'Resident Evil 8: Village' Broken Due To DRM, Cracked Version Fixes It

from the your-game-on-crack dept

Any review of the stories we've done on DRM in video games will reveal two main categories as far as themes for those posts. The first is that DRM is laughably ineffective. DRM is an arms race that only ever has one winner: those who seek to circumvent it. Even the once-vaunted Denuvo DRM, thought, for some time, to be undefeatable, has now been reduced to being an industry joke. The other theme is how DRM has awful effects on paying customers and absolutely zero negative effects on those who commit copyright infringement. So, what is DRM? A useless platform used by video games with only one real impact: annoying paying customers.

But one point that often gets lost is that cracked versions of games that include annoying DRM aren't just functioning as copyright infringement (though they certainly are primarily that), but also that these cracked versions can also be legitimately seen as fixing these broken games. For an example of this, one need only look at the PC gaming experience surrounding Resident Evil 8: Village, which is fundamentally broken on the PC for paying customers.

The background here is that Capcom actually layers two different DRM systems on the game, apparently as a method for making the game much harder to crack. Instead of being cracked at the time of release, in May, the game was only cracked here in July. The problem is that this 2 months worth of protection appears to have come at the cost of the game being able to keep up when players do very necessary things in a Resident Evil game like, oh say, shooting zombies.

The retail version includes easily reproducible scenarios where attacking an advancing zombie with a gun—something you do quite often in Resident Evil games—can trigger a visible on-screen stutter. In other words, the image freezes for a noticeable moment before the game catches up, and this can be seen in RTSS's real-time graph as a spike.

Whatever Capcom and Denuvo worked up this time around seems to have evaded crackers' efforts for much longer. That may have come at the price of guaranteed smooth performance—with gaming analysts like Digital Foundry's Alex Battaglia maligning the game's PC version. "This stuttering honestly leaves a very bad first impression for this game, as the pivotal moment of a first-person game with guns is shooting those guns," Battaglia said shortly after RE8:V's May 2021 launch. "If that is unsatisfying very often when you do it, then the game is doing something wrong."

Notably, the cracked version has none of these stuttering issues. In other words, the crack, or more specifically the routing around of the DRM, simply fixes the game. Yes, it's also a method for playing the game for free and thereby committing copyright infringement, but think about what this means in summary. Capcom released a game where the core gameplay element -- shooting bad guys -- doesn't work right. The cracked version makes that core gameplay element works correctly. If you're a paying customer of Capcom's, where does this leave you?

Well, it leaves you in a place where the company you bought the game from has sold you an inferior product compared with the one the pirates are offering you for free. Does that make copyright infringement morally right? Absolutely not. But it is also not solid moral footing for the company to punish its paying customers for the crime of paying for the game as opposed to pirating it. Selling an inferior product is not a business strategy.

For what it's worth, the guilty party in this equation looks more to be the Capcom side of the equation rather than Denuvo, but that doesn't change the fact that something like 2 months worth of protection came at the cost of the paying customer. In what world does that make any sense at all?

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Filed Under: drm, piracy, resident evil 8, video games
Companies: capcom


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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 13 Jul 2021 @ 8:09pm

    'We'll take your money, but we know you'd rob us if you could.'

    DRM: Because why just take money from someone when you can take their money and treat them like a criminal who needs to be constantly watched and kept in check at the same time?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 13 Jul 2021 @ 10:47pm

      Re: 'We'll take your money, but we know you'd rob us if you coul

      Alternatively - DRM: we're putting people off buying our games because they realise that they don't want to pay a premium for an inferior product so they choose our non-DRM competitors. Why are our sales lower than expected? Must be piracy, we need more restrictive DRM...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 13 Jul 2021 @ 9:05pm

    A relevant copypasta:

    DRM (initialism for “Digital Rights Management”) — noun — closed-source black box code that acts as the digital equivalent of an ankle bracelet tracking device for paying customers but does nothing to prevent copyright infringement carried out by non-paying customers; colloquially known as “Digital Restrictions Management”; a stupid fucking idea

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Samuel Abram (profile), 14 Jul 2021 @ 5:26am

      Re: A relevant copypasta:

      It's interesting, because I do my PC Game shopping over at GOG and itch.io mainly, and while they're not as dominant as Steam, the fact that they're still around means that there still is a demand for DRM-free games.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    bob, 13 Jul 2021 @ 11:00pm

    cause and effect

    What's truly sad is the company probably won't take a big enough financial hit for them to stop doing DRM, or at least performance impacting DRM like this example.

