Ubisoft says Assassin's Creed: Origins high CPU usage is not due to DRM

There have been quite a lot of complaints about the load that Assassin's Creed: Origins puts on CPUs, attributed in this Torrentfreak report to Ubisoft's anti-piracy efforts. Since the once-mighty Denuvo is now a soft target, Ubisoft has bolstered it with VMProtect, which adds another layer of digital armor that crackers have to get through, and according to the report it drops the game's performance by an estimated 30 to 40 percent. 

This is all based on the word of a cracker who claims to have obtained AC: Origin's binary code. "This layer of VMProtect will make Denuvo a lot more harder to trace and keygen than without it," they said. "But if you are a legit customer, well, it’s not that great for you since this combo could tank your performance by a lot, especially if you are using a low-mid range CPU. That’s why we are seeing 100 percent CPU usage on 4 core CPUs right now for example." 

In a statement posted on Steam, however, Ubisoft declared that "the anti-tamper solutions implemented in the Windows PC version of Assassin’s Creed Origins have no perceptible effect on game performance." 

"Assassin’s Creed Origins uses the full extent of the minimum and recommended PC system requirements here: http://forums.ubi.com/showthread.php/1759689 while ensuring a steady 30 fps performance," a rep wrote. "We’re committed to ensuring the most optimum experience possible for everyone, and we advise any players who may encounter performance issues on PC to check out support.ubi.com as there might be already a workaround or to contact us further explaining their issues so that we can solve them." 

It's worth bearing in mind that the system requirements are pretty stiff—a Core i5 with 6GB RAM and a GTX 660 is the listed minimum—while the promise of "steady 30 fps performance" from of that kind of hardware is maybe a little underwhelming. There are known issues with AMD cards as well, which muddies the waters even further. 

It wouldn't be the first time that a game comes out running fine on powerful hardware while struggling at the lower end of the scale—Dishonored 2 comes immediately to mind—and despite Ubisoft's insistence that the DRM isn't responsible, it does appear to be working on a fix: Ubisoft forum user AOD_SN0ST0RM said a rep told them that Ubi will "address this in a future update to the game. ... Once we have more information on our upcoming update(s), it will be posted on our forums."

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.