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Denuvo-protected games now being cracked only hours after release

By Cal Jeffrey ยท 18 replies
Oct 23, 2017
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  1. Austrian company Denuvo Software Solutions had pirates on the ropes at one point with its Denuvo anti-tamper technology. It was just too hard to break and bootleggers were about ready to give up. Then came CONSPIR4CY’s crack of Rise of the Tomb Raider and it was game on again. It almost seemed like hackers had made a contest out of who could crack the latest Denuvo-protected game the fastest.

    Once the Tomb Raider DRM was defeated, other Denuvo games fell quite quickly. It only took notorious cracker Baldman eight days to break the protection on Prey. Games like Nier: Automata and Tekken 7 didn't fare much better.

    The copy-protection company has tried to gain back its once rugged rep among the torrent-sharing community but with little success. The best it has done recently is when horror game 2Dark lasted about a month before being dismantled.

    Now, within the last month or so, pirates have beaten the protection mechanism in less than 24 hours on several recent releases.The latest crack was last week’s release of South Park: The Fractured but Whole. Middle Earth: Shadow of War, Total War: Warhammer 2 and FIFA 18 were also all broken on day one of launch according to Ars Technica.

    “Our goal is to keep each title safe from piracy during the crucial initial sales window when most of the sales are made.”

    When Denuvo was getting cracked in under a week last summer, the company defended itself by telling Eurogamer that, “Given the fact that every unprotected title is cracked on the day of release—as well as every update of games—our solution made a difference for this title.” This comment was specifically referencing the pirating of Resident Evil 7 less than a week after its release.

    To that end, the company has something of a point. Considering that most sales of new releases happen in the first few days after launch, holding pirates at bay for a week is enough time to at least move those initial units to legitimate buyers.

    However, with the algorithms giving up the goods on day one, publishers don't have much incentive to pay to use a scheme that may not even cover its own costs. This dilemma does not spell hot water for Denuvo – more like lukewarm at best.

    Software piracy has been (and always will be) a big game of cat and mouse. Software makers come up with better copy protection, then crackers come along and figure out a way in. It's an endless cycle.

    Rumors are that Denuvo should be just about ready to release “version 5” of its software. When it does, crackers will be back at work trying to find its secrets and game makers will have that brief window to make some decent sales.

    Permalink to story.

  2. DaveBG

    DaveBG TS Maniac Posts: 413   +155

    It was never a big deal. Even the first games were released a few days later on torrent sites anyway.
  3. Alex Voinica

    Alex Voinica TS Booster Posts: 87   +74

    I am very curious what they have to say in case of Witcher 3 - why didn't it need Denuvo to sell ? I wonder...
    Because what CD Projeckt Red did, they did it with passion and that can be seen in the base game as well as in the expansions - ah sorry, DLCs done right with real content. You spit on gamers respect, they spit on you back !
    Of course I will first download a cracked version of a game and play it about an hour to see if it's worth my time. If so, I will buy it. I don't want to do a refund to have 60 bucks stuck in Steam account or elsewhere until I decide to use it again.
    How much gaming industry has fallen during the years....
    statikgeek, DAOWAce, Reehahs and 5 others like this.
  4. BSim500

    BSim500 TS Evangelist Posts: 607   +1,222

    What's most amusing is when the same game is released simultaneously on Steam and GOG, and still all the pirate sites seem to deliberately offer the cracked DRM'd Steam version first vs the effortless DRM-free GOG installer almost as an intentional middle-finger to the devs...

    As for the death of downloadable demo's, despite the fake claims of "too much effort, don't need them anymore with Youtube, etc", in reality it's because developers quickly found out (especially during the increasingly consolization / bad-port years) that they harm bad games more than reward good ones. ie, great games sell well anyway purely through word of mouth. But bad ones where the gameplay doesn't match the hype, or they're released in a half-broken state or are over-consolized / dumbed down sequels, etc, will quickly be shown up in all their "glory". Same reason why they aggressively push pre-orders (and related pre-order bonuses trashy bribes) combined with review embargoes - it's all about getting you habitualized into making uninformed purchase decisions before you actually find out what the game is like for real...
    DAOWAce, Cal Jeffrey, Jamlad and 3 others like this.
  5. RevD14

    RevD14 TS Booster Posts: 92   +96

    I would pirate Shadow of War if I had enough time for games anymore just to put up the middle finger to the publisher (and devs?) for putting in microtransactions in a full price single player game.
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2017
    Alex Voinica and Transparent like this.
  6. seefizzle

    seefizzle TS Evangelist Posts: 415   +288

    The first and foremost result of DRM measures is that they will be a pain in the *** for paying users. After that, they may or may not block a certain amount of piracy for a period of time.

