Cracking PC games is getting too difficult, say pirates

By Scorpus · 52 replies
Jan 6, 2016
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  1. Pirates attempting to crack the latest PC games are finding it more difficult than ever, according to a report from TorrentFreak, and it's causing some well-known cracking groups to consider giving up the effort.

    Over the last 18 months in particular there were a number of releases that took an unusually long time to crack. It took pirates over a month to crack Dragon Age: Inquisition, which is much longer than the norm, while more recent games like FIFA 16 (released in September) and Just Cause 3 (released in December) haven't been cracked at all.

    A member of Chinese cracking group 3DM, speaking to TorrentFreak, said that one member of the group nearly gave up trying to crack Just Cause 3 because the DRM technology implemented was too strong. The member added that "in two years time I’m afraid there will be no free games to play in the world" due to the increasing strength of encryption technology.

    Just Cause 3 and the other aforementioned games use a technology known as Denuvo, which is a secondary encryption system designed to strengthen the existing DRM in many games. Unlike older DRM solutions, Denuvo is generally not obtrusive or annoying for legitimate paying customers, which makes it particularly valuable for game publishers.

    If developers continue to use technologies such as Denuvo, we might never see the days where PC games were cracked at or even before launch again. This could make the PC a more attractive and profitable platform, which will only improve the experience for PC gamers in the long run.

    Permalink to story.

    cliffordcooley likes this.
  2. Dimitriid

    Dimitriid TS Booster Posts: 37   +37

    Honestly now it's just better to wait 6 months or a year to get it 50% off on Steam sales or some other vendor sale. Sales have been established for so long that most serious gamers like me have 200+ games at least on their catalog to hold up if a game is not worth launch prices.
    poohbear, Timonius, misor and 9 others like this.
  3. Ziffel

    Ziffel TS Booster Posts: 75   +62

    You nailed it. Games are so cheap now, at least if you have a bit of patience and don't mind waiting, that piracy becomes irrelevant.

    Waiting is better for more reasons than just price though, it helps with game stability as well. After 6-12 months, you get a patched, more stable game. This doesn't help with games that are primarily multiplayer, of course.
  4. Experimentongod

    Experimentongod TS Maniac Posts: 269   +111

    The problem is that you sometimes want to try out a game (not only 30 minutes as Steam refund system allows, you need more time to test configurations). Last time I wanted to try Batman: Arkham Knight and I couldn't do it at all because it wasn't cracked yet (not the updated versions at least). I was going to buy it anyway (already did), but it was annoying.
    SuperVeloce likes this.
  5. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,715   +3,696

    That's why we need demos for all games. A taste of what we could have, if we bought the whole game. That is, if the demo gives a compelling reason to purchase.
  6. Dimitriid

    Dimitriid TS Booster Posts: 37   +37

    Perhaps, but I can just go to and watch a few streamers, get a feel for the game and watch reviews for performance notes. It's nicer to play it for yourself but not "Wait months for a crack or pay 60 USD on launch" nice.
    Reehahs likes this.
  7. ikesmasher

    ikesmasher TS Evangelist Posts: 2,997   +1,317

    Im perfectly fine with this if developers start releasing useful demos. And when I say useful demos I mean like the JC2 one, where you have half an hour and a massive space to do what you want. nothing too limited.
  8. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    Unfortunately, it seems like demos have gone out of style... not many games offer them. :-(
    Reehahs, cliffordcooley and psycros like this.
  9. EEatGDL

    EEatGDL TS Evangelist Posts: 568   +241

    Last demo I can recall was XCOM. I liked it, a friend gave me a free copy he got, bought the expansions, recommended it to other friends who repeated my process, and now I'm going to pre-purchase XCOM 2. I've got 600+ hours in the first one with all achievements, I trust them and the game looks great in both playability and graphics --I watched a 40+ minute gameplay video from Angry Joe and I'm liking it even more.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2016
    Reehahs and cliffordcooley like this.
  10. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 1,870   +1,289

    "This could make the PC a more attractive and profitable platform, which will only improve the experience for PC gamers in the long run."

