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Digital rights management (DRM)

From PCGamingWiki, the wiki about fixing PC games
(Redirected from Glossary:DRM-free)

Key points

With relation to PC gaming, Digital Rights Management (DRM) is commonly used to refer to copy protection and/or technical protection measures employed by companies in an attempt to limit the manipulation and copying of game data and content by end-users after the purchase, download, and/or install of the product.[1]
Technically speaking, the term refers to all form of access control technologies used to control the use, modification, and distribution of copyrighted works, as well as systems that enforce these policies, regardless of how it affects the end-user.

More information

The big list of third-party DRM on Steam
List of DRM-free games on Epic Games Store
Digital rights management
Copy protection

DRM-free

DRM-free icon.svg

GOG.com[2], ZOOM Platform and Itch.io[3] generally deliver DRM-free copies of games, although some might require additional DRM for online-based features.[4] GamersGate, Epic Games Store and Humble Store also offer a substantial DRM-free catalogue, and some titles on Steam are also in essence DRM-free post-download.

DRM-free means a game is shipped without any technical restrictions on how it is installed, copied, or activated.
Once a DRM-free game has been bought and/or downloaded, it can be installed on any computer and copied freely between machines, with no activation limits.
Some DRM-free titles might require the use of DRM to access or enable online-based features.
Although no technical restrictions are in place on DRM-free titles, formal restrictions specified in the license may still apply.

Types of DRM

DRM Disc Check icon.svg

Disc check

Games which use a disc check include The Sims 2 and Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings. For a list of games, see games using Disc check DRM.

Also known as CD/DVD check, it is an older form of DRM becoming less common as PC gaming moves to digital distribution.
The game will not run without the appropriate CD/DVD being present in the disc drive, and/or a specific file otherwise present only on the disc is detected.
This system will operate regardless of whether or not the entire game content is installed on the hard drive.
Frequent use causes disc decay over time, putting the media at risk of becoming unusable.
Can additionally be combined with several methods:
  • Dummy files - inserting dummy files which point to segments of other files, resulting in significantly larger files when copying them.
  • Illegal Table of Contents - uses a second data track contrary to ISO standards
  • "OverSized" - lead-out area on the disc is also used for the data, a method which could not be replicated by most CD-RW drives in the late 1990s. Present mostly in games on 659 MB (74-minute) CD-R discs.
  • Intentional disc errors - damaging the disc in production so that an error in reading a sector would confirm the game is legitimate.
DRM CD-Key icon.svg

CD-key

Games which use a CD-key include Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 and Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. For a list of games, see games using CD key DRM.

Also known as a serial or product key, the game comes with a unique code (often printed in the manual, on a sticker inside the game case, or more uncommonly on the exterior case), which the user must input to complete the installation. Some games (e.g. Empire Earth) require a key only for multiplayer access instead of the whole game.
In this way, the installer can verify whether or not a game has been illegally copied.[5]
If activation is completed offline, then a single key has unlimited uses. Like physical DRM, these keys can often be found freely online.
If key activation is completed online, then a single key may be limited to a specific number of installations (see activation limit). Retail copies of games requiring Steam or Origin for example include a CD key that is tied to an account and can never be reused (see account-based).
DRM Online Activation icon.svg

Online activation

Games which require online activation include Two Worlds and Earth 2160.[6] For a list of games, see games using Online activation DRM.

Requires an Internet connection in order to notify the rightsholder each time the game is installed.[7]
This is often paired with identifying information about the user's computer.
The publisher can therefore track when the game was first installed, and how many times it has been installed since.
It is sometimes used in conjunction with a CD-key and activation limit in order to restrict access to the product.
DRM-installationlimit.png

Activation limit

Games that set an activation limit include Mirror's Edge, Crysis and Spore.[6][8] For a list of games, see games using Activation limit DRM.

Always used in conjunction with online activation, a limit is placed on the number of times a game can be installed simultaneously, or independently.[9]
The most common limits are three or five activations.
After this limit is reached, the user has to contact customer support in order to extend their limit and install their game again.
Uninstalling the game may not free up an activation unless a specific 'de-authorizing tool' is provided (e.g. EA Games Authorization Management).
DRM Account-Based icon.svg

Account-based

Services such as Steam and Origin are examples of account-based DRM. For a list of games, see games using Account DRM.

