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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.

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".

"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.

G.Skill and GIGABYTE Crack DDR3-3000 Barrier With Four Modules, Achieve 3077 MHz

Memory overclocking feats over 3000 MHz, aren't new. Last month, we've seen G.Skill and and GIGABYTE achieve a whopping 3736 MHz on the dual-channel AMD "Llano" platform. The duo has now cracked the 3000 MHz mark with four modules, achieving 3077 MHz. The record (>3000 MHz with four modules) was set by Coolaler, using an Intel Core i7-3770K "Ivy Bridge" processor, and GIGABYTE Z77X-UD5H motherboard. The memory of course was four 4 GB G.Skill DDR3-2600 MHz modules. The entire setup was air-cooled.

A video of the feat follows.

Anno 2070's Draconian DRM: Guru3D's Graphics Card Review Killed Off

Anno 2070's Draconian DRM: Guru3D's Graphics Card Review Killed Off (UPDATED)

Hilbert Hagedoorn of well-known PC tech review site guru3d.com recently bought a copy of Ubisoft's Anno 2070 and wanted to use it in one of his graphics card reviews. However, he became badly unstuck. This game comes on the Steam platform and the store page states: "3rd-party DRM: Solidshield Tages SAS 3 machine activation limit". Unfortunately for Guru3D, they found out exactly what this means, which resulted in just one performance graph, an aborted review, an unplayable game - and bad publicity for Ubisoft once again. They have published an article about their experience, pledging not to use their titles again because of this DRM.

Steam Hack More Severe Than Thought: Change Your Password NOW

Gabe Newell of Valve has issued a statement that the forum hack they experienced over the weekend actually goes much deeper than they thought. The criminals accessed the main database containing such goodies as user names, hashed and salted passwords, game purchases, email addresses, billing addresses and encrypted credit card information. Apparently, no personally identifying information was taken - but we await the result of the full investigation before breathing a sigh of relief. Due to this serious breach, TechPowerUp advises all Steam users to change their account password immediately. People starting up their Steam client will now see the following message from Gabe Newell about this:
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