DRM is one of the most contentious points of controversy within the PC gaming scene. While it is supposed to prevent piracy, many claim that it just hampers the performance of games and could result in the game being unaccessible in the future. One of the most notable companies at the center for this debate is Denuvo, who were recently acquired by large digital platform security company Irdeto.
While some PC gamers will wince at the mere mention of Denuvo, Sales Director Elmar Fischer tried to explain the company’s necessity and stance to Gamesindustry.biz during an interview. Even if their DRM ends up getting cracked shortly after launch, he believes it should exist to protect the initial sales of these titles:
“The effects are [obvious], but you don’t see it really. They don’t talk; it’s not like the movie industry where they have clear figures if a [film] is pirated…Our goal, and it’s still the goal, is to protect initial sales. Of course we would like to have it uncracked forever, but that just doesn’t happen in the games industry.”
That being said, Denuvo couldn’t supply specific figures to GamesIndustry, though Elmar was still confident that Denuvo’s DRM had a major positive impact on the sales of games it protects:
“It’s a really tough one for us to answer straight. For the games we protect, I think we have a huge impact, especially if we secure the initial sales window then we see a dramatic on the game and also the revenue when you compare it to other games that have been cracked immediately, but for the industry as a whole, it’s very tough to answer.”
As for the other issues that arise with DRM, Elmar was able to admit that last year was somewhat weak for Denuvo, with several games either being cracked quickly or having performance issues. Tekken 7’s issues were apparently due to the game’s complexity, while a clear answer or reasoning could not be given for Sonic Mania’s problems. These issues shouldn’t be as apparent after the Irdeto acquisition though, as he says that their partnership has really bolster the technology:
“Correct, we did have bit of a rough patch in Autumn last year especially with some quick cracks. I think that’s also the timing when we had the idea to work together with Irdeto. Seeking to strengthen our tech actually came from the acquisition with the complimentary tech; a lot of help from their engineering side… they have nearly unlimited resources compared to our 45 people.”
Only time will tell if Denuvo’s DRM practices will continue to be intrusive and impact games poorly or if things will improve, benefiting developers and publishers with no impact to consumers.