    Where does the writer get this idea? If anything uncrackable DRM will just give developers and publishers even more reason to stop working on single-player experiences..if it can't be cracked then it can't be played offline, right? I think the end of game cracking could be a disaster for people who like the deeper games that are typically either single player or co-op. OTOH it would probably go a long ways towards helping reduce virus infection rates. I think the consensus is that we really, really need game demos to make a comeback. This would be no hardship at all on most developers because most games aren't open world - any level can be used as a testbed. Even the Bethesdas of the industry wouldn't be put out from cobbling together a small area to experience game mechanics and see a little bit of content. (They do this stuff internally anyway.) Demos also double as public betas for catching last-minute bugs, driver issues and so on.
    mrtraver likes this.
  11. texasrattler

    texasrattler TS Addict Posts: 252   +76

    Demos are not ACTUAL games therefore are utterly useless. As we have seen time and time again, demos are very early releases of the game, heck in some cases they are more closer to Alpha than anything else. BF4 comes to mind. There's plenty of other recent ones too. So having a demo doesn't change anything, sure the hell doesn't change anything for the dev or publisher as they are going to release whatever the hell they want with no mind to customers as that is what happens all the time, with or without demos.

    I'd rather a dev spend a year or more developing a game but we all know publishers cant/wont allow it. Greed gets in the way all to often.
    Btw, most games only have 3-6 months of actually getting done. The claims of BF4 was 7 years in the making was bs statement when it was released. Black Ops 3 having 3 years to get done. All releasing with bugs n issues that still plague the games today. BO 3 had 3 years but it was found out that Treyarch did not spend all 3 years on the game, only a few months each year were spent on the game. I believe it was a total of like 6-8 months.
    SuperVeloce likes this.
  12. insect

    insect TS Evangelist Posts: 349   +132

    I disagree - The Witcher 3, one of the best games of the year, was all single player and has the DRM. I think this is overall very good as the author suggests. Many publishers moved to console because they were harder to crack/pirate partly due to the crowd that plays console, but also because of the hard-ware based DRM.
    gingerbill, darkzelda and Reehahs like this.
  13. robb213

    robb213 TS Maniac Posts: 330   +100

    I doubt anything will change. If I remember right Uplay (I. E. HAWX) took a month or more to be cracked in its early stages. What I'm willing to bet is that someone else will come along and manage to break this stuff as quick as most expect, as if they have a train of thought and skill set more tailored to these newer encryption technologies. I mean if it can be made, it can be broken.

    I thought the refund system was applicable up to 2 hours, not just 30 minutes?
    SuperVeloce likes this.
  14. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,715   +3,696

    The demos I have played are short versions of the game, and do give an indication of game play. In fact when I started gaming again, the first game I bought was one I loved from playing the demo. I'd probably buy more if I could first play a demo, until then I'm not gambling my money.
    BSim500 likes this.
  15. Emexrulsier

    Emexrulsier TS Evangelist Posts: 574   +72

    You ate confusing demos with closed/open beta access or early access. A demo is taken from the finished product, be it a level or two, a race or a 10 minute match in footy.
    SuperVeloce and Reehahs like this.
  16. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 2,099   +1,273

    Isn't this article based mostly on hearsay? One guy from a hacker group said his team was having issues with new DRM. This happens every time new DRM comes out, it's really nothing new.

    As for all the talk about whether this is a good or bad thing, I think neither. If there is a demand for DRM Free games, these guys will provide it. I'm pretty sure that legitimate services like gog have taken a good chunk out of their usual download base which can only be a good thing moving forward. Of course companies like EA exist and that's why these groups are still needed. Someone has to make the game playable offline, god knows EA isn't going to keep the servers up forever.

    On demos, I don't know why steam doesn't just do timed trial plays. You get to play a game for 60 minutes and after that time period you decide whether to buy it or not. In addition, no additional work is required for the devs. Cheap, effective, and a good use of modern technology. Of course, due to bandwidth limitations, steam will have to put some limits in place on just how many games you can demo in a day, week, or month.

