRM, which requires gamers to be connected to the internet when playing games enabled with it. Tom Clancy’s HAWX 2, Might & Magic: Heroes 6 and The Settlers 7 will be unplayable during the course of maintenance. Bigger titles such as Assassin’s Creed: Revelations and Driver: San Francisco, however, will stay online for the duration of the switch-over. Ubisoft is loathed for its hyper-strict DRM that requires you to ping their DRM servers every few moments to reassure them you're not a pirate. It is even known to limit activations to your graphics card. This is yet another example where DRM only ends up hurting legitimate users more than piracy.

Origin Expands Games Catalog, DRM-Free Evangelist Joins DRM Scheme

Origin is the fledgling online download account-based DRM service from Electronic Arts launched last June, that is home to Battlefield 3. To compete effectively against other similar services, the industry-leading Steam in particular, it must offer more content. To this end, Origin has added 11 publishers to its portfolio, reports CVG. These are Trion Worlds, Robot Entertainment, Freebird Games, Recoil Games, Autumn Games, 1C Company, inXile entertainment, Paradox Interactive, Core Learning Ltd, N3V Games and CD Projekt RED. That last one is interesting, because CD Projekt RED owns and runs www.gog.com, the website dedicated to selling DRM-free games.

Anno 2070's Draconian DRM: Ubisoft Loosens Restrictions. Slightly

Last week we brought you news of Ubisoft's hard three machine activation limit on Anno 2070 and how it scuppered a review by Guru3D when they swapped out graphics cards. Guru3D's post then went viral on the web and it appears that this has put sufficient pressure or 'heat' on Ubisoft to relax the restrictions just a tiny bit, since they weren't going to use any more Ubisoft games for benchmarks. So what have they done? Allowed an unlimited number of graphics card swaps. That's it, everything else stays the same, so if other components such as the CPU, motherboard etc are changed, then one will still run into this frustrating brick wall and have to get in touch with customer support to reset the activations.

An Open Letter to the Gaming Community from CD Projekt RED

A month ago, we reported that CD Projekt RED, makers of The Witcher 2 had claimed that they could identify '100% of pirates' and had started an RIAA-style 'settlement letter' shakedown (extortion) tactic in Germany. Well, unsurprisingly, this hasn't gone down too well with their customers and the outcry has been loud and strong, especially on gog.com, where their forums have been full of posts from disgruntled customers. Well, it looks like the pressure has gotten too much for them and they have backpedalled furiously on this decision and issued an open letter, published on rockpapershotgun.com. In it, they state that they want people to continue to have faith in them and stressed how they're still totally against 'piracy' of their products and appealed for gamers to refrain from engaging in it:
In early December, an article was published about a law firm acting on behalf of CD Projekt RED, contacting individuals who had downloaded The Witcher 2 illegally and seeking financial compensation for copyright infringement. The news about our decision to combat piracy directly, instead of with DRM, spread quickly and with it came a number of concerns from the community. Repeatedly, gamers just like you have said that our methods might wrongly accuse people who have never violated our copyright and expressed serious concern about our actions.
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