Denuvo is anti-piracy tech that was once seen as uncrackable but is now viewed as more of a nuisance than anything. While tests have proven inconclusive, some believe it has a notable impact on games’ performance. It’s also the de facto DRM software of our time, and nobody, except big business, likes DRM. When Rage 2 players discovered it was tagging along for the ride in the post-apocalyptic shooter’s Steam version, they were not pleased.
They didn’t have to wait long for a solution. Rage 2's latest Steam patch touts that it “removes Denuvo DRM” because its developers “saw a few requests”—emphasis theirs. Rage 2 came out on May 14, meaning that player complaints got it stripped of Denuvo mere days after release.
It’s not uncommon for developers to remove Denuvo from their games, but usually that only happens months down the line, after the copy protection software has served its purpose in the boom period immediately following release. In this case, however, publisher Bethesda and developers id Software and Avalanche were dealing with a few factors that really threw a wrench in the works.
For one, there was all the passionate fan response to Denuvo’s presence in the game, which took on an even more aggrieved tone than usual due to the fact that the DRM wasn’t present in the game’s Bethesda Launcher version. This led to the usual slew of negative Steam reviews, forum posts, and other complaints. On top of that, Rage 2 was cracked within less than 24 hours of its release, seemingly because of the aforementioned lack of Denuvo in its Bethesda Launcher version. Given that Denuvo’s stated goal is to “protect initial sales” from piracy, there was likely no real reason for Bethesda, id, and Avalanche to keep it around anymore.
So now, at the very least, Rage 2 has a lack of Denuvo going for it. Unfortunately, while I’m enjoying the pimple-popping goodness of the game’s shooting, it seems like a lot of people—including Kotaku’s Gita Jackson—are finding that it quickly wears out its welcome. I suppose in that regard, the Denuvo-flavored apple didn’t fall very far from the tree.