Middle-Earth: Shadow of War is the latest PC game to have its Denuvo “anti-tamper protection” cracked in less that 24 hours, following FIFA 18 and Total War: Warhammer 2.
Denuvo’s controversial technology is frequently included within PC titles as a means of thwarting unauthorised distribution of software (ie. piracy) online. It’s rarely popular with punters though, disliked for its online authentication requirements, and often blamed for a litany of performance issues, which Denuvo denies. It does, however, appear to do the job it’s designed to do – temporarily, at least.
Unfortunately for Denuvo, that window of effectiveness has been getting smaller and smaller in recent times. Mass Effect: Andromeda’s protection was cracked in 10 days earlier this year, while Sega’s recent Sonic Mania was cracked in eight. Resident Evil 7 held out for a little under a week, and Tequila Works’ Rime managed just five days.
That’s a far cry from the months of protection enjoyed by games in Denuvo’s early days, and a significant fumble for a technology that once had Chinese cracking group 3DM predicting that piracy would be dead within two years, thanks to its effectiveness.
Shadow of War’s 24-hour crack (spotted by DSOGaming), and FIFA 18 and Warhammer 2’s record-breaking 10-hour unfurling, has seen the anti-tamper tech on its shakiest ground yet, and that’s likely to raise some familiar questions. Chiefly, if Denuvo can barely withstand a day’s probing, is it even worth bothering with in the first place? Particularly when its inclusion so frequently leads to organised community boycotts and review bombing campaigns.
Denuvo’s answer has, in the past, always remained the same, with the company noting that even a short window of protection from piracy is still an important victory when unprotected games are routinely pirated on – if not before – release day. Indeed, Funcom’s Conan Exiles accidentally managed to prove that very point last year when an update unintentionally removed its Denuvo protection, resulting in its almost immediate pirating.
It remains to be seen whether the recent spate of rapid-fire cracks will have any long-term impact on Denuvo’s ubiquity.