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Devil May Cry 5 Patch Removes Denuvo on Steam

A tiny 21-megabyte patch of "Devil May Cry 5," pushed through Steam, allegedly removed the game's Denuvo DRM component. There's no record of the patch in the list of updates for the game, although some Redditors comment that removal of the DRM has improved their game load times. Denuvo is a sophisticated DRM solution that can be implemented in a number of ways by game developers. A best-case implementation has negligible performance impact, but if done poorly, Denuvo could have a noticeable performance impact. Our comprehensive article on Denuvo dives deeper into the tech. Game publishers prefer implementing a DRM solution to not, despite the fact that pirates are able to crack it weeks or months following the release. They are content with making most of their revenues through pre-orders or purchases made while the game isn't cracked. Game publishers eventually voluntarily remove DRM solutions to improve game performance. DMC5's DRM removal comes about 11 months into its release.

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.

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 Parent Company Irdeto Launches Anti-Cheat Solution

Irdeto, Denuvo's parent company, is now looking to offer another service for publishers: an anti-cheat solution. Named Denuvo Anti-Cheat (because why would they abandon the well-known Denuvo branding), the new system aims to prevent cheaters from extracting or manipulating game code that could give them an advantage over other users.

Like the Denuvo DRM, this Anti-Cheat solution isn't located at the executable level, but is integrated into the game code natively. Developers will have to work it into select triggers, much like they already do with Denuvo, for the solution to be as seamless as possible. Irdeto said "Denuvo Anti-Cheat makes use of the latest hardware security features offered by Intel and AMD, combined with Machine Learning of game-agnostic process metrics, to ensure no false positives and maximum detection of cheating".

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.

System Requirements for Metro: Exodus Outed; Denuvo Protection Included

The system requirements for 4A Games' Metro: Exodus, the studios' first open-world effort that comes with baked-in NVIDIA RTX support, have been outed. The minimum system requirements for 1080p gaming at 30 FPS uses the Low IQ settings, and should be achieved by an i5-4440 CPU, paired with a 2 GB VRAM graphics card (GeForce GTX 1050 or Radeon HD 7870) and 8 GB of RAM.

For the Extreme IQ settings, at 4K 60 FPS, though, you'll require, obviously, a beast of a system. An Intel Core i9-9900K is the CPU of choice here, paired with 16 GB of RAM and the top of the line NVIDIA RTX 2080 Ti. These requirements pressupose the absence of any RTX features, however, so prepare to see your maximum resolution with those features on coming down quickly as you scale the ray tracing capabilities. RTX-specific performance profiles will be released by 4A Games in the coming days.

Denuvo Falls Again: Just Cause 4 Cracked in One Day

Denuvo's protection has rapidly deteriorated in the amount of time it actually is able to protect games' first sales period, which is always argued as the most important in the shelf life for any given game launch. While the first Denuvo-protected games lasted weeks and sometimes even months before ever being cracked, the latest releases have seen rapid-fire hits from pirates.

These outcomes must seriously hamper developers' expectations on Denuvo's ability to keep their games protected. Either all developers try and move towards an always-online game system (such as Destiny 2 and some other games), or it seems that both relatively old players (Denuvo) and newcomers (Valeroa) will see their marketing departments having to contort into increasingly impossible shapes to sell their product. Read our own impressions on just Cause 4 here.

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".

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.

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.

Monster Hunter World PC Requirements Outed, August 9th Launch for the Long Summer

Capcom's Monster Hunter World is the fastest selling game in the publishers' history, and now, finally, PC gamers are on the verge of being able to play the critic and player-praised title. The release date, set at August 9th, will make sure PC gamers have a high-profile release to keep them going through the Summer. We'll see if the delay in launch (the game has been available in consoles since January) translates to good performance and optimization - but it does seem so from the available graphics settings, which include TAA for anti-aliasing, subsurface scattering, foliage sway, and most importantly, resolution scaling that helps achieve a more fluid game experience.

