Middle-earth: Shadow of War’s fortresses might have strong defences, but the game doesn’t. Monolith’s Orc-slaying open-world game uses Denuvo anti-tamper software, and once again it’s been cracked in a single day, letting pirates get access to it almost straight away.
Denuvo’s appeal, for publishers looking to protect their games, is that it encrypts and decrypts itself continuously, making it harder to crack. Its Austrian developer originally boasted that this made it impossible to crack, but in reality it was just a tougher nut. Since it appeared a few years ago, however, the time between a game’s launch and it being cracked has shrunk considerably.
Several high profile releases, including Total War: Warhammer 2, have been cracked in a day as well, so the case for using it has become increasingly flimsy. With it no longer being guaranteed to stop piracy, even temporarily, it’s looking more and more like a waste of money, and player goodwill, since it also imposes several restrictions on legitimate users, like limiting activations on different PCs.
Last year, Denuvo Software Solutions boasted that some publishers were only considering PC versions of console titles because of the DRMs previous success, when it was still stopping pirates, though the link between piracy and sales is questionable. Indeed, a recently published EU Commission report couldn’t find robust evidence of a link at all.
If publishers want to keep using DRM, they may have to start looking elsewhere.