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Denuvo DRM: Does It Really Impact Game Performance? Let’s Bust This Myth

Ever since Denuvo DRM was introduced there is a general consensus that this particular DRM messes with the game and degrades games’ performance. Does it really impact game performance? The answer to that question is not so simple, so we will be busting this myth by looking at titles that featured Denuvo at launch but were stripped of it afterward.

Denuvo DRM has been on gamer’s bad side ever since it was introduced in video games as a means to stop video game piracy. Currently, the DRM, along with Capcom, is being criticized for requiring at least 4th-gen Intel Haswell CPU due to FMA3 instruction set.

However, this time around Denuvo DRM isn’t causing performance degradation but is stopping the game from booting for CPUs older than 4th-gen Intel Haswell.

For the purposes of this test, we will be looking at games like Mass Effect Andromeda, Mad Max, Hitman and other games that used Denuvo upon launch but the DRM was removed in subsequent months.

As you can see in the video below, courtesy of Overlord, it compares video games using Denuvo DRM with their versions which don’t use the DRM.

Just to be clear, for the tests no pirated game was used as the pirated game still uses Denuvo and it only tricks the DRM into thinking that the game is a legitimate one.

First up is the Hitman which launched with the DRM to protect it from being pirated. However, the DRM was removed after some time and the benchmarks showcase no noticeable difference in performance.

Most of the games didn’t showcase any noticeable gains in performance except for Mass Effect Andromeda. The benchmarks showcase a huge bump in performance with the removal of Denuvo DRM.

Mass Effect Andromeda – With Denuvo DRM
Min FPS – 46
Avg FPS – 89

Mass Effect Andromeda – Without Denuvo
Min FPS – 67
Avg FPS – 92

However, Mass Effect Andromeda is the only exception in the list of games used for testing which indicates that it is either Bioware’s poor implementation of it or it was just the game. Here is the rundown of the games used for testing and their performance with and without Denuvo.

  • Hitman (with Denuvo): Avg FPS – 71.6
  • Hitman (without DRM): Avg FPS – 72
  • Abzu(with DRM): Min FPS – 89, Max FPS – 112, Avg FPS – 101
  • Abzu(without DRM): Min FPS – 90, Max FPS – 113, Avg FPS – 101
  • Sherlock Holmes The Devil’s Daughter(with Denuvo): Min FPS – 45, Max FPS – 138, Avg FPS – 86
  • Sherlock Holmes The Devil’s Daughter(without DRM): Min FPS – 52, Max FPS – 141, Avg FPS – 92
  • Mad Max(with DRM): Min FPS – 54, Avg FPS – 72
  • Mad Max(without DRM): Min FPS – 60, Avg FPS – 79
  • Agents Of Mayhem(with DRM): Avg FPS – 51, Min FPS 41
  • Agents Of Mayhem(without DRM): Avg FPS – 51, Min FPS 41
  • Sniper Ghost Warrior 3(with DRM): Avg FPS – 71, Min FPS – 47
  • Sniper Ghost Warrior 3(without DRM): Avg FPS – 75, Min FPS – 44

It is clear that in some game Denuvo DRM has little to no impact on performance. Also, the performance impact varies depending on the game.

This indicates that developers’ implementation of the Denuvo DRM in their games might be faulty one which costs the game’s performance.

However, the statements and result are contradicting and varying depending on the game and the developer. Earlier this year it was revealed that Denuvo is affecting Tekken 7 PC performance.

What do you think? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.