Denuvo Claims Its DRM Does Not Hinder Gaming Performance

Denuvo DRM
(Image credit: Denuvo)

Denuvo is claiming that its Digital Rights Management (DRM) software does not have any performance impact in games that utilize it, according to a report by Ars Technica. Steeve Huin, the COO of video games for Irdeto, which owns Denuvo, told Ars that it is well aware of its reputation in the gaming world, but assures gamers that development time is taken to ensure game performance is not impacted in titles that support its DRM.

Denuvo is a very popular DRM among publishers, with a huge amount of success in recent years preventing pirates and gamers from tampering with supported titles. However, that hasn't stopped the gaming community from hating on it. Denuvo has garnered an incredibly bad reputation in the gaming community for handicapping gaming performance and breaking mods.

However, Huin claims that the performance-hindering claims from players couldn't be further from the truth. Huin explained that gamers almost never get access to a game build that comes in both protected and non-protected formats. Often, developers will remove Denuvo (more on that later) months or years down the road, after the game has received a boatload of bug fixes and optimizations that make the game run better. As a result, gamers will compare an early version of a game featuring Denuvo DRM, against the same game later on without it, without taking into consideration any other changes.

Huin claims that the Denuvo team puts in the effort of applying security and validating game performance to ensure Denuvo does not handicap performance in any way. He suggested that Denuvo is a positive force in the gaming community as a whole, noting how anti-piracy technologies benefit players, and protect publishers' investments.

However, he knows that the gaming community won't take him or the team behind Denuvo seriously even if the performance claims are real. As a result, Huin says that Irdeto (the company that bought Denuvo) is now working on a program that will give trusted media outlets a chance to test the game with and without the Denuvo DRM. Huin hopes that this plan will successfully crush false claims made on Denuvo and renew its reputation.

It's worth checking out the full interview to learn more about how Denuvo hopes to clear it's name and, somehow, improve its reputation. 

Aaron Klotz
Contributing Writer

Aaron Klotz is a contributing writer for Tom’s Hardware, covering news related to computer hardware such as CPUs, and graphics cards.

  • jkflipflop98
    If it doesn't effect me, I don't give a crap. Steam itself is DRM. I don't even notice it's there when I'm playing a game. In 40 years of gaming over thousands of titles I've had DRM stop me from playing a game twice. Once was the DRM crap on Crysis when it came out. The other was when I lost the instruction manual for Hard Drivin'
  • bigdragon
    Denuvo's upcoming benchmarks and tests do not invalidate my personal experiences. I don't need their cherrypicked and optimized metrics. Denuvo has negatively affected every AAA game I've tried to play in recent history. Stutters, FPS drops, increased loading times, multiplayer lag...all of these things I can attribute to Denuvo and other DRM solutions because the community build with DRM stripped out always runs better (when available). Period.

    I've come to shun AAA gaming in part because of Denuvo. There are so many games from smaller developers that provide good performance, responsive networking, and thriving mod communities. Of course monetization, excessive unlocks, and formulaic game design are also huge negatives -- Denuvo isn't the only reason I don't buy AAA anymore.
  • hotaru251
    jkflipflop98 said:
    Steam itself is DRM.
    issue isnt DRM itself.

    issue is Denuvo's specific type of DRM.
    it makes exe go from say 12MB to around 200MB & has actual performance impact on games (Doom & some other game that got leaked w/o it yr or 2 ago are examples of w/ and w/o denuvo and there was noticeable impact)

    Huin explained that gamers almost never get access to a game build that comes in both protected and non-protected formats.

    "almsot never" because we have had some and the proof has been seen .

    I don't support piracy for something you don't own, but if you buy something & it doesnt effect others my view is ur choice to do w/e with it. (and if want a anti denuvod version? go for it)

    bigdragon said:
    Of course monetization, excessive unlocks, and formulaic game design are also huge negatives
    which should actually be banned from gaming industry.
    "micro-transactions" arent micro when they cost 1/3rd the entire games price tag.
  • Giroro
    Even if there is no performance impact (and there definitely is. Pirated copies of games consistently run better than the version with Denuvo)

    Denuvo is still hugely expensive (a cost passed on to gamers), and most games are cracked in a matter of days.
    There is no conceivable way for Denuvo to benefit players. The only reason they are still in business is because big business number crunchers believe that they gain slightly more money from "reclaimed lost-sales of games to people who don't buy games." than the cost to integrate the DRM.
    We are talking a very slight net gain of *maybe* 1% to the launch week bottom line. It's not a worthwhile gain to anybody but biggest games and the greediest of ... Well pretty much just Bobby Kotick and a couple of his peers, actually.

    Which is fine. It's never worth it to spend $60++ on a skinner box game that only exists to trick kids into spending more money.
  • emike09
    jkflipflop98 said:
    The other was when I lost the instruction manual for Hard Drivin'
    Ah, the old instruction manual DRM! Stunts (DOS game) did the same. My cousins had a copy of the game, transferred it via floppy, and used a copier at school to copy of the manual. People been hacking DRM since the idea was ever conceived.

    Sim Farm used a simple, possibly unintended DRM, where the original install floppy used pkzip to compress the contents onto a single floppy. If you tried to copy the files from the C: drive to a floppy, one of the main files was larger than 1.44MB. As an 10 year old, I wanted the game so bad, and once I learned about zip and drive compression, the game was mine.
  • umeng2002_2
    I'm sure he is ignoring the 1% and 0.1% lows.
  • toffty
    Checks calendar
    Yeah it's not April. They're really late with the April Fools!
  • Nazosan
    It has literally been benchmarked by people with the result that it made it worse. What's more, the subjective experiences of countless people simply can't be just ignored because at a certain point what started out as subjective becomes an actual statistic when it involves that many people producing the exact same result over and over.

    Honestly they're wasting their time regardless. Even assuming they're actually right and somehow all those people who have tested both ways are all somehow every single one of them wrong, no one is going to believe them. Putting aside that logically it makes absolutely no sense for a super extreme over-the-top DRM mechanism designed to be super hard to crack by using lots of methods that the CPU must perform on the fly to somehow not, you know, take some of that CPU's performance away in the process (ok, it's really more of a latency thing, but the point stands,) even if they say "oh, we can prove it doesn't, look, we did benchmarks and our tests show it does not" absolutely no one will believe them. Not the actual gamers, and no, not even the devs. And publishers just simply don't care one way or the other. So in the end, this really has no effect and is a waste of time.

    I want to say I hope they waste a lot of money on this pointlessness, but honestly, that cost gets passed on to us, so mostly I hope they just drop this as fast as possible and give up pretending to be that which they are not.
  • setx
    Who would believe owner of that abomination? He probably doesn't even understand how it works.

    If you want to know actual state of things ask the one who knows Denuvo the most – the Empress.
  • Nazosan
    setx said:
    If you want to know actual state of things ask the one who knows Denuvo the most – the Empress.
    Eh. I will absolutely agree Denuvo is a hot mess and that, logically, it can't not have a performance effect, but I've run across a few statements from Empress and there's a lot of blatant bias in a lot of things very clearly stated, so I wouldn't trust statements there either. But, like I said, there are plenty of those who have tested more objectively and the result is not in Denuvo's favor in those tests either.