    The answer truly is to build a great product, and price it reasonably. If it's super easy for me to get your game / music / movie for a reasonable price I'll gladly pay. If you feel like extorting me for some exorbitant amount and make me jump through numerous hoops in the process... I'll gladly torrent or just skip your media in the first place.
  7. Theinsanegamer

    Theinsanegamer TS Evangelist Posts: 1,550   +1,767

    Except there is 0 evidence that DRM helps at all. hurting sales, OTOH....

    Pirates gonna pirate. If a game isnt cracked for a week, pirates arnt going to go "ah well, it isnt cracked yet, I might as well buy it". Spending that effort on better gameplay/content would give better returns, but then they couldnt blame the boogeyman of piracy when their games flop because they suck.
    Skjorn and Reehahs like this.
  8. Zeeed

    Zeeed TS Rookie

  9. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,286

    "Denuvo-protected games now being cracked only hours after release".
    What's taking the hacker/crackers so long? Are they on holiday again? Games with fancy DRM are usually considered cracked before they're even conceived by the studios.
  10. Skjorn

    Skjorn TS Maniac Posts: 345   +195


    Except there is 0 evidence that DRM helps at all. hurting sales, OTOH....

    Pirates gonna pirate. If a game isnt cracked for a week, pirates arnt going to go "ah well, it isnt cracked yet, I might as well buy it".[/QUOTE]

    Now pirates know games are getting cracked within a week so there goes the dev's "sales window".
    I purposely wait for games to be cracked witha few updates unless its something I really want. The last SP only game I purchased before actually playing was Fallout4.
    Cracked games also don't have denuvo constantly checking itself and making a game run poorly. GOG FTW.
  11. The people I know, if they are interested they will buy it, unless reviews are terrible. They don't have the time or interest to learn about all this crack stuff. So DRM isn't hurting sales here. Also as has been mentioned "Pirates gonna pirate" so the DRM doesn't help here either. If anything, cracking the DRM gives them something to do, a way to give them credibility as to their skills if they can crack it.
    DRM also costs the developer's lots of money. It has to be planned for, developed, incorporated into the product, and when it fails in a week, all that money is down the drain while the dev's spend more money for version 2.0 (being cracked shortly in a town near you LOL). That to me is a waste of effort and money that could have been used to make a better product
  12. Camikazi

    Camikazi TS Evangelist Posts: 978   +324

    I think what GOG is doing is actually respected by crackers and torrenters which would be why you don't see them as much as you see the cracked Steam versions.
  13. David T.

    David T. TS Rookie

    I simply do not pirate games, not worth the potential security risk of being haxored. Besides, quality online content, the ability to mostly check out a game before buying (Youtube and Twitch), Steam sales, GoG and Humble Bundle has removed all temptation to pirate personally.

    Yet there will always be piracy, I'd say follow the advice of some wise game companies, focus all your money and efforts on creating a quality products and success will follow. Don't get greedy (cough cough EA cough)
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2017
  14. andy06shake

    andy06shake TS Evangelist Posts: 493   +161

    Great news for everyone but the people who own Denuvo protected games, myself included.

    Fact is Denuvo is overly intrusive and can slow your system down.

    Best way to ensure games won't be pirated is simply to incorporate a multiplayer aspect that brings something else to the table yet cannot be easily emulated offline. Needs to be a cherry on top through and not just a burden else people will simply pirate the single player campaigns.
  15. Forebode

    Forebode TS Booster Posts: 191   +44

    Remember when PC games had demos?
    Alex Voinica likes this.
  16. Alex Voinica

    Alex Voinica TS Booster Posts: 87   +74

    "..the ability to mostly check out a game before buying (Youtube and Twitch)..." - I don't consider this a DEMO. Watching other people playing is not what we need. Of course some aspects can be decided from these like bad gameplay, poor sound, graphics ( looking at you ELEX ) but besides this, it still might be an enjoyable experience overall - so this can help or not help.
    And agreed with sales - but when you are overhyped for a game and you buy it full price because you want it in second 0 of launch and you are getting an awful experience what will you do ( besides refunding ) ?

    If you have patience , then sales and patches might be a good thing, if you're a day one buyer with no Demo - just a few YouTube videos and several reviews it's a risk nowadays.
  17. Alex Voinica

    Alex Voinica TS Booster Posts: 87   +74

    Good old days...when some of the Demos had more content than a DLC has nowadays.
  18. Alex Voinica

    Alex Voinica TS Booster Posts: 87   +74

    Not sure what respect GOG is getting - as in my country all GOG titles are on private torrents since day one. Sure no effort required for crackers - it's enough for someone to buy the title and share it with the entire community.
  19. Camikazi

    Camikazi TS Evangelist Posts: 978   +324

    Not everyone thinks the same but the fact that pirated cracked games are downloaded more than no crack needed GoG games shows something is happening. Most crackers do it because they can, because it is a challenge and because they do not agree with locking games that way to begin with so them respecting GoG makes some sense but that won't stop randoms from uploading GoG games because it is easy to do.

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