Why it matters: Regardless of how you might feel about the use of DRM (digital rights management) in video games, the industry seems to be moving even further in that direction. As free-to-play titles have flourished and multiple story DLCs per game have become the norm for AAA titles, companies like the Denuvo are building additional protections against digital piracy.
Most of our readers are familiar with Denuvo, which is among the most hated DRM and anti-tamper software solutions used by video game publishers with varying degrees of success. Chances are you've played a Denuvo-protected game in recent years, as there are over 200 titles that utilize it as of this writing.
From 2014 titles like Fifa 15 and Dragon Age: Inquisition to recent games like Deathloop, Battlefield 2042, Dying Light 2, and Monster Hunter Rise, they all include some form of anti-piracy protection that supposedly helps publishers fight against people who wish to play without paying the asking price.
This week, the company behind the controversial DRM solution quietly launched a similar tool for downloadable content (DLC). Simply named SecureDLC, the new technology promises to prevent the pirating of paid add-on content and any other things that must only be unlocked through a microtransaction.
Denuvo says additional game content is an important revenue stream for many game developers, particularly those who work on free-to-play titles. The company says it's become trivial for the average gamer to download and use tools that bypass the existing protection offered by popular gaming platforms like Steam, Epic, and Microsoft Store.
Reinhard Blaukovitsch, Denuvo's managing director, says SecureDLC is already in use thanks to how easy it is to implement. All it takes are a few modifications to the platform AI that allow SecureDLC to act as an additional validator for any DLC unlock requests.
He also notes that "Denuvo has become a one-stop shop for game developers to ensure the safety of their games against cheating, tampering, and piracy and to protect the gaming experience. Our current clients, big and small, are ecstatic with the results and we are happy to help them maximize revenue and also enable new business models for these games they spent so much effort building."
While this is good news for many game developers, some gamers will no doubt be less than thrilled — and rightly so. A simple problem with Denuvo's servers can leave you without access to some of your games, while the anti-tamper software can be finicky on bleeding-edge hardware. Here's to hoping Denuvo can prevent those issues from happening again in the future.
Masthead credit: Sean Do