07/18/2023 at 11:15 am by Oliver Jäger – Sapphire Nation, the graphics card manufacturer’s gaming community, published an article arguing that DRM (digital rights management) and copy protection such as Denuvo are bad for video games. At the end, the author offers a compromise for dealing with digital rights management.
DRM and copy protection of all kinds is a contentious issue among game enthusiasts. Although they are intended to prevent piracy and thus protect the rights of the author, the measures for players are accompanied by unpleasant side effects. This topic has now also been taken up by the Sapphire Nation, the gaming community of the graphics card manufacturer from Hong Kong. In the article, the author explains why he considers the digital rights management for games to be problematic and also refers in particular to the currently best-known copy protection software, Denuvo. He acknowledges that DRM is a laudable goal, but that it has a tail of problems.
DRM and Denuvo – What causes it
For one thing, Denuvo is known to affect CPU performance. Whenever DRM checks are performed, players are said to experience performance degradation with Denuvo and similar copy protection software. That bothers some more, others less. The author of Sapphire Nation cites a Ryzen 7 7800X3D versus a Ryzen 5 2600 or a Core i5-8400 as an example. He goes on to say that video games are a kind of art and as such should be cherished and preserved. The Internet connection required from time to time could cause problems in order to create validation tokens for the respective game. Offline modes should still work, but only for a certain time.
Also interesting: Denuvo: Independent gaming benchmarks to prove DRM doesn’t cause performance issues
An internet connection may be required for the server validation or the execution may be refused. A failure of the Denuvo server could therefore lead to such games becoming unusable. Ironically, pirated copies, which are supposed to be prevented by DRM measures, preserve video games for the future, while Denuvo can do the opposite under certain circumstances. Thus, the author claims that preserving old games is only possible when DRM is no longer in game or irrelevant. The author also mentions the influence on loading times, the loss of control over what you have paid for and potential restrictions on modding.
DRM and Denuvo – The Compromise
But how do you get out of the dilemma so that both sides, the author and the player, are satisfied? The author knows an answer to this and offers a compromise:
“Publish the game with the chosen DRM method as requested by the publisher. However, make sure it is implemented well so that the performance impact is not too noticeable and do not use other DRM methods alongside it. This never ends well. Leave it enabled if you want the game to contain DLCs and expansion packs. Once all expansions or DLCs are available and the game has been cracked by a piracy group, remove it [DRM]. There’s no reason to still have it in the game – release a patch that removes this DRM. If the game isn’t cracked but develops all the expansions and makes the most money – wait a few more months and remove Denuvo after that . It’s a nice gesture of goodwill; You will get some positive PR and the game now has a better chance of immortality. Also, people with low-end devices who buy titles at 60% of sales on Steam or Epic will have fewer performance issues, which will slightly increase the game’s positive reception in the long run. That means passive income from this title will be slightly higher.”
Can you understand the concerns of the Sapphire author and his compromise or do you have a completely different view on the subject? Use the comment function and let us know what you think. You must be logged in to PCGH.de or the Extreme forum to comment. If you don’t have an account yet, you could consider registering, which has many advantages. Please note the forum rules when commenting.
What: Sapphire Nation