Once a game is purchased or redeemed, the copy is tied to a specific email address or account, and therefore requires online activation.
These services often allow unlimited product activations.
An account can only be used on one computer at a time, meaning a single account/library cannot be active on more than one PC simultaneously. One logged in user playing one game on one PC will prevent access to the entire rest of the library for anyone else.
Games can never be unbound from a user's account, meaning they cannot be traded or sold.
DRM Always Online icon.svg

Always online

Games that require a constant internet connection include Diablo III.[10] For a list of games, see List of games using Always Online DRM.

Some games, like Red Dead Redemption 2, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 and Dota 2 in Source 1 engine only require an internet connection each time they are launched. Those games don't currently fit in the "Always Online" category.
To play the game, the user must remain connected to the internet for the entirety of the session.[11]
Any loss of connection will boot the player out of the game after a pre-determined length of downtime.
Game files may be consistently downloaded from the publisher's server in an attempt to reduce piracy (e.g. Silent Hunter 5 pre-patch).
If the entire game is stored server-side, it is known as cloud gaming.
DRM Cloud icon.svg

Cloud gaming

Google Stadia is an example of cloud-based gaming.

No game files are stored on the user's computer itself, instead the game is run on a rig set-up by the service provider and video and audio are streamed to the player over the internet.[12]
Any loss of connection will boot the player out of the game after a pre-determined length of downtime.
No game files are accessible to the player.
Players lose access to the game once the service has gone defunct such as in the case of Stadia, unless if the publisher offers refunds or some other way for the player to access the game.
DRM Physical icon.svg

Physical

Many DOS-era games like The Secret of Monkey Island utilized some form of physical DRM system. For a list of games, see games using Physical DRM.

A form of DRM that requires a random phrase or code to be entered in at some point during the game. The phrase/code can only be found in physical materials (or "feelies") provided with the game.
Sometimes integrated into actual gameplay as a puzzle or very difficult section.
A "defeated" DRM system, most of the physical content can be found online for free.
Digital releases of such games officially include scans of the physical objects (code wheels, manuals, etc.) which were used for the check.
The phrase/code usually needs to be entered in at every game launch and/or for every new game.
DRM dongle icon.svg

USB dongle

A few games may require USB decryption sticks, USB barcode scanners, or special-purpose controllers to reach the proper gameplay. For a list of games, see games using Dongle DRM.

Dongles may require drivers, which may in turn fail to work on newer OS versions.
Losing the USB dongle will cause the game to fail to boot.

Middleware

Some games come bundled with and make use of additional copy protection and/or technical protection measures provided by middleware developers.
This section details the most common platforms and how they might affect users.
Certain middleware might also be designed to restrict the user's fair use rights.[13]

ActControl

For a list of games, see games using ActControl DRM.

Activation-based DRM.
Official website (archived)
No longer functional as of late 2022 and unactivated games require a no-CD patch to bypass the activation check, or use this StarForce servers as a workaround.

Arxan Anti-Tamper

For a list of games, see games using Arxan Anti-Tamper DRM.

Used to strengthen the account-based DRM (e.g. Microsoft Store, Origin, Steam, or Uplay) of a game, considered an alternative to Denuvo Anti-Tamper and with similar functionality.

Battle.net

For a list of games, see games using Battle.net DRM.

Not to be confused with the multiplayer infrastructure of the same name
Contrary to most other store-specific DRM, games released on the Battle.net application are required to be launched with appropriate account information.
Most games, like Diablo III, require a constant Internet connection on top of the link to the Battle.net application to run. Others like StarCraft can be launched offline, but only if a recent-enough offline token has been stored on the computer.

CopyLok

For a list of games, see games using CopyLok DRM.

Protection for games distributed via optical discs aiming to disallow disc duplication, used often for checking the disc.
Achieved by modified laser beam recorder hardware during the disc manufacturing process.

Denuvo Anti-Tamper

See the main article for more information.

