Denuvo, the integrated anti-piracy DRM, doesn’t have the same staying power as it once did. After many high profile quick crackings this year, another game has had Denuvo successfully removed.
It took just eight days for Sonic Mania to be cracked. Denuvo is the anti-tampering DRM measure to prevent piracy. Denuvo’s DRM requires an online connection to play the game, regardless of whether the game has online functionality or not.
Sonic Mania was released on the PC on August 29th following a two week delay from the console versions. The announcement of the delay came just four days before the planned August 15th release date. While many were surprised by the wait, after the PC release many believed they had a good idea why.
Users were surprised to learn that Sonic Mania required an online connection to play despite the game being entirely offline. The Steam store page also failed to mention the online requirement. After users took to Steam forums to complain, Sega responded stating that the online requirement was never intentional and an error that would be corrected. Users immediately saw Denuvo as the reason for the online requirement. Despite Sega removing the DRM through an update, hackers still sought to remove Denuvo.
Years ago, Denuvo was thought to be one of the best anti-piracy measures for video games. DRM has existed for over a decade, but Denuvo might have been the most successful integration of anti-tamper technology. Early last year, it was even said that Denuvo was impenetrable. Notorious hacker 3DM believed that piracy on PC would completely disappear because of it. In 2017 however, Denuvo doesn’t last longer than a few days.
Sonic Mania was cracked in just over a week. It has followed a trend of many quick high profile Denuvo removals. Throughout the year, game after game has had Denuvo removed turning the release of a crack into something of a race. In 2016, for publishers and developers it seemed like a good way to prevent piracy but it has since been proven to not have the same staying power. There are even instances of Denuvo servery effecting a games performance like with this year’s Rime. The game had horrible performance on PC due to an overzealous online check system.
While nobody is condoning piracy, DRM has proven to be a system that punishes legitimate buyers more than it stops pirates. Denuvo is no longer the fortress it once was and its constant use is baffling. Life is Strange: Before the Storm was the other notable release in August to feature DRM. As of now there is no announcement of a crack but considering the battle with Denuvo is out of pride, it will likely happen soon.