TechSpot means tech analysis and advice you can trust. Read our ethics statement.
DRM: If you were to ask the PC gaming community at large what their least favorite aspect of the industry is, a sizable portion of those individuals would probably say "DRM." Though younger gamers are probably used to the concept by now, older players likely still remember the days when they could install and play a game across as many computers as they like, with little to no restrictions.
Unfortunately, as video game piracy has become more common over the years, developers and publishers have increasingly turned to DRM to ensure their games can't be illegally downloaded for at least the first few days following launch (to protect early sales). Most DRM isn't very effective, though. Games with Steamworks, for example, tend to get cracked on day one (or earlier). Then, Denuvo came along.
Denuvo has proven to be notoriously hard for pirate groups to break through (though it does seem to be getting easier lately), making it the obvious choice for most AAA publishers and developers. Rage 2 was the latest game to feature the technology on launch, much to the chagrin of some fans who claim it degrades performance and (allegedly) refuse to buy it on principle. However, as pirates quickly discovered, only Rage 2's Steam version had Denuvo built-in.
Bethesda.net copies, on the other hand, were Denuvo-free. Whether this was a conscious choice on Bethesda's part (perhaps as an added incentive to get users to buy directly from them) or an accident is unknown. Either way, this decision led to the Bethesda.net version of Rage 2 getting cracked on day one. Perhaps as a result of this, Bethesda has opted to pull Denuvo from Rage 2 entirely just a few days after release.
The company has used the opportunity to generate a bit of positive PR, by stating that the latest patch "Removes Denuvo DRM" due to a "few [fan] requests" (they're clearly being sarcastic with the latter). The community's response to the decision has been mostly positive, with the vast majority of users expressing their gratitude that Bethesda has done the "right thing." Many gamers have said that while they initially avoided purchasing the title due to Denuvo, they will do so now – whether or not those claims hold any water is another matter, but the sentiment is still nice to see.