Epic Online Services

For a list of games, see games using Epic Games Launcher DRM.

As part of its larger set of features, Epic Online Services provides some basic authentication and ownership interfaces that developers can leverage as a basic DRM solution to protect against extremely casual piracy. An additional anti-tamper protection (often Denuvo Anti-Tamper) might be used to strengthen the DRM further.

Games for Windows - LIVE

See the main article for more information. For a list of games, see List of Games for Windows - LIVE games.

LaserLock

For a list of games, see games using LaserLock DRM.

Also referred to as LaserLok.
Protection for games distributed via optical discs aiming to disallow disc duplication, used often for checking the disc.
Achieved by combining files in the hidden LASERLOK directory and a modified laser marking during the disc manufacturing process.

Microsoft Store

For a list of games, see games using Microsoft Store DRM.

An additional anti-tamper protection (such as Denuvo Anti-Tamper or Arxan Anti-Tamper) might be used to strengthen the DRM of Microsoft Store.
The AppX package(s) that make up Universal Windows Platform apps acts as a very restrictive form of DRM, preventing users from easily modifying game content.

Origin

For a list of games, see games using Origin DRM.

Same as with Steam/Steamworks, Origin provides a basic DRM wrapper and solution that protects against extremely casual piracy. An additional anti-tamper protection (usually Denuvo Anti-Tamper) might be used to strengthen the DRM of Origin.

ProtectDISC Software

For a list of games, see games using ProtectDISC Software DRM.

Protection for games distributed via optical discs aiming to disallow disc duplication and make cracking more difficult, used often for checking the disc.
Known also under the names VOB, ProtectCD and ProtectDVD.
Mainly used in games made by German developers or adapted for the German-speaking market.
Does not require a driver on the user's computer, with all relevant data found on the disc itself.
Official information page (archived)

Ring PROTECH

For a list of games, see games using Ring PROTECH DRM.

Protection for games distributed via optical discs aiming to disallow disc duplication, used often for checking the disc.
Identified by a characteristic circle on the underside of the disc. The sectors within that circle contain data which is difficult to copy.

SafeDisc

For a list of games, see games using SafeDisc DRM.

Protection for games distributed via optical discs aiming to disallow disc duplication, used often for checking the disc.
SafeDisc official support was discontinued on March 30, 2009.[14]
Often found in game install discs with a file known as SecDrv.sys (versions 2 and up), which is also the name of the driver installed on Windows. Version 1 can be recognized by an .icd file with the same name and location as the main executable.
Sometimes formerly known as CDilla from 1998 to 2003.
Not supported in Windows 10 and later[15][16][17] nor previous versions of Windows with the KB3086255[18] update installed due to security concerns. Possible workarounds exists for Windows 10 and previous versions of Windows, however it might expose the system to known security vulnerabilities, and can make the system more susceptible to malicious attacks.
Use SafeDiscShim
Install SafeDisc drivers from a previous version of Windows[19]
  1. Download the necessary files.
  2. Extract to a temporary location on the system.
  3. Run install (run as admin).bat
  4. As the service may still not work due to lack of a digital signature,[20] refer to these instructions to disable driver signature verification in the operating system and sign the driver with a custom digital signature.

SecuROM

See the main article for more information.

SmarteSECURE

For a list of games, see games using SmarteSECURE DRM.

Protection for games distributed via optical discs aiming to disallow disc duplication, used often for checking the disc.
Earlier versions known as SmartE.
Used mostly by Microsoft-published games in the mid-2000s.

StarForce

For a list of games, see games using StarForce DRM.
Another older DRM, StarForce has changed several times over the years. StarForce provides many of the functions of other DRM software, but installs itself as a driver on the computer. This along with some purported hardware and software issues made StarForce very controversial, and lead to a decline in its use due to user complaints. For removal options, see the official support page. If the game uses online activation remember to deactivate the license before removing the driver.

Primarily used in Russian releases of several games, but sometimes is released universally across all regions.
Some older StarForce versions (1 through 3) are not supported on newer versions of Windows, or might require an update to function correctly; see the official support page for details and possible workarounds.

