Denuvo, as you will recall, is the name of a modern version of anti-piracy DRM, foretold to be the end of video game piracy, when the reality is that its legend exceeded its capability. While we’ve begun to see an uptick in stories of game developers actively limiting or excluding the use of DRM in their games, those stories tend not to be about Denuvo DRM. Many have taken this to be an indication of Denuvo’s strength and usefulness, even if it isn’t 100% effective.
But now we do indeed have a story about a game developer that had initially included Denuvo in its game, only to yank it via a patch at a later date.
Nowadays, most talk of DRM revolves around titles that add the “anti-tamper” tech known as Denuvo, thus preventing piracy of those games. That’s what makes the latest update to side-scrolling puzzle game Inside so unusual: the developers have chosen to do away with Denuvo.
Playdead did not give a reason for the removal of Denuvo in the short patch-notes, though it’s worth noting that the game was also recently released on GOG—which is marketed as a digital storefront that does not believe in DRM.
Which is one of the ways that GOG is most useful. Like a popular candidate on the extreme end of the political spectrum, the success and popularity of GOG serves to yank what might otherwise be a near-uniform desire to use DRM by game developers back to a more reasonable position. If developers see GOG as a good platform for selling their games, even with the site’s virulent anti-DRM stance, then it stands to reason that DRM generally isn’t worth including in their games. That this is starting to become the calculation for what was supposed to be the DRM unicorn is a positive development, though one wonders just how much money Playdead wasted including it in the first place.
Meanwhile, fans of the game are celebrating Playdead’s decision. Some are even actively promoting the game to friends and family, or buying other titles by the studio, all as a result for removing an annoyance to legitimate customers.