    Hardware DRM is worse than software DRM. Not only is it a pain to update (either sony has to release a new console part that works with every game or they have to flash the firmware, which is dangerous) but it's completely screwed once a modded chip comes out. Now the console user only needs to have that replaced chip in their console and every single game is available to them free of charge, even brand new releases. Hell, a good chunk of the time you don't even need to install a mod chip to get around the hardware DRM. The Wii had a million ways to hack it with software only. Compare this to the software DRM on PCs, where Teams have to release a crack for each and every game fighting against constantly evolving DRM systems.
    Reehahs likes this.
  17. thorpj

    thorpj TS Enthusiast Posts: 98   +27

    And what if I don't want to play my games six months after everybody else?

    Here, I'm not talking about piracy. I'm just saying that, games are not cheap for people like me who don't want to wait 6-12 months to play a game. Because by then there'll be something newer, and probably better out.
  18. Badvok

    Badvok TS Addict Posts: 173   +64

    Yes, of course anything can be broken. In general it isn't even difficult to work out how. The only question is the time required to do it. If the system uses a key that would take all the computing resources on the planet and still take a number of years to factorize then it is effectively unbreakable in any meaningful sense.
  19. 3volv3d

    3volv3d TS Addict Posts: 155   +59

    Firstly demos do work.

    Secondly @psycros , single player games would disappear ? Are you backwards or what. The reason MP games are losing SP elements is because of Piracy. Multiplayer games require .... that's right an online freaking connection meaning you have to talk to servers and 99% of games will tell you where to go with ya pirated copy, unless using crappy hamachi or tunglejungle w.e it is. So most developers I am guessing, focus on MP aspects, and if there is an SP mode its usually awful as they don't put as much effort in if thats not the bit that gets the monies ?

    @thorpj , I do understand your need for greed. I must have NOW, its the world we live in today, we must have instant gratification. Personally I won't pay £40 for something that is worth £10 at best. If it can be sold in a steam sale @ profit with a 75% mark down, which they all can, then I ain't paying. Alas with MP games you will find more people to play with if you jump in and pay the RRP recommended ripoff price.
    And 6 months down the line people have moved on right ? Can't be that much of a good game. But, then saying that my friends jumped off GTA5 within a week or 2, it was just an awful game full of little kids using the sploitz to grief everyone. Boring. But again hacks for the instant gratification. Don't wanna play and actually get good at a game just want to insta unlock everything and get an amazing K/D ratio right?

    And agreed that this is, bupkiss. This article is talking about DRM and encryption. There will be a backdoor, somewhere. Just look at all these people using VPN's to download their pirated games, so as to not get that letter from their ISP... but oh look that VPN encryption is kinda useless now claims say. Oops
  20. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,274

    I miss the days of game demo's, it was simplest, easiest way of checking to see if the game was worth dropping the scratch on.
    Nowadays I always wait for a game to go on sale before considering purchasing it. If I throw $60 (which is a considerable amount considering it's merely a video game) at a game everybody's raving about but I hate it... I tend to get into a foul mood because I can't get my money back nor can I resell it.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2016
    gingerbill and Uncle Al like this.
  21. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,329   +1,978

    The other less mentioned issue is on line assistance. When I bought "Cities" recently, I could not get it to run past the loading of a particular map, no matter what I tried. The so called "help" kept sending me the same directions again and again because they were too lazy to ask questions or research the problem. In the end I stumbled upon the solution and posted that I had fixed it and they had the gall to demand I tell them what the fix was, so I kept sending them back their own bogus instructions until they gave up.

    Since the game producers won't put out demo's, continue to inflate prices, give poor to no customer service, and jerk people around like GTA 5 did with their prolonged release for the PC version, I have no issue with the games being hacked. While I don't personally used hacked games, I can certainly understand the frustration of others and like many have mentioned, I'll wait until the price drops by 50% or more before I think about buying. I still get the same level of enjoyment at a fraction of the cost! And I will never waste my money on another game console ... because you are entirely at the mercy of those game makers as well as the console makers and who needs that!?!
    SuperVeloce likes this.
  22. warzkaz