    If the world had a faster feedback loop then everyone and corporations would be better able to link cause and effect appropriately. But it seems instead of the time span of, you touch hot stove you get burned, we are going to see the much longer drawn out process of linking smoking to causing cancer and other bad health effects.

    DRM truly is a long term cancer on gaming.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 13 Jul 2021 @ 11:39pm

      Re: cause and effect

      "What's truly sad is the company probably won't take a big enough financial hit for them to stop doing DRM, or at least performance impacting DRM like this example."

      It will be the same feedback loop as always - if the game is of a big enough brand and good enough quality, many people will take the hit and/or download a pirated copy to play after having bought the broken version. Some who would have been in the market for a full priced copy will wait for bug fixes and/or a heavy discount after the game's been out for a while. Some gamers will just opt to buy the game on a console instead. The publisher will then interpret the combination of lower PC sales revenue and the existence of pirated copies to believe that the problem was that the DRM just wasn't restrictive enough.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Jul 2021 @ 10:51am

      Re: cause and effect

      What's truly sad is the company probably won't take a big enough financial hit for them to stop doing DRM, or at least performance impacting DRM like this example.

      I've seen people write things like "I'll wait till the DRM is cracked, then buy it", which seems like the exact wrong way to handle it. The company still gets rewarded for anti-consumer behavior, and they'll just think people are late adopters or were waiting for a discount.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 15 Jul 2021 @ 12:11am

        Re: Re: cause and effect

        At least for the moment, "buy it" doesn't necessarily imply buying it new, and while physical media still exists people always have the legal choice to buy legally without giving a penny to the original distributor.

        "they'll just think people are late adopters or were waiting for a discount"

        Well, in which case they're kind of right. The person in question was not chomping at the bit to buy RE8 at the first release, they were willing to wait until conditions met their needs, thus making them a late adopter. It's up to them to perform the research needed to understand why people were willing to wait so long to buy it at a reduced price.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    charliebrown (profile), 13 Jul 2021 @ 11:52pm

    Developer's POV

    Watch this professional developer's critique of DRM. Suffice to say, he doesn't like it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ig4dqozB1I

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Samuel Abram (profile), 14 Jul 2021 @ 5:27am

      Re: Developer's POV

      I'm also a professional Developer (I'm a QA Tester for Playdots, now a part of Take-Two Interactive), and I hate DRM as well. That being said, it's not my choice to put it in games.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Paul B, 14 Jul 2021 @ 5:40am

        Re: Re: Developer's POV

        I have seen publishers add DRM after the game goes gold. Like, QA is done, it works, ship it. Then Boom!

        Game release with horrific stutter, or game runs in a Sandbox inside a VM with a cap on data IO.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Teka, 14 Jul 2021 @ 12:10am

    What is DRM? A miserable pile of secrets.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 14 Jul 2021 @ 12:44am

    But without DRM

    can you even claim that you have resident evil installed on your hard drive?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Jul 2021 @ 3:07am

      Re: But without DRM

      Boy does that bring back the memories of the DOS days. Back in my day, sonny, really crappy device drivers were written to Terminate and Stay Resident Evil.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        David, 14 Jul 2021 @ 5:33am

        Re: Re: But without DRM

        You need to watch who you are calling "Sonny". Back in my day, I had to write my own BIOS (which was absolutely not synonymous with the system ROM) and bootstrap loader before being able to boot CP/M on my system, quite extending its useful life span.

        Reminds me of that time I took a call during some social gathering, apologetically stating that I was doing the TeX support for the thesis of my Ex. That made someone quip that she knew someone better at it. I enquired who it was since I was pretty sure I'd know them by name in case I hadn't yet met them at some conference. Turned out to be a mistake in judgment.

        Expecto patronisationem!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Jul 2021 @ 5:25am

    one day...

    one day consoles will allow mods too
    one day there will be no games that are exclusive to certain hardware (aka. 1st party exclusives)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Jul 2021 @ 9:49am

      Re: one day...

      OK, if we're gonna talk crazy:
      The next Nintendo Switch should play 1080p/60FPS in hand held mode, and 2K/60FPS in docked mode. The next Switch dock should contain an external GPU, and should be sold separately for $400. The current Switch should be compatible with the new $400 dock too.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 14 Jul 2021 @ 10:05am

        Re: Re: one day...

