A DRM Error Made Major Single-Player PC Games Unplayable

Over the weekend, online forums were flooded with reports that numerous video games on PC were not launching. Gamers narrowed the problem down to an issue affecting Denuvo, a DRM solution used by some publishers. 

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/k7wawa/a-denuvo-drm-error-made-major-single-player-pc-games-unplayable

Another way to look at this is if Denuvo ever ceases to exist then all games that use it are now bricked unless patched by their respective current holders who may or may not have access to the source code or even find it worth the time and money to fix on a game that may no longer sell all that much.

And I think it is aptly put that pirates are getting better version of a game. I get the want of a company to release a game with DRM to prevent launch window pirates as that’s when the bulk of sales are typically made but a year+ on and the game has long been cracked. At that point just do everyone a favor and strip out the DRM or put in a less invasive version so they can make sure that they get to keep enjoying the game they bought.

I’ve been playing Hitman 3 a lot more lately (mostly because of Nextlanders Hitmarathon) and I had an instance where my network dropped for a second and having the game yell at me in a single player game that I need to reconnect to the internet feels awful. Meanwhile there’s cracked version of Hitman 3 that look to have been around since release.

Also if you’re the company in charge of DRM and you didn’t think to automate the renewal of a domain name or SSL cert which are single points of failure in your DRM maybe you need to be held more accountable by these companies that use your product.


I guess when it happens this will be the 20XX version of this:

I recently tripped over this specific DRM, after spending an exorbitant sum on a used copy of an old Japanese game, only to find out that it’s laden with SafeDisc, and the steps to get it working in Windows 10 are kind of fragile (it worked for a while until it didn’t)

I was lucky to find a used PS2 disc on eBay but that’s hardly a good solution. Despite knowing this kind of thing was an issue, I can’t remember actually running into it myself until now. Reading these articles from 6 years ago made me sad for the state of archiving and preservation…


Can you rip it to an ISO and mount it in a VM? Not ideal but maybe it would work?

That was actually my first try, running it in an VM with an old version of Windows. But it didn’t seem to work. The solution for Windows 10 is to actually re-enable the old (I guess insecure?) hooks which they took out that the DRM relies on. But it’s a bit convoluted.

The irony is that although the PS2 port looks a bit worse, because the font is lower res it’s actually easier for me to read (as a non-native learner of Japanese) since it’s kind of like a large format font


Yeah, I have a couple of mid-00s PC games I just can’t play anymore*, and which are unlikely to get the support needed to ever make them run on a post-SafeDisc operating system. I’ve done the usual ‘run a VM, rip an ISO, disable every Windows Security feature, etc.’ all to no avail. (Hello, I am the only person in the world who is mildly disappointed I cannot run Beowulf: The Movie: The Game, because I’m a Beowulf nerd and wish to see how badly Ubisoft mangled it. Can’t be as bad as AC: Valhalla.)

* Legitimately, anyway. :pirate_flag:

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Ha yeah I’ve been in this boat back when I was trying to revisit those old PC Harry Potter games (partly for childhood nostalgia and partly because I think their design is actually kinda interesting, weird mix of discrete levels and a metroidvania-ish gated world, anyway, back to topic—)

They were also SafeDisc games and as far as my attempts there were no legitimate ways of getting them to run on my Windows 10 machine. Being… let’s say mild cult classics meant that others had done the dirty work for me and I was able to play them, but I had to dig around for a while to find that stuff. It’s really ironic that the only way to play a game that I had owned for over 15 years was to engage in such shenanigans.

Y’all are making me worried that I can’t play my copy of Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle Earth the only LotR game I really liked as someone who doesn’t particularly care for fantasy. I’m going to have to find a disc drive now so I can test it