    warzkaz TS Rookie

    it's 2 hours limt :) not 30 minutes
  23. mizzwize

    mizzwize TS Rookie

    Not sure if anyone stated this, but honestly, piracy to me is only good because the games now a days suck. You're not giving me a physical copy, you're not giving me a finished game (we have decades of proof that you should be able to make a game that doesn't require patches or updates), you also include micro transactions throughout the game THEN you expect someone to spend $60 for your game that is the standard version. I see that as a huge hustle. Provide less and expect more seems to be the model for all entertainment in and out of video games. Majority of the stuff that come with deluxe editions are useless crap. Some of the DLCs either should've been part of the game or should be something worth while (some DLCs are weapons that aren't even as great as the weapons you can earn in the main game). The season passes are bullshit. But that's just my opinion. I'd start paying for games if companies either took more time on the games or at least game me the impression that they played the games themselves before setting out into the world (how ubisoft didn't see the issues with AC:III & Unity before deploying the game is beyond me, considering they were the same known issues throughout)
    SuperVeloce likes this.
  24. anotherone773

    anotherone773 TS Rookie

    I rarely pay over $30 for a traditional game anymore. And usually try to keep it under $20. I research player reviews on a game before I make the decision to purchase it. I stopped using critic reviews when they all said crysis 2 was a good game. And its nothing like the original and became quite boring after a couple of hours of play. I also have a few developers that I know produce good games consistently such as stardock, bioware and obsidian.

    They dont make games like they use too. I can finish a lot of single player campaigns in less than 30 hours casually. It use to take me 40-60 at least trying to finish on normal difficulty. the content just isnt there. I tried a pirated version of an older game back in the day because I couldnt find the game for sale anywhere. The hack was more of a headache than I wanted to deal with. Its easier to just buy. I eventually found a used copy of the game.

    I found if you play game a lot( more than 15 hours a week) the best bang for your buck is subscription games. I tried "freemium" games such as the famous "game of war". The game is designed to do nothing but suck money out of you and has very little entertainment value. Its like paying to watch paint dry and your the one that painted it.

    So far the best games that have the most content and entertainment for your buck are rift from trion worlds and Eve online from CCP. Rift is a game kind of like WoW but with better graphics, more content and more character customization. Its free to play and purchases are helpful, but everything is still available playing for free.

    Eve Online takes the cake as the best game ever made in any catergory. Its a subscription game, but its possible to play for free if you make enough currency and purchase game time codes. Eve is about 10 years old. But they continue to update the graphics of the game so it looks like much new game. CCP tries to keep graphics at a level so it can be played on all but the cheapest of pcs( you know the ones that just have enough memory to run windows and thats it). It is the worlds largest sandbox. Ive played on and off( about 5 years total active account time) since 2008 and I have yet to go everywhere in the game. The skill tree is immense and done in real time. Its actually cutting edge because it takes over a decade( real time) to do all the skills. But you can make your character viable and competitive with vets by focusing on certain skills for about a year. The amount of stuff to do in the game is insane. PVE has so many options in so many places. You can do anything from missions( questing) to mining, to killing random NPCs, to doing exploration, to manufacturing( Every item in Eve can be made by players) and more.

    PVP has just as many options. Eve is the one true hardcore pvp game. Losing a pvp battle as real consequences. You have to replace what is lost. Their are real loses and real gains to pvp. Eve has had some of the biggest pvp battles in the gaming world. Hundreds of players on each side fighting at the same time in the same area. Large alliance battles commonly reach in the low hundreds per side. Their is small gang pvp( groups of a few to 50 players roaming) and solo pvp. Pvp is based on skills, knowledge about the game, how you fit your ship and how you fly it. The game requires actual skill to be good.

    Its why I keep going back and I when I leave I miss it. I still have yet to find a game that has more stuff to do and as good of value. Oh and game is updated every 6 months and you dont pay for the new content like you do with WoW. You also do not pay for content updates with Rift and they do a major update every 6 to 9 months.
    Phr3d likes this.
  25. SirGCal

    SirGCal TS Maniac Posts: 365   +136

    Then pay the full price. I do not pirate and just wait to get the best games and enjoy them all the same. Online is all-too-often cheaters, etc. anyhow. They might not make a DRM breaker but they sure can make a speed hack easy enough, etc.

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