Dataminers have confirmed that Resident Evil Village no longer has Denuvo.
The SteamDB entry for Resident Evil Village confirms that it has been removed. Of course, the players who own the game on Steam can also check and confirm this for themselves in their game installs.
Released on May 7, 2021, Resident Evil Village has sold over 6 million copies and is generally regarded as one of the best game of this console generation so far. Admittedly, a lot of the post-release interest came from the meme status of Lady Dimitrescu. But when you get beyond that, this stands as one of the most well-regarded Resident Evil games of all time, breaking from the series of remakes to introduce a fresh narrative and new ideas from Capcom.
There was a controversy surrounding Resident Evil Village in regards to performance issues. Some fans discovered that people who played a pirated version of the game did not have the stuttering issues that people who were playing legitimate copies of the game had.
Capcom was able to update the game so that the stuttering issues were removed for all players. However, Capcom was still apologizing for performance issues in the game as late as this October.
And so there is a popular narrative among gamers that the reason for the issues with the game is anti-DRM software Denuvo. Denuvo has been proven in the past for having hampered performance of some games. However, this has to be tempered with the knowledge that Denuvo itself is unpopular with gamers as well. While there may be valid reasons for doing so, they may not always be forthcoming about it.
And so this redditor points out that the performance issues associated with Resident Evil Village were not connected to Denuvo. Instead, Microsoft added their own anti-cheat functionality on top of Denuvo, and that was the cause for many of these issues.
But some of you may be asking why video game companies like Capcom even use Denuvo if they will only remove it later. This redditor puts forward a surprising theory; essentially, it is working at its job of discouraging piracy.
As it turns out, the anti-Denuvo hacker group is somewhat well known. Only one woman in that group, using the handle Empress, can hack Denuvo out of games on a consistent basis. Unfortunately for the anti-Denuvo crowd, Empress removes Denuvo out of games on a whim, so the lion’s share of games do get protected by Denuvo.
Capcom’s action does indicate they know exactly what is going on. They know from research video game piracy is at its most harmful at the game’s launch. The launch day or launch period is when the lion’s share of game sales happens. Most games can see extended sales for a few more months, but for the most part, game companies won’t need to keep Denuvo around after a year since sales won’t be that brisk anymore.
There are other considerations, that differ between games, of course, but it seems Capcom sees the value of using DRM as a temporary measure to stop piracy. They may be balancing gamers’ interests with their own, or they just don’t want to pay Denuvo indefinitely.
In either case, it would be interesting if this became the normal practice for AAAs moving forward.