Alder Lake DRM issue fixed for all but three games

Intel Core i9 12900K up-close images with the chip exposed
(Image credit: Future)
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It’s an unfortunate truth that Intel’s new Alder Lake line of processors had a bit of a rocky launch. Despite the Intel Core i5 12600k (opens in new tab) and i9 12900K (opens in new tab) doing very well in their respective reviews, these new chips were hampered by other issues. 

Even before launch we knew that some Digital Rights Management would cause problems. The new architecture of the chip can be read as two separate computers trying to boot the game. This tricks the DRM into flagging the process and shutting it down, which is pretty bad news for a gaming CPU. Denuvo, the company responsible for the particular DRM even released a fix before release (opens in new tab), but it wasn’t widely implemented among games. 

Thus on Alder Lake’s release we published this rather extensive list (opens in new tab) of games that just didn’t work on Intel’s 12th gen processors. Well good news, Alder Lake fans, because that list is now down to three. 

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(Image credit: Future)

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Intel updated its official support article (opens in new tab) (spotted by Tom’s Hardware (opens in new tab)) to confirm that Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, Fernbus Simulator, and Madden 22 are the only known games still facing DRM issues. It’s a shame to see such new games on the list at all but at least that’s all that remains from the original 90 titles that weren't able to boot. Plus it’s very likely that these will be patched soon as well, plus there are still other ways around the issue (opens in new tab), especially if you've got a Gigabyte motherboard (opens in new tab).

It’s good to put this chapter in Alder Lake’s history behind, as these are genuinely impressive CPUs that top our list of best CPUs for gaming (opens in new tab). Not having this blemish against their name means there’s not much reason we wouldn’t recommend this generation of processor. These are now much more solidly some of the best gaming CPUs you can get on the market today. Though they are still more power hungry than competitors like the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X (opens in new tab).

Hope Corrigan
Hardware Writer

Hope’s been writing about games for about a decade, starting out way back when on the Australian Nintendo fan site Since then, she’s talked far too much about games and tech for publications such as Techlife, Byteside, IGN, and GameSpot. Of course there’s also here at PC Gamer, where she gets to indulge her inner hardware nerd with news and reviews. You can usually find Hope fawning over some art, tech, or likely a wonderful combination of them both and where relevant she’ll share them with you here. When she’s not writing about the amazing creations of others, she’s working on what she hopes will one day be her own. You can find her fictional chill out ambient far future sci-fi radio show/album/listening experience podcast (opens in new tab) right here.

No, she’s not kidding.