        1. Make the next Switch compatible with the current dock, and the new dock compatible with the current Switch
        2. Sell everything separately on the new Switch - the tablet, the controllers, the dock
          This way people can upgrade as they see fit.
        3. Sell the new tablet for $300-$350, and the new dock for $300-$400.

        The Switch serves 3 markets: hand held only players, docked only players, and those who play both equally.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 14 Jul 2021 @ 7:14am

    YAY WE STOPPED THE PIRATES FOR A FEW MORE MONTHS!!!

    Wait why are sales down??
    Oh the reviews about how shitty the game runs for paying customers?
    Don't they understand they have to suffer so we can stick it to those pirates?!!?

    Of course they will tell stories about how the pirates managed to cost them sooo much money... by delivering a game that was actually playable to consumers who refused to pay for an unplayable game.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Crafty Coyote, 14 Jul 2021 @ 9:29am

    Pirates: Jill, here's a DRM crack. It might be handy if we, the Masters of Unlocking, give it to you. Otherwise, it would be too close and you'd be a Jill sandwich

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 14 Jul 2021 @ 9:56am

      Honestly, Umbrella Corporation being behind DRM would be…fitting.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That Anonymous Coward (profile), 14 Jul 2021 @ 12:02pm

        Re:

        I'm still not sure Umbrella Corporation is evil enough to be believable in the current timeline.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Samuel Abram (profile), 14 Jul 2021 @ 12:40pm

          Re: Re:

          How about Shinra? They're a life-devouring energy company with an army. That's gotta be evil!

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 14 Jul 2021 @ 3:27pm

            Eh, that’s any given oil company these days.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Samuel Abram (profile), 14 Jul 2021 @ 5:26pm

              Re:

              Touché.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              That Anonymous Coward (profile), 15 Jul 2021 @ 8:48am

              Re:

              Every megacorp shoudl have a taxpayer funded army ready to go anywhere in the world, screw things up way worse than they were before all to make sure the CEO gets a bonus.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 19 Jul 2021 @ 3:36am

              Re:

              "Eh, that’s any given oil company these days."

              Strangely enough not so much anymore. BP and Shell are switching to solar and wind, looking to become "energy facilitators and providers".

              Oil companies are profit-driven. They can see the writing on the wall and more importantly, smell the money in alternatives.

              No, todays Big Bads have other faces, I think. The copyright cult remains steadfastly malicious and gun manufacturers will never have an ethical footing, for instance, and there's no shortage of monsters in pharma and food industries.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 14 Jul 2021 @ 12:34pm

        Re:

        Because DRM is as useless a business model as zombie apocalypse?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rekrul, 14 Jul 2021 @ 12:25pm

    You know what bugs me? You buy a game, it comes with obnoxious DRM, you want to download a crack or pirated version so you don't have to deal with the DRM, but every single pirated copy, crack, patch, keygen or whatever, registers as a threat in most anti-virus programs. Every single damn one of them!

    They claim that they just patched out the protection, but yet the original passes a virus check while the cracked version triggers warnings all over the place. "It's just a false positive." Yeah, that makes perfect sense. "Oh, a patch will always trigger a warning because it's making changes to an executable file." Funny, official patches don't get flagged as malicious.

    And for the record, yes, I've pirated some some software. I also have a couple boxes full of older, original retail releases of games that were bought either used or at closeout stores.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Michael, 14 Jul 2021 @ 2:12pm

      Re:

      False. A lot of cracked games DO NOT trigger anti-virus. But nearly ALL keygens will, because that involves a process that no legit software -- where the keys are already known -- needs. Some cracked software also tries to phone home in order to fake credentials, which may trigger anti-virus because it's unsigned and therefore untrusted.

      Yes, there are pirated games that are spyware. I'd argue that all DRM is also spyware.

      IOW, you're pretending that something nefarious is happening, when the only thing amiss is your own understanding of how software works.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Rekrul, 15 Jul 2021 @ 1:03pm

        Re: Re:

        But nearly ALL keygens will, because that involves a process that no legit software -- where the keys are already known -- needs.

        Huh? You run a keygen, enter your name, click the button and it generates a serial number/license key. It takes input, performs a formula on that input and outputs a string of characters. What part of that process is seen as malicious? Other than playing music at the same time (as most keygens do), it's not doing anything technically different than the windows calculator. Also, don't you find it even a little strange that no keygen includes a list of pre-generated keys that you can use if you don't want to run the keygen?

