No Refunds When Games Get Pirated, Says Denuvo. Kind of Obvious

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Recently it was alleged that the company behind Denuvo actually engaged in giving out refunds to game companies when their titles were cracked.

Now the company behind Denuvo has come out and stated that it has not given any refunds to game companies whose game titles have been cracked.

It was also alleged that to claim the refund, the respective game had to be cracked within a specific time frame. Naturally, the company behind Denuvo has denied that as well.

However, the company’s co-founder voiced his own opinion and said that the developers of the huge popular game title Doom removed piracy protection from their title because it had accomplished its objective.

The only question that remains now is that if all of it has been paid for then what is the point of refunding when it doesn’t even affect performance?

No one can dispute the fact that Doom, a classic first-person shooter video game, has been ranked among the biggest triple-A game releases for the year 2016. Few would argue that the latest incarnation of the game has once again made it a must-own one.

The backstory is outstanding, to say the least, and the game has, what some would call a good pedigree.

All of that makes Doom, in some respects, the number one target for pirates. Pirates love to upload copyrighted stuff on the internet for free. In order to benefit from uploading various copyrighted files to piracy websites, they must attract more downloaders.

People only download torrent files which are popular and fun to interact with. Doom, forms the best of both worlds. It is a hugely popular title and provides plenty of opportunities for people to interact with it.

Strangely enough, Doom did not pop up on most pirate network’s radar when it was officially released back in May.

What could have been the reason since a game like Doom is bound to hit the top chart on every torrent site in the world within a week of its release?

Well, the simple answer is that the makers of Doom had learned their lessons from previous experiences and experiences of other AAA titles that were released even earlier in the year and had invested a lot of money in anti-piracy technologies to protect their game from getting cracked and then pirated around the world, resulting in massive revenue loss for the developers behind the game.

Sooner or later, all games get cracked as is evident from the number of tutorials on youtube.

The anti-piracy technology with which Doom was protected was supplied by an Austria based company by the name of Denuvo Software Solutions.

Despite Devuno’s best efforts, Doom was finally cracked by a clever group of pirates in a matter of four months. Doom appeared on every online forum and torrent site that existed on the face of the earth, albeit in unauthorized form.

The group who cracked Doom called itself CPY.

This development obviously did not go down well with the developers (and publishers) of the game. Needless to say, about a month ago, Bethesda (the publishing studio behind Doom) removed Denuvo Software Solutions from its AAA game title, Doom, in its entirety.

Denuvo’s removal from Doom raised quite a few eyebrows and the rumor mill was set alight with all sorts of speculation about what really went down. The rumors only intensified when another alleged developer made claims about Denuvo Software Solutions offering refunds to developer studios and their publishers if their precious AAA titles were cracked. However, it was alleged, the refunds were only taken into account if the game had been cracked within a pre-set time period.

The developer who brought Denuvo Software Solutions “malpractices” into light also said that he didn’t want to explain what happened in the “Denuvo removal” case.

He further explained and said that Denuvo Software Solutions offered a guarantee if your Denuvo game was cracked within a certain time, three months was the normal time period, you did not have to pay for Denuvo.

Now, the important thing to note here is that whatever technology Denuvo used to protect Bethesda’s Doom from pirates and other hackers didn’t work the way Bethesda wanted it to, but Doom was, still, cracked outside of the stipulated period.

If that is taken into consideration then the claims made by the unknown developer do make a lot of sense.

The whole point of signing up for a copyright protection technology is to block pirates and other hackers from pirating games and other copyrighted content. It doesn’t matter if the technology stops pirates from cracking the particular piece of content, such as video games, for a short amount of time.

However, if that “short period of time” can’t be guaranteed by the company providing those copy protection technology either, then some reasonable amount of a compensation from the technology providing company should be the order of the day.

Any Word From Denuvo Software Solutions Yet?

Doom isn’t the only popular title that has made it to the top of piracy charts this year.

Well, Robert Hernandez, who is the co-founder of Denuvo Software Solutions, spoke to Kotaku in an interview where he explained his company’s side of the story.

Basically his argument was that the protection applied to the Doom game title had served its purpose rather well and hence was removed from the game.

As mentioned earlier in the article, he denied charges of issuing any refunds to developers or publishing studios.

Hernandez also said that the simple reason why Denuvo Anti Tamper was removed from Doom was because it had accomplished its purpose by keeping the game safe from piracy during the initial sales window.

He further explained that the protection on Doom held up for nearly four months, which was an impressive accomplishment for such a high-profile game.

This might sound a bit judgmental but Hernandez does have a point there. Four months is a lot of time, almost a third of a full year, for any AAA game developer to recover its costs by selling lots of actual game units.

