Controversial DRM developer Denuvo announced that it will support the Nintendo Switch, including emulator blocking.
Anti-emulator DRM is now coming to Nintendo Switch as controversial developer Denuvo announced it will make a kit for use on the platform. In addition to its typical DRM products, Denuvo will also offer an option to block PC emulators of Switch games. Emulating Nintendo Switch games on PC, though not very popular, is getting more and more popular. And Denuvo believes Nintendo Switch developers can benefit significantly by using its anti-emulator DRM to combat potential piracy attempts.
Denuvo is a famous brand in the gaming industry. Although they think they are famous for their efforts to prevent piracy or crack games, that is not the case. Much of the negative publicity that gamers give Denuvo is due to the impact of DRM on game performance. Allegations that Denuvo DRM affects CPU usage, rapidly degrades SSD health, and causes other problems are common. It also often involves forcing persistent online connections in games that can lose connections. Sometimes these allegations are confirmed by game developers, but even so they still seem to not care much for PC gamers and make for worse experiences.
Regardless of Denuvo’s negative association with DRM, the company saw a lucrative market opportunity on the Nintendo Switch. In a press release from Denuvo parent company Irdeto, they confirmed that Denuvo’s DRM is now available as Nintendo Switch authorized middleware through the Nintendo Developer Portal. Portal). The press release also states that Denuvo’s product on the Nintendo Switch “integrates seamlessly… without affecting the gaming experience.”
In addition to Denuvo’s typical DRM solutions, the company is also offering a new tool called Nintendo Switch Emulator Protection. Denuvo alleges that Nintendo Switch games without its protection can be “emulated from day one and played on PC”. Denuvo will block these emulators, allowing companies to “increase revenue during game launch”. The aim is that emulator protection is “a must-have for publishers to fairly monetize games” on Switch.
An interesting detail that Denuvo points out is that it is the first security partner to be added to the Nintendo Developer Portal. In other words, all previous Nintendo Switch releases are free of third-party DRM middleware like what Denuvo offers. That’s not to say the game isn’t covered, but with the success of the Nintendo Switch and the many games released for it, there are bound to be many questions regarding the need for Denuvo.
The decision to bring Denuvo to the Nintendo Switch can be understood as controversial among gamers. Anti-emulation efforts may or may not affect PC piracy of Switch games, but it will certainly make it harder for legitimate emulation efforts and hosting projects of the Nintendo Switch. Allegations about Denuvo causing Switch game performance issues are sure to come out in the future as well. It will be interesting to see which Nintendo Switch game developers choose to implement Denuvo solutions in the future.