Steam/Steamworks

For more in-depth information, see Cyanic's Steam DRM user page. For a list of games, see games using Steam DRM.

As part of its larger set of Steamworks services, Steam provides a basic DRM wrapper and solution that protects against extremely casual piracy and has some obfuscation.[21] An additional anti-tamper protection (e.g. Denuvo Anti-Tamper) might be used to strengthen the DRM of Steam/Steamworks.
Can inadvertently act as an always online DRM if implemented incorrectly by developers, as was the case with Sonic Mania and Ys Seven.[22]

Custom Executable Generation

Custom Executable Generation (CEG) was a stronger first-party DRM scheme of the Steam platform introduced in 2009 which worked by generating unique game executables for each Steam user, tying the executable to that single Steam user alone.[23] The protection scheme seems to have been made obsolete sometime during 2014, although titles released before its obsoletion may still make use of it.[24]

Game Cache Files

For more information see Valve Developer Wiki.

Game Cache Files (GCF) were a form of DRM which was deprecated with the introduction of SteamPipe in 2013. The modern Steam client no longer supports these files.
Game data was packed in *.gcf files, which could be encrypted. Officialy, only the old Steam client could decrypt these files and extract the bare minimum data needed to launch the game. The rest of the data was streamed from the GCF archives via the old Steam client. GCF archives were used to improve performance on (at the time) old systems. When the DRM was phased out, games became either fully unpacked or used the new VPK archives which acted as standard pak files, without the DRM part of GCF.
While Steam no longer uses GCF archives, retail releases of Steam games contain it. Officialy, the data can no longer be used but the user can redeem the key for a digital copy of the game.

TAGES

For a list of games, see games using TAGES DRM.

TAGES, like StarForce, installs itself as a driver on your computer and uses multiple methods to prevent copying. The TAGES drivers can be removed or updated by using the TagesSetup tool.

Solidshield

For a list of games, see games using Solidshield DRM.

Solidshield is TAGES' new DRM technology. It is presumed that this is their replacement for TAGES - though some games use it in tandem with their prior system (requiring the same driver update).
To revoke activations use the executable in the installation folder (usually called activation.exe); see Activation and revocation client for further details.[25]
To revoke activations for some EA games with Solidshield "released after May 2008" use the EA Game Authorization Management Tool.[Note 1]

Ubisoft Connect

For a list of games, see games using Uplay DRM.

Same as with Steam/Steamworks, Ubisoft Connect (formerly known as Uplay) provides a basic DRM wrapper and solution that protects against extremely casual piracy. An additional anti-tamper protection (usually Denuvo Anti-Tamper and/or VMProtect) might be used to strengthen the DRM of Ubisoft Connect.

VMProtect

For a list of games, see games using VMProtect DRM. Please note that this list might be incomplete as some iterations of Denuvo Anti-Tamper also reportedly used VMProtect.[26][27]

Prevents code from executing on virtual machine and non-standard architecture.[citation needed]
Suspected of negatively affecting protected program's performance due to usage of virtualization methods.[citation needed]
Used by Ubisoft games since 2014.
Official website

Custom code

Many developers would add additional code unique to their games which would block game access or even sabotage the gameplay if a copy is detected by the game's code to be counterfeit.
Examples include the auto-defeat trigger in Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 and the invincible arachnoid enemy in Serious Sam 3: BFE.
For more examples, see Plok's list of games with custom DRM behavior
.
May be triggered on legitimate copies in certain circumstances. See Controversy section.

DRM removal

Circumventing DRM is illegal in some countries (unless consented by the developer/publisher), however there are circumstances where it is possible, legal, and advisable to circumvent or remove the DRM of a product.
Some Steamworks titles can be made DRM-free by the removal of Steamworks related DLL files from the installation folder. See The Big List of DRM-Free Games on Steam for more information.
The PCGamingWiki policy on bypassing copyright protection and fixes lists the restrictions that apply when it is necessary to cover bypasses for games in articles and files available on this site.

DRM is often a critical component of a game, and a removal of the DRM might affect the functionality of the game; sometimes even make the game unplayable. Removing the DRM while these games are installed is therefore not recommended; although in some cases, running the game might reinstall the DRM. If you uninstall all software related to the DRM, the DRM can typically be removed safely. Many DRM companies provide a removal tool; other programs can be uninstalled directly.

