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Sunday, December 30, 2018

What Is Denuvo, and Why Do Gamers Hate It?

Denuvo is an anti-piracy (DRM) solution that game developers can choose to include in their games. Gamers have been upset about Denuvo for years, and apparently for a good reason: Denuvo slows down games, according to recent tests.

What Is Denuvo?

Denuvo is a digital rights management (DRM) solution for game developers. They can license Denuvo and integrate it into their PC games. If they do, the Denuvo software provides anti-piracy protection. It’s designed to make it more difficult for people to “crack” games and distribute them for free. According to Denuvo, it “stops the reverse engineering and debugging” required to crack a game.

No anti-piracy solution is perfect, but Denuvo promises the “longest crack-free release window.” In other words, game developers are hoping their games won’t be cracked for a while, forcing people who might otherwise pirate the game to buy it if they want to play the game without waiting.

Denuvo isn’t an additional piece of software that is installed on your computer, and you won’t see it in your list of installed software. A game that uses Denuvo has the Denuvo anti-piracy software integrated into its code. If the game is running, Denuvo is running as part of the game. Anyone who wants to crack a game has to get around the Denuvo protection, which makes that process more difficult.

Does It Hurt Game Performance?

Fair-minded gamers should want game developers to make money selling their games. But that’s not what this is about. Like often happens with anti-piracy solutions, gamers have long objected that Denuvo creates problems for legitimate, paying customers.

Denuvo claims this is nonsense. The official Denuvo website says “Anti-Tamper has no perceptible effect on game performance nor is Anti-Tamper to blame for any game crashes of genuine executables.”

But there’s a lot of evidence to the contrary. The director of TEKKEN 7 blamed Denuvo’s DRM for performance problems in the PC version of the game, for example—a rare case where a game developer, rather than merely a player, knocked Denuvo.

Some game developers have removed Denuvo from their games after release. Overlord Gaming ran some benchmarks on the with-Denuvo and without-Denuvo versions of these games. As Extreme Tech notes, Denuvo causes performance issues in nearly every tested game. From longer load times to frame rate drops, Denuvo’s protection appears to slow things down. Performance sometimes improves by 50% after Denuvo is removed by the developer.

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