Most video gamers will be familiar with the concept of an end-of-level or end-of-game ‘boss’. They take many forms but tend to present as an escalated challenge designed to prevent gamers from progressing any further.
Anti-piracy company Denuvo embraces the ‘boss’ concept and drops it on its head. Anyone wanting to play a Denuvo-protected videogame without paying for it will have to defeat Denuvo’s protection right at the very beginning, before the game even starts.
Worst still, only a handful of people in the whole world are up to the Denuvo boss challenge, so until they emerge victorious, nobody gets to play the game, unless they’re prepared to pay for it. This makes Denuvo very unpopular in video game piracy circles but very popular with its clients, some of whom have a new product to consider.
Nintendo Switch Emulator Protection
Providing there’s no obvious reuse of copyrighted code or trademark abuse, emulation software is mostly immune to legal attack. Emulators that mimic gaming hardware are mostly legal to develop, legal to distribute, legal to own, and even legal to use.
In reality, most emulator gamers like to gloss over that last bit. In the time it takes the minority to shout “HOMEBREW”, the rest will have downloaded several hundred MAME ROMs, a few Nintendo Switch games, and will be playing them on a PC.
Nintendo is concerned about all piracy, but emulator piracy is special in that gamers don’t need to buy games, and they don’t need to buy a console either. Denuvo announced today that it has a new product to bring this to an end.
It’s called Nintendo Switch Emulator Protection and Denuvo wants game developers to start using it right away.
Emulation Good / Piracy Bad
Reinhard Blaukovitsch is the founder and Managing Director of Denuvo, a business owned by cybersecurity giant Irdeto. In an announcement on Irdeto’s blog today, Blaukovitsch acknowledges that PC emulators can bring old games back to life with a wave of nostalgia but warns of the piracy risks.
The claim that hundreds of free emulators can play Switch games sounds a bit enthusiastic, but that’s not really important. Yuzu and Ryujinx are the most popular and between them cover Windows, Linux and macOS users. All three can be used with entirely legal software but Denuvo would like them to be less useful to pirates moving forward.
Games Need Protection From Emulation
“Your Nintendo Switch games need a protective solution. Emulating games may be harmless in some cases, but at the end of the day, it is still a major means of piracy,” Denuvo’s message to Nintendo developers reads.
“Our brand new Denuvo Nintendo Switch Protection helps prevent emulation from the get-go and stops pirates from getting hold of your game via the PC.”
Denuvo says its solution integrates “seamlessly and automatically” and works by detecting differences in the way a game behaves compared to what it was designed for.
“In this way, our software can tell that your game has been tampered with – and will make it unplayable.”
Denuvo says its solution will stop Switch games from being pirated and help to secure income for developers. As for gamers, they will “simply have to pay” if they want in on the action.
The Switch hacking/piracy scene is likely to perceive that as a challenge.