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New evidence shows a big performance hit in Denuvo games

Published: 10:43, 27 December 2018
picture showing denuvo logo
Denuvo can slow down your games up to 50 per cent

Recent testing has shown a considerable performance difference in several games that dropped Denuvo. The biggest hit can be seen in frame-times and loading times where a staggering difference of up to 80 per cent can be seen in some titles.

Many a gamer has already come up with their own conclusions as to exactly how Denuvo can impact their overall gaming experience. While the Austrian company responsible for the anti-tamper system never admitted to any effect on performance and even still denies user reports, more and more demonstrable issues are surfacing over time.

In the latest video of YouTube-based analyst, and AltChar contributor, Overlord Gaming we get to see some numbers on frame-time, frame-rate and loading times in six games - Dishonored, Dishonored 2: Death of the Outsider, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition, Motoracer 4, and Rime. 

The differences can be seen in every game, and they range from marginal to very noticeable. In Bethesda's Dishonored 2 which recently re-released free of DRM, the biggest difference can be seen in loading times. The Denuvo protected game is 42 seconds slower to load when compared to the recent DRM free versions and we can also see 6.5 per cent increase in FPS once the anti-tamper tech was removed.

Frame-times show a 16 ms minimum and 56 ms maximum on Dishonored without Denuvo which is 6.45 and 136.7 per cent better than the Denuvo version's 17 ms minimum and 136 ms maximum. This data clearly suggest that even though the FPS difference isn't that big, the stuttering can be a real mess and make the game almost unplayable for some, depending on the capabilities of their hardware.

Moving on to Deus Ex: Human Revolution where Overlord tested a Steam and a cracked version of the game. The latter is totally free of Denuvo and the numbers show more than 66 per cent faster loading times when compared to the Steam release. Additionally, the minimum recorded framerate on the cracked game is 43 FPS which is more than double on the Denuvo version which hovered at 21 FPS.

Square Enix Game's protagonist performing a melee attack. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Performance in other games also follows the same pattern. In Rime, performance increased around 50 per cent without Denuvo with faster loading, FPS and frame-times.

For loading time numbers and FPS in other games, you can check Overlord's where you can also take a closer look at his data, and testing methodology. 

All in all, one thing is for certain - Denuvo can really make a real mess of your gaming experience and to be honest, that's the only reason why players hate it in the first place. No one would really bother talking about it if the protection just protected games from cracking but with performance hits like these, you can bet that Denuvo will remain a contested issue for the foreseeable future.

From where AltChar is standing, publishers wanting to protect their sales with DRM is no big deal. This changes however when the methods employed inconvenience paying customers, just to get at those who would never have paid for the product in the first place. Just sayin'.

Screenshots and artwork from Dishonored 2 by Arkane Studios

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A man with an axe running through a forest in SCUM
Dishonored 2

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