Although stopping game-pirates has seen developers get creative with their methods, it often seems about as futile as copyright protections on movies and music. That may not be the case for much longer though, as a Chinese cracking group has warned that if DRM protections continue to increase in complexity, in two years time there may be no more pirated games.
The problem doesn't stem from in-game thwarting like adding invincible red scorpions, or trapping people in lifts, but traditional DRM-like copy protection. Denuvo in particular. That anti-tamper system has been used before and found some success in thwarting the efforts of those trying to crack Dragon Age: Inquisition, but most recently it's done a solid job of protecting Just Cause 3.
Despite being released at the start of December, the Avalanche developed title has not been cracked. A quick look at any major torrent site will show you a list of “Steam Pre-load,” downloads, but nothing in the way of unlockers or cracks to get it working without that important official seal of approval.
“Recently, many people have asked about cracks for ‘Just Cause 3′, so here is a centralized answer to this question,” said founder of the 3DM cracker forum, Bird Sister (via TorrentFreak). “The last stage is too difficult and Jun [cracking guy] nearly gave up, but last Wednesday I encouraged him to continue.”
It's expected that cracking groups will eventually figure out how to circumvent this version of Denuvo too, making games using it like JC3 available for everyone, but the writing is on the wall: doing so is getting harder and harder. If that trend continues and more developers sign on to the effective DRM system, the pirating of games may become much rarer.
Of course it may turn out the Denuvo, like DRM systems before it, will be cracked open so wide by some enterprising hacker that it becomes largely useless, but that doesn't appear to be happening any time soon. Even if Denuovo can continue to provide protection for games for just a couple of months after launches, that may be enough to force would-be pirates into buying a copy just to join in before fickle-minded gamers move on to something else.
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KitGuru Says: Unless you're from a country where game prices are extortionate – and even then, GoG gives you money back to counter that – there isn't much reason to pirate these days. All of the available digital download platforms and sales make games much cheaper and easier to use than ever before.
But it's still surprising that DRM is standing up to such scrutiny.