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Dozens of high-profile PC games were rendered temporarily unplayable this weekend, after DRM firm Denuvo appeared to experience issues with its servers.
On Sunday, social media users reported being unable to launch games which use the controversial DRM technology, including new releases Guardians of the Galaxy and Football Manager 2022.
Users also reported being unable to launch games such as Wolfenstein Youngblood, Planet Zoo, the Tomb Raider series (pictured on Resetera), Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2, Mortal Kombat 11 and Total War Warhammer.
UPDATE: Denuvo has provided a statement to PC Gamer, confirming that domain issues are behind the downtime: “A Denuvo domain was unreachable yesterday afternoon CET. The problem was fixed after we got notified from our automatic system control,” a spokesperson said.
“After the fix, there was no whatsoever restriction or limitation for the gamer. Denuvo is working to implement further improvements to avoid such downtime in the future.”
ORIGINAL STORY CONTINUES: It’s been speculated by some that the reason for the error could be as simple as a lapsed domain name. Codefusion.techlogy – a domain reportedly used for Denuvo’s game activations – appeared to have expired on Sunday.
Steam users vented their frustration at being unable to play Guardians of the Galaxy in a lengthy Steam thread on Sunday, with one user claiming that Square Enix’s support team had acknowledged the issue via private DM.
“Why this game even has Online-DRM servers is just ridiculous to begin with considering it’s a single player game with no MTX,” one user wrote.
Another commented: “This is exactly why I refuse to support games that use Denuvo, I don’t want to support a DRM that will make games unplayable if some junior forgets to renew a bloody domain or the company just shuts everything down”.
On Thursday evening, a developer on the Football Manager 2022 Steam forum claimed that server issues had been resolved.
Denuvo’s anti-piracy tool is currently used in several PC games from Ubisoft, Sega, Capcom and more. In the past, the tech has been criticised by users for its alleged high CPU usage during gameplay, which is claimed to significantly affect performance and frame rates.
Recently, Square Enix removed Denuvo from Marvel’s Avengers and Final Fantasy XII. Id Software also patched out the anti-cheat version of Denuvo in an update for Doom Eternal last year.
The downtime again highlights the issue of preservation in the games industry, and the challenges developers face keeping their games playable in the future, should crucial services such as Denuvo ever disappear.
Following backlash from players, the company made a partial u-turn in April, stating that it would no longer close the PS3 or Vita stores but was still planning to close the PSP store.
Similar criticism saw Sony release a September firmware update for the last-gen PlayStation 4 which ensured that the console would continue to work when the CMOS battery died.
Journalist Brittany Vincent argued in a VGC column that the games industry needs to increase its efforts for preserving video games, before more titles are lost to time.