The owners of Denuvo, the controversial anti-tampering system designed to prevent PC game piracy, has claimed that AAA games not using their technology are incurring huge losses due to piracy.
Referencing an unnamed AAA sports game that was not protected by Denuvo, the owners of Denuvo, Irdeto, said that the game was not only cracked on the day of release, that it was also downloaded hundreds of thousands of times during the first two weeks.
"During the first two weeks, Irdeto detected 355,664 torrent downloads of the illegal copy of the title. Given the retail price of the game, this puts the total potential loss of revenue from P2P downloads at $21,336,283," Irdeto claimed.
Denuvo protection, once thought uncrackable, has not been as impenetrable in recent times. While the tech is constantly being updated to thwart game crackers, recent versions of Denuvo have been cracked in short order, suggesting that the system can no longer protect games for months on end like previously.
Irdeto, however, claims that even a single day's worth of protection is valuable especially if it is the first day of the game's release.
"The research also found that the first day of release alone is crucial for the protection of a AAA title, as 12% of the illegal P2P downloads occurred within the first day of the cracked copy appearing on the P2P networks (and a substantial number of these in the first hour)," noted Irdeto.
Critics, including irate gamers who do not want DRM in their legally purchased games, however, have noted that Irdeto's claims may not stack up. Irdeto's claim of $21,336,283 in lost sales for the unnamed AAA game would only occur if every downloaded copy translates to a sold copy. In many cases, gamers download pirated games because they can't afford to buy the legal version, or they only wish to sample the game without any serious intentions to buy it if the pirated version had not existed.
There are also real data that may prove games without DRM can also do well at retail, including 'The Witcher' series of games, all of which were released DRM-free. The series is now one of the best selling game franchises in history.
Critics also note that even some games protected by Denuvo are cracked on launch day, for example, 'Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker'.
Furthermore, some have noticed performance issues with games that use Denuvo's engine, claiming that the engine uses a large amount of computing resources that otherwise could be used by the game. A recent comparison for the game 'Mass Effect Andromeda' with and without Denuvo protection (the publishers of the game removed Denuvo protection in a recent patch) showed as much as a 12% improvement in average framerate for the game post Denuvo removal.
Despite these criticisms, Irdeto is still urging all publishers to consider their anti-tampering, anti-piracy tech, in order to protect their works.
" ... it is crucial for publishers to implement security strategies that make their games as difficult as possible to crack and reverse engineer. This way they will be able to better protect the revenues that allow them to continue to create such compelling games," the company concluded.