        Crack patches change part of the executable to bypass the protection. Legitimate patches change part of the executable to correct bugs. Both make changes to an executable program, but official patches pass virus checkers while pirate patches generate warnings.

        And let's say that these are false positives, how is a user supposed to know? It was uploaded by a trusted uploader? Accounts get hacked and even a trusted uploader can make mistakes. Verify the patch/keygen with the crack group's verify tool? OK, where do I get a guaranteed, 100% safe version of said tool, since normal people aren't given access to the sites that such groups use? Any copy of the tool will be hosted on public sites, where it could have been tampered with. And naturally, the verifier tool will probably generate virus warnings as well.

        In my experience, the percentage of keygens, patches and cracks that don't generate anti-virus warnings is pretty slim.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 15 Jul 2021 @ 5:50pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Yeah, unless I missed something, a keygen just runs an algorithm to approximate the calculation that would be used to generate the original key. It doesn't try to brute force the software itself, which is what I think was implied in the comment you replied to.

          "Crack patches change part of the executable to bypass the protection"

          Essentially, they remove the part of the software that tells it to look for the DRM before it runs.

          "In my experience, the percentage of keygens, patches and cracks that don't generate anti-virus warnings is pretty slim."

          Did you mean do generate? I'm very far out of the PC gaming scene at the moment, and therefore way out of the need to bypass the things that stop me from using the software I bought, but that's the way I interpret the current situation.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Rekrul, 16 Jul 2021 @ 10:12am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Did you mean do generate? I'm very far out of the PC gaming scene at the moment, and therefore way out of the need to bypass the things that stop me from using the software I bought, but that's the way I interpret the current situation.

            To be honest, I haven't tried a game crack in quite a few years. I have looked at various keygens and cracks for other programs and in my informal experience, I'd say that probably 95% of them trigger some kind of warning, even if it's only saying that it looks malicious. Before I run anything, I upload it to the VirusTotal web site to be scanned by all the major anti-virus engines and almost every crack generates some kind of warning.

            I know that's not an absolute guarantee of whether a program is safe or dangerous, but it makes me suspicious when I upload something and it gets flagged by a dozen+ programs.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Rocky, 16 Jul 2021 @ 6:44pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I think most keygens that gets flagged are categorized as PUP (Potential Unwanted Programs).

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Rekrul, 21 Jul 2021 @ 3:21pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                I think most keygens that gets flagged are categorized as PUP (Potential Unwanted Programs).

                But why? I once heard that a theory that the cracking groups use a packer program that triggers the warnings, and if that's the case, I have to wonder why they continue to use it/them. If that's not what's happening, then why do keygens and cracks cause warnings? Or are the anti-virus programs just designed to recognize cracks and keygens and issue false warnings in the hope that they can scare people away from using them?

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Jul 2021 @ 12:38pm

    Look for the label!

    At least steam has started listing what DRM comes on a product... and I just hold off on anything with Denuvo until it's removed from the game (it's like all the games with it stutter)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Jul 2021 @ 5:30pm

    No surprise there then!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    tp (profile), 15 Jul 2021 @ 11:41pm

    Authors have flexibility what quality product they want to offer

    Authors have kinda huge flexibility in what quality product they offer to each price point. The cheapest product offering can have disabled features, non-working features, errors/bugs, DRM, copyright limitations, contractual limitations etc, anything that allows authors to build it cheaper. Thus end users shouldn't complain if authors decide to break their own product before releasing it to the public. The reason why authors would do this, is because their user base is not willing to pay enough money for the product to cover the costs of producing it.

    Piracy is illegal, so skipping these technological protection measures by downloading pirated version is not very cool pattern.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 16 Jul 2021 @ 12:41am

      Re: Authors have flexibility what quality product they want to o

      "Thus end users shouldn't complain if authors decide to break their own product before releasing it to the public"

      Incompetent fools like yourself shouldn't then complain that people don't buy the broken product.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2021 @ 12:16pm

    "Does that make copyright infringement morally right? Absolutely not."
    True, but only because you can't make something right when it already is. "Infringing" on copyright is morally right by default, as copyright violates the people's freedom and the entire premise of society. Humans evolved to create things and then share said things for everyone's benefit. If one person figures out how to start a fire, starting fires becomes everyone's right. Had copyright been around we would have never made it out of the ice age.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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