Far Cry 5 Denuvo Protection Has Been Defeated

Released worldwide on March 26, the PC version of Far Cry 5 has been cracked 19 days after its launch. Nevertheless, the Denuvo 5.0 protection served its purpose as the game sold nearly five million copies in its first week. What's more impressive, though, is that it took prolific warez group CPY less than three weeks to circumvent the game's multiple layers of DRM. Nevertheless, CPY's feat wasn't a complete walk in the park. According to the information provided by the Italian entity, Far Cry 5's cocktail of copy protections included Denuvo 5.0, EasyAntiCheat, uPlay, and VMProtect. Given the speedy release for this one, maybe CPY has finally discovered the secret to Denuvo's formula. Or perhaps Denuvo is starting to lose its touch.

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.

Assassin's Creed Origins' Denuvo and VMProtect Bypassed

It was no coincidence that Assassin's Creed Origins was one of the most difficult Ubisoft titles to crack. The company learned from their past mistakes and was one step ahead of the pirates this time. Instead of just implementing the usual Denuvo and Uplay protections like in previous occasions, Ubisoft slapped VMProtect on top of both for good measure. The added security proved to be a great solution as the game remained intact for a little over three months which is a crucial time for sales. However, Ubisoft's triple-threat protection started to crumble when CPY discovered a way to bypass Denuvo 4.8 two weeks ago. The latest news from the Italian scene group confirmed that they've now bypassed Assassin's Creed Origins' last line of defense as well.

Assassin's Creed Origins has been widely criticized for being a CPU hog. Ubisoft claims that VMProtect has little to no perceptible effect on the game's performance. However, many still believe it to be the culprit. Now that the keys to the kingdom are out there, there's little to no point for Ubisoft to keep VMProtect in the game. This would be the perfect opportunity to prove the doubters otherwise. That is, unless they have something to hide.

CI Games Silently Removes Denuvo 4.0 from Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3

CI Games finally released the long-awaited multiplayer update for Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 last week. Although not mentioned publicly in the patch notes, the Polish publisher also eliminated the Denuvo protection from the game. For those readers who don't keep up with the Warez scene, Russian cracker BALDMAN cracked Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 one month after its release. Many would agree that there wasn't any point in keeping the anti-tamper tech in the game. But now, with it gone completely, DSOGaming re-tested the game to see whether there were any performance gains without Denuvo.

To make a long story short, the DSOGaming team noticed a significant reduction in the game's loading time. However, they weren't completely certain if the reduction was a product of the removal of Denuvo or game optimizations done by the developer. The previous performance issues still haunted the game, and there were zero improvement in graphics performance. This was expected to a certain degree taking into account that Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 is a GPU intensive title after all. It might be a different story with games like Watch_Dogs 2 or Assassin's Creed Origins, since they are more demanding on the processor. Now, we just have to wait until Ubisoft removes Denuvo from them.

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 4.8 Has Fallen

Denuvo 4.8 originally debuted last year in Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed: Origins. The French video game publisher even went as far as implementing VMProtect to add an extra layer of protection to the game. Many speculated that Ubisoft's poor decision made the final product so overdemanding on the processor. However, that's a discussion for another day. At the time of its release, Denuvo 4.8 was deemed impossible to break, but let's be realistic here. The impossible just costs a little more. It only took three months for the impossible to happen. Italian warez group CONSPIR4CY (a.k.a CPY) announced in recent days that they've successfully bypassed Denuvo 4.8 used in Sonic Forces.

Besides Ubisoft and Sega, Denuvo has other high-profile customers in the likes of Electronic Arts, Warner Bros, and Lionsgate Entertainment. So, it's only a matter of time before AAA titles like Football Manager 2018, Injustice 2, Need for Speed Payback, Star Wars Battlefront 2, and Star Ocean: The Last Hope HD Remaster suffer the same fate as Sonic Forces. Upcoming Dragon Ball FighterZ and Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age are probably in line as well. Although, it will be interesting to see how long can Assassin's Creed: Origins fare before someone breaks the game's double protection.

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.
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