This situation is certainly a country mile away from those unfortunate games (and their developers) that get cracked even before launch date. That was indeed a regular occurrence as far as PC games went a couple of years ago.

Hernandez was trying to convey the same message to the Kotaku reporter. Now, even though Denuvo held up its side of the bargain and protected Bethesda’s Doom for more than four months and essentially outlived its usefulness as far as protecting Doom was concerned, Hernandez was adamant that no developer or publisher (like Bethesda) was getting compensated as a result of Doom getting pirated a month ago.

He told Kotaku that his company could not comment on their deal with specific customers, but they did not have any deals in place that offered refunds if a game was cracked within a specific time frame.

Now the only complication that remains is that of interpretation. Most of what Bethesda has said and most of what Hernandez (co-founder Denuvo Software Solutions) has said is wide open to interpretation.

How much revenue does copy protection technologies save for developers?

That means, most of the people reading this will form their own opinions of the matter.

Regardless, it should be clear that Denuvo Software Solutions, being a company that provides piracy security to video games, has to do its job of protecting the game from pirates who want to crack it open and distribute it freely on the internet through piracy websites.

There is hardly a developer out there, if any, who will pay for a copy protection service that doesn’t work or can’t protect the merchandise long enough.

In short, companies like Denuvo Software Solutions have to protect the game title during the official launch period and some time after that so developers along with publishers can recover their investment from their prized product.

Now here comes the obvious part. Denuvo isn’t going to share any of its deals that it has struck with various other clients in public.

But common sense dictates that the first month after a game title’s launch should be considered the most valuable in terms of protection. Hence, any option that protects a game title for a full month after launch has to be valued the most. That should also translate into more money for the providers of the copy protection technology i.e companies like Denuvo Software Solutions.

For developers, the first month after initial launch is also the most valuable both in terms of revenue generation and distribution.

No doubt, if someone can stretch that copy protection technology to protect the game title for a further two or three months then that would be better than the single month protection.

But those three months are obviously not that important. Once sales of the game title increase and potential purchasers of the game title decrease (because most of them would have already bought the product) it stands to reason that the price of copy protection technology should also change.

If the value of copy protection technology doesn’t remain the same, that obviously means that companies like Denuvo Software Solutions have to renegotiate the deal with their clients if it wasn’t stipulated in the initial contract from the beginning.

Let’s believe Hernandez and his Denuvo Software Solutions for argument’s sake that the company has not engaged in offering any refunds for the pirated games.

Then, it makes very little sense to buy copy protection technology from a company like Denuvo Software Solutions for a period of six months right from the start. That would be a huge gamble.

What might be better and fairer for both parties (developers/publishers and copy protection technology providers) is to agree on paying by the numbers.

In other words, developers should have the option of paying copy protection technology providers by real-time performance and durability.

This brings us back to the original unknown developer who made claims about Denuvo offering refunds. The unknown developer rather insisted that studios had to remove Denuvo Software Solutions from their AAA game titles after these same studios ceased their payments for the provided protection.

Most of the details in this case are unclear at the moment. But it does seem like this has already happened to Doom.

Denuvo Software Solutions’ major selling point is that the company can offer protection for game titles without affecting the performance of the protected games.

And that’s the confusing part.

If have Denuvo on a game title doesn’t hurt game performance and developer studios have already paid for the protection, then why can’t the developers simply keep the Denuvo protection where it is i.e in the game.

On the other hand, Hernandez, while speaking to Kotaku about the issue, said that the removal of Denuvo from Doom was solely the decision of the publishing studio i.e Bethesda.

He also said that each publisher was, of course, free to remove their anti tamper tech from their title once they feel the protection had achieved its purpose in protecting the initial sales window, or if they had other reason for doing so, such as selling the title on DRM-free platforms.


Lastly, perhaps the most interesting aspect of the situation with Denuvo should have been discussed at the start of the article.

That interesting aspect is that Denuvo has been reported to be a little susceptible to certain piracy tactics. But despite that fact, Denuvo has managed to generate quite a lot of online discussion in recent months.

And if Trump’s election is anything to go by, then we know that if anything makes a ruckus, it is probably doing something right.

In other words, Denuvo with its copy protection technology must be proving itself to be some kind of irritant to hackers and other pirates, otherwise there wouldn’t be so much discussion about it.

And perhaps that is also the reason why game developers continue to pay for copy protection technologies even though with the passage of time, they do get cracked.


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Do you think it is worth it pay a premium for copy protection technologies or should the contracts be based on performance and by the numbers?

Let us know your thoughts by using the comments section below.


Zohair A. Zohair is currently a content crafter at Security Gladiators and has been involved in the technology industry for more than a decade. He is an engineer by training and, naturally, likes to help people solve their tech related problems. When he is not writing, he can usually be found practicing his free-kicks in the ground beside his house.
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