Occasionally a developer will remove DRM from a game with a patch after a period of time. Patching the game in these cases is a legitimate way of running the game without DRM. For example, Civilization IV: Beyond The Sword was eventually patched to remove DRM and CD checks from the game, and Civilization IV and its expansions were re-released as a DRM-free complete edition soon after.

DRM and second-hand software

Used software is very susceptible to anti-piracy measures. Some problems can occur when buying used games, due to DRM or copy protection.

  • Lost code wheels, manuals, or similar physical DRM. Older games, such as Pool of Radiance, require a physical tool to progress in the game. Used copies do not always include these materials, and online replacements may be difficult to find, rendering the game useless.
  • Missing, registered, or banned keys. Games that require an installation key may not always have the key with them when bought used, preventing the use of the product. In other cases, games such as Fable 3 and Bulletstorm can not effectively be bought used because they combine a one-time key with an account-based DRM to tie the one-time key to the account owned by the user. Another potential problem is buying a used game, and finding the multiplayer, online features, or even outright play of the game disabled due to actions of the previous owner.
  • Maxed out activation limit. Related to the registered keys problem, some software requires online activation, and used copies may fail activation if they have already been played. Activation effectively makes games unsuitable for resale or transfer.

Controversy

Due to its very nature DRM sparks controversy as the limitations/restrictions enforced can, and sometimes will, affect customers as well. The consequences for customers can either be intentional or unintentional; therefore DRM requires a balancing act on the part of studios where the intended purpose of the DRM (e.g. prevent cheating or delay piracy) is weighed against possible customer inconveniences (e.g. prevents modding or offline play).

Examples of controversies:

  • DRM is not always disclosed on the retail packaging or digital store page and might be installed silently on computers, sometimes without user consent. Many people as an effect do not know they have DRM software installed on the computer, nor how it might limit or restrict their use of the software.
    • The DRM itself, or data related to it, might also undisclosed remain on a system after the protected software is removed.
  • DRM can make resale of computer software difficult, in some cases impossible, which conflicts with the exhaustion/first-sale doctrine many countries follow. See DRM and second-hand software for more information.
  • DRM can present an issue for long-term games collectors as it can lead to games becoming completely locked out as CD keys are lost, studios close or withdraw support, or online services are discontinued. This can be resolved by studios issuing a patch that removes the DRM although not all studios do this.
    • It is possible that existing installations may continue to function, but new installations will no longer function unless the DRM is removed or bypassed.
  • DRM might have its own compatibility issues causing unexpected hardware/software problems or lower the forward compatibility of the protected software.
    • Early versions of StarForce allegedly caused strange behavior in some optical drives, occasionally making Windows XP unable to detect and access CD-ROMs.[28]
  • DRM might malfunction, and flag a legitimate game as pirated.
  • Key-based or online-based DRM can be revoked without a customer's consent, has the potential for errors, and is susceptible to abuse from piracy.
    • This is more common nowadays in relation to grey market resellers whom might sell fraudulent keys to buyers that may have been or will become invalidated by studios.[30]
    • For a few games key generators used for piracy produces install keys that can be registered on official platforms; flagging the keys that were shipped out to legitimate customers as invalid.
    • Some games might have a history of key banning for trivial reasons.
  • DRM may contain security vulnerabilities that makes a computer more susceptible to malicious attacks. The more tightly integrated in the operating system a DRM is (such as "Ring-0 DRM"), the more critical a vulnerability becomes.
    • Security concerns with MacroVision SafeDisc's kernel drivers prompted Microsoft to disable/remove them from modern versions of Windows.[31]
    • Ubisoft's Uplay browser plug-in (although not directly related to the DRM of Uplay games) were found to have a security vulnerability[32] that could be exploited by an attacker using a specially crafted website.
    • Capcom's anti-cheat/DRM driver Capcom.sys, used at least in Street Fighter V was known for its vulnerabilities, to the point that it was blocked by Microsoft in newer builds of Windows.[33]

