A new version of DRM software Denuvo is coming to squat on your games

The Pip Boy from the Fallout series being the benevolent hacker he is
(Image credit: Bethesda)

Digital Rights Management software Denuvo is a recurring PC gaming villain, frequently blamed for launch issues and problems with performance. That may not always be fair, but recent games like Resident Evil Village seem to have suffered and, even if it does work as intended, it leaves players vulnerable to service lapses that render their games unplayable.

Nevertheless Denuvo remains a popular piece of thirdparty software among developers who want to minimise piracy, and now the company has announced Denuvo SecureDLC. This DRM software goes above-and-beyond the vanilla Denuvo by protecting games, and it seems to be particularly focused on F2P games, where the money is being made through microtransactions.

"While selling additional content is an important revenue stream, it has become easy to bypass the existing barriers that try to secure DLCs on popular gaming platforms like Steam and Epic," says Denuvo's press release. "By using public and easily accessible tools, players can automatically generate and install programs that access downloadable content without paying for it."

So this seems to be a Denuvo for an age where the most profitable games in the world are not your traditional big box singleplayer adventure, but the cosmetic-fests that follow in Fortnite's wake. Denuvo Secure DLC aims to protect "cosmetic items, new characters, weapons, and power-ups [alongside] big content updates for a game that are only included in certain versions of the game (like a collectors’ edition) or must be purchased separately."

The new software is already out in the wild, apparently. "Denuvo has become a one-stop shop for game developers to ensure the safety of their game against cheating, tampering, and piracy and to protect the gaming experience," says Reinhard Blaukovitsch, managing director. "Our current clients, big and small, are ecstatic with the results and we are happy to help them maximize revenue and also enable new business models for these games they spent so much effort building.” 

The software focuses on microtransactions but can also be applied to games with more traditional DLC models. Denuvo reckons this is the first anti-piracy software that specifically protects DLC and, given that's such a popular business model these days, no doubt you'll start to see it soon in a F2P game near you. Whether it will also make those games run like a dog remains to be seen but, on past form, you wouldn't bet against it.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."