It seems that video game companies never learn, and despite PC gamers’ backlash against DRM and copy-protection schemes, the likes of Square Enix are sticking to their guns and featuring intrusive DRM in their games.
Perhaps the most renowned (or reviled, depending on who you ask) copy protection scheme out there is Denuvo, which debuted in 2014. This was so effective back in the day that it made infamous hacker group 3DM (who are based in China, by the way) give up their efforts to remove copy protection from games like Just Cause 3, much to the dismay of the game-pirating, freeloading PC crowd…
But now 3DM are back in the game, and recently reported a big success by removing Denuvo from another big-name PC release, this time Square Enix’s Final Fantasy XV. You see, Denuvo was meant to keep Final Fantasy XV piracy-free during the game’s crucial launch window, which is when most sales of major, AAA games take place these days.
Alas, this was not to be and the folks at 3DM have found a way to circumvent Denuvo, a way which did not actually involve cracking the game per se as reported on website PC Gamer.
Actually, what 3DM did was take advantage of the fact that the Final Fantasy XV demo (which came out a couple of days ago) does not feature any kind of protection. All these hackers had to do, then, was use the demo’s executable file to crack open the game, fooling Denuvo into thinking the user is running a legit copy of the game.
Also, 3DM got a little help from the fact that video game service Origin failed to encrypt the Final Fantasy XV files in its pre-load, letting the Chinese group put out one of the first pre-release cracks for a Denuvo-protected game to date.
So, taking into account recent developments, is it worth it for video game companies to include DRM in their PC releases? It seems a case is building against relying on copy-protection schemes like Denuvo these days, with hackers being able to strip games like Sonic Mania and Middle-earth: Shadow of War of their protection with relative ease these days.
Should companies like Square Enix follow CD Projekt’s (the makers of The Witcher 3) and Flying Wild Hog’s (the people behind Shadow Warrior 2) example and ship their games with no DRM whatsoever, or stick to their old philosophy that PC gamers can’t be trusted in general, and therefore some form of protection is necessary?
If one thing is clear, is that there’s little excuse these days to jump on the piracy bandwagon, given that outlets like Steam and Origin run sales regularly, allowing you to get games at discounted prices. And Final Fantasy XV itself does have a demo available for anyone who’d like to try the game free of charge. So here’s hoping the PC games market continues to thrive then, and that despite the recent failures of DRM schemes like Denuvo, PC piracy does become less of an issue in the future.