Anti-cheat middleware

While the primary intention of an anti-cheat protection is not to enforce or serve as the copy protection of a game, because of their intended goal being to prevent players from gaining an unfair advantage over other players they often enforce similar, or sometimes harsher, restrictions on customers as regular DRM meant to limit piracy. The anti-cheat protection is not always optional, and may also be active during singleplayer gameplay sessions preventing the user from performing actions that otherwise does not give them an unfair advantage over other players (e.g. cheating in a singleplayer campaign).
Certain anti-cheat solutions utilize kernel-level access and are thus criticized for potential security and privacy risks, not to mention that their abuse of operating system APIs may make them incompatible with compatibility layers such as Wine and/or newer versions of Windows. For example, Wine lists games with nProtect GameGuard as unfixable due to their policy of implementing the compatibility layer in user-space on security grounds.
Due to the lack of a dedicated page on the topic, this section is mentioned here for now.
List of games with anti-cheat technology

BattlEye

Official website

Denuvo Anti-Cheat

Denuvo Anti-Cheat (DAC) is an anti-cheat solution that according to its developer takes a "read only" approach where the anti-cheat protection does not actively block any cheats or applications but only detects and reports user activity. See Denuvo Anti-Cheat for more information.

Easy Anti-Cheat

While Easy Anti-Cheat (EAC) is not primarily intended to serve as a DRM solution for games, its design to counter cheating in multiplayer games using various methods often have a similar impact on end users to that of typical as also been used to prevent the use of third-party modding tools (such as 3DMigoto) in singleplayer games.

Some games allow EAC to be disabled, at the cost of disabling some or all online features.
Blocks the use of third-party DLL files, such as is used by 3DMigoto and other modding tools, even when these are not for the purpose of cheating.

nProtect GameGuard

Official website

Kernel-level anti-cheat solution developed by Korean software firm INCA Internet for use on MMO titles, primarily online games popular in Asian regions. GameGuard has been accused of rootkit-like behavior due to its use of low-level operating system functions.[34]

Blocks the use of third-party DLL files, such as is used by 3DMigoto and other modding tools, even when these are not for the purpose of cheating.
Kernel-level access makes it incompatible with compatibility layers such as Wine and Proton. Support for newer versions of Windows is also at the discretion of nProtect and/or the MMO developer/publisher.

PunkBuster

Official website

Valve Anti-Cheat

A part of the Steamworks suite of features, Valve Anti-Cheat (VAC) is available for Steam-based titles to use in multiplayer games.

XIGNCODE3

Is a Korean kernel-level driver anti-cheat solution developed by Wellbia.com; made to protect PC, console and mobile games (Android and iOS).

Riot Vanguard

This is the kernel-mode driver anti-cheat software created by Riot Games to protect its games.

Warden Client

It is the anti-cheat tool implemented in Blizzard games, such as Diablo II, StarCraft, Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and World of Warcraft.

Treyarch Anti-Cheat (TAC)

It was included in Call of Duty games developed by Treyarch, last implemented in Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War.

RICOCHET Anti-Cheat

The RICOCHET Anti-Cheat, is a solution implemented in PC kernel-level driver for the Call of Duty franchise, debuting in Call of Duty: Vanguard and Warzone.

EA AntiCheat (EAAC)

Another company that has also decided to create its own anti-cheat software is Electronic Arts. EAAC is a kernel-mode anti-cheat and anti-tamper solution, developed internally by EA; and FIFA 23 is the first game to include it.

Plutonium Anti-Cheat

It is used on Plutonium, a dedicated server platform for Call of Duty: Black Ops, Black Ops II, Modern Warfare 3 and World at War.

Notes

  1. Some games like Dead Space 2 on Steam already come with the pre-installed "Game Specific De-Authorization Tool".

References

  1. Giant Bomb: Digital rights management - last accessed on May 2023
  2. TechCrunch - GOG.com opens a new indie developer portal as it looks to broaden its DRM-free games catalogue - last accessed on 2018-08-26
  3. itch.io - Creator FAQ - last accessed on 2018-08-26
    "Does itch.io impose any DRM (Digital Rights Management)?

