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On November 7, consumers of many different titles found themselves unable to launch their games. The range of affected games seemed wide, leading users to head to forums like ResetEra, Reddit, and Steam’s community pages to figure out why. They quickly discovered that all the games unable to launch shared something in common: Denuvo software. A bit of sleuthing revealed an expired domain was the cause.

The infamous digital rights management (DRM) technology Denuvo is often in the news. Rarely are those headlines because gaming fans are happy. Developers use DRM protection software to prevent piracy, but the software often causes other issues with games.

Gamers have accused Denuvo of decreasing game performance. In 2018, Tekken 7’s director Katsuhiro Harada blamed Denuvo for frame rate drops in the PC version of the game.

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A more recent developer who commented on the performance issues caused by Denuvo is Amplitude Studios. Prior to the release of Humankind fans took to the Amplitude forums to ask the developers to remove Denuvo sometime after the game launched. Romain de Waubert de Genlis, cofounder, chief operating officer, and creative director responded directly to the thread to explain the decision to use Denuvo.

“We’ve been one of the most wishlisted games on Steam this year, so we know we’re going to be targeted by pirates, more so than any of our previous games. If Denuvo can hold off a cracked version, even just for a few days, that can already really help us to protect our launch,” he explained. “That being said, our priority is always the best possible experience for the players who buy our games and support us. Denuvo should never impact player performance, and we don’t want to sacrifice quality for you guys. We believe that it’s possible with the right integration — however, we found that the way it was currently integrated was not good enough, and it’s not something we can fix before release. So, we are taking it out.”

Being unable to launch a game, however, is a new level of performance issue.

Denuvo provided a statement to PC Gamer which confirmed the domain issues caused the problem. They claimed the issue was now fixed and that they will work to avoid such downtime in the future.

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