It’s common practice for PC games today to launch with Denuvo, a form of DRM designed to stop the spread of pirated copies of games, and it’s also common practice for developers to remove Denuvo several months after launch as interest (and the risk of piracy) dwindles. Less common is a developer publicly announcing it’s removing Denuvo from a game before it’s even out, but that’s the surprise Starbreeze pulled this Friday.
“Hello heisters, we want to inform you that Denuvo is no longer in Payday 3,” the developer wrote in a post on Steam on Friday. That’s pretty much the whole message—short and to the point, and seemingly a win on the good will front, with the Steam post racking up 524 thumbs up on Steam so far and another 10,000 or so on Twitter.
Payday 3 is less than a week away from its September 21 release, and Starbreeze is clearly looking to roll into the launch with an excited community behind it. Two months ago a thread on the r/paydaytheheist subreddit called out the inclusion of Denuvo and the responses were characteristically negative. This afternoon, one of the game’s developers responded to that thread to highlight that Denuvo has been removed.
Denuvo has long had a reputation for hindering performance in games and bloating their executables, though the company behind it, Irdeto, insists that isn’t the case. This summer it announced a plan to provide media outlets with two versions of games, one with Denuvo included and one without, to prove it has no impact on performance.
Whatever the results, it likely won’t change the opinions of those who dislike DRM for making game modding harder or rendering games unplayable when authentication servers go down. As Payday 3 fans pointed out two months ago, the game already requires players to be online and use a Starbreeze account, making Denuvo seem like an unneeded extra layer of security.