    No. itch.io lets users download the games exactly as you uploaded them. No modifications are made to the files you upload.
    "
  4. GOG.com Support - Multiplayer issue - CD Key - last accessed on 2019-01-10
  5. Wikipedia: Product key
  6. 6.0 6.1 Amazon list: Games with limited activations and/or online activation
  7. The Escapist: Experienced Points - Online Activation Is A Ripoff - last accessed on May 2023
  8. EA Games Authorization Management - last accessed on May 2023
  9. Wikipedia: Limited install activations
  10. wikipedia:Always-on DRM
  11. Wikipedia: Persistent online authentication
  12. Google Stadia - last accessed on May 2023
  13. Electronic Frontier Foundation: Fair use and DRM - last accessed on May 2023
  14. SafeDisc End-of-Life Notice - Trymedia - Wayback Machine - last accessed on 2018-07-26
  15. Not Loading in Windows 10; this will break thousands of - Microsoft Community - last accessed on 2017-01-16
  16. Microsoft Community Forums :: Age of Mythology - Windows 10 - last accessed on May 2023
  17. SafeDisc End-of-Life Notice - Trymedia - Wayback Machine - last accessed on 2018-07-26
  18. Microsoft - MS15-097: Description of the security update for the graphics component in Windows: September 8, 2015 - last accessed on 2018-02-16
  19. Verified by User:KyoriAsh on 2018-07-19
  20. Microsoft Community - SECDRV.SYS Not Loading in Windows 10; this will break thousands of older games. - replies by EricSoAndSo - last accessed on 2019-04-18
  21. Steamworks Documentation - Steam DRM - last accessed on 2018-02-16
    "The Steam DRM wrapper by itself is not is not a anti-piracy solution. The Steam DRM wrapper protects against extremely casual piracy (i.e. copying all game files to another computer) and has some obfuscation, but it is easily removed by a motivated attacker."
  22. Steam Community - Special K - v 0.8.65 [Legacy Release - (1/15/18)] - last accessed on 2018-02-16
  23. Valve - Steamworks Makes DRM Obsolete - last accessed on 2020-11-01
  24. Verified by User:Aemony on 2020-11-01
    I looked into it a few years ago, and once again today as well, and (re)discovered that the Steamworks Documentation barely makes any mentions of CEG any longer. The one site that mentioned CEG, the old Steamworks introduction site, was replaced entirely in 2017 to redirect to the Steamworks Documentation instead. A search on Google for cegpublickey on SteamDB also does not return any recent games, with the 'newest' ones being from 2014: Alien: Isolation, Age of Mythology: Extended Edition, F1 2014, GRID Autosport, and Sniper Elite 3. All other search results are dated as being released earlier. It should therefor be safe to conclude that while older titles may still make use of CEG, it is not a DRM scheme that Valve have offered for developers for half a decade by now.
  25. Verified by User:Bowi on 2023-01-27
    Worked for Dead Space 2.
  26. Wikipedia - Denuvo - last accessed on 2018-02-16
    "The keygens released by STEAMPUNKS are allegedly packed by VMProtect, which is reportedly also used by Denuvo itself in some iterations."
  27. Steam Community - Denuvo Anti-Tamper - Some Information on it's Functionality [this is not a fear monger or shill post] - last accessed on 2018-02-16
  28. ArsTechnica - Is your game’s copy protection system frying your machine? - last accessed on 2018-07-17
  29. Battle for Middle Earth II Heaven Forums - All my units die out of the blue at the same time at around 5 minutes into the game - last accessed on 2018-07-17
  30. Polygon - The truth behind those mysteriously cheap gray market game codes - last accessed on 2018-07-17
  31. Microsoft - MS15-097: Description of the security update for the graphics component in Windows: September 8, 2015 - last accessed on 2018-02-16
  32. Rock Paper Shotgun - Warning: Big Security Risk In Some Ubisoft PC Games - last accessed on 2018-02-16
  33. Microsoft recommended driver block rules - Windows Security | Microsoft Learn - last accessed on 2023-10-03
    "Deny ID="ID_DENY_CAPCOM_SHA256""
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