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Games protected by Denuvo are made unplayable after domain expires * TorrentFreak

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Last night the web was full of angry gamers who couldn’t play their games due to an unexpected error. While it’s not entirely clear yet, it looks like someone has allowed a domain used by Denuvo’s anti-piracy technology to expire, meaning players of some big games couldn’t not take advantage of what they paid for.

One of the great ironies of anti-piracy technologies is that they not only offer no benefit to paying customers, but when things go wrong, hackers are often better off.

What appears to be a classic example of this upside down relationship appeared last night in a long thread of complaints on Steam. Players who had legitimately purchased Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy found that it was impossible to play the game because it simply wouldn’t load.

The issue appeared to appear after players updated the game, leading some to believe that the code may have broken the game. However, as more and more complaints came in, another potential problem has been identified. It was so simple that it was almost unthinkable but so devastating that it made games completely useless.

Supporting questions reveal a problem on the server side

After complaining to Guardians of the Galaxy support, a Steam user got the company to get the issue to be on the server side, which was quite annoying for a single player game.

“Unfortunately, I don’t have an estimated time for resolution. But our team is working on it, ”the response says.

“I expect a quick resolution. The problem seems to be on our side, we will probably post more information on our official media.

At the same time, some users resorted to uninstalling the game and re-downloading to see if that made a difference – it didn’t. Restarting the PC also failed to resolve the issue. Then it became clear that other games were affected as well (Planet Zoo, Shadow of War, Football Manager, Dead Rising, Tomb Raider and others) and all of them seemed to have at least one thing in common – Denuvo DRM.

Could it be that something has gone wrong with this anti-piracy technology?

Someone forgot to renew a domain

With the issues now affecting a large number of users, the complaints inevitably spilled over to Twitter, where one keen-eyed user explained what he believed happened. According to Alex Buckland, the DRM provider for all affected games had allowed a key domain to expire, rendering the system unusable.

“@PlanetZooGame @shadowofwargame, your DRM provider let their domain name expire, and it killed your game startup… as well as several other games, I imagine,” he wrote.

Buckland identified the domain “” as the culprit and offered a screenshot of his WHOIS records, which clearly shows that the domain expired on September 24, 2021 and was not renewed.

codefusion technology field

After the renewal failed, the domain then entered a grace period, but when that also expired, it appears to have been deleted from the DNS records. This meant that the domain would not resolve to an IP address, thus breaking the system.

To resolve the issue, some Steam users have posted tutorials that allow players to modify their Windows HOSTS file to point to the domain’s last known IP address. It seemed to do the trick, but obviously such drastic measures shouldn’t be necessary to play a game that was purchased legally – especially those that are solo-only.

What does Denuvo have to say about the problems?

Since all of the above is only one side of the story, TorrentFreak reached out to Denuvo owner Irdeto to find out how they viewed the issue and whether they were really to blame, or someone else. ‘other. Unfortunately, this turned out to be completely unsuccessful.

After sending a series of questions to two of our usual contacts in the company, we received a pair of automated emails indicating that our correspondence was “undeliverable”, that the messages had been “rejected by the administrator. And therefore had permanently failed.

It seems unlikely that this is part of the same issue, but it looks like Denuvo is currently having some communication issues. We will update this article if we finally get a response.

In the meantime, someone has renewed the domain, which seems to have fixed player issues. It is now due to expire on September 24, 2022, which means that only one year has been added to the bank. Hope next year does not bring similar problems.