DRM Finds a Way to Ruin Another 50 Games For Alder Lake CPU Owners

DRM has managed to ruin another 50 games. This time, people who have Alder Lake CPUs are affected.

DRM (Digital Rights Management) is once again making headlines for doing the one thing it does best: ruining the experience for legitimate customers. It’s been a story that has played out for well over a decade now. This as it utterly fails to protect the content it says it intends on protecting in the first place. In recent years, DRM has ruined the original Doom, Might & Magic X: Legacy, and Resident Evil Village.

Of course, it isn’t just superficial performance issues or the inability to use content people legitimately buy that DRM is responsible for. It can even open up computer systems to security vulnerabilities. A particularly notorious example of this would be the Sony Rootkit scandal which also resulted in international litigation as well.

With the complete and utter failure to prevent piracy, DRM has proven over the years to be modern day snake oil. It has led a number of people to conclude that companies only invest in DRM solutions because they hate their own customers. Others blame technologically illiterate shareholders for continuing to put their trust in a solution that has absolutely no success rate at all. Regardless of the reason, companies continue to completely waste their money and resources on DRM solutions that are obviously going to be doomed to failure.

Recently, we’ve seen yet another example of how DRM ruins everything. Intel has released their Alder Lake CPU’s a while back and people are buying computers with their technology. No big deal so far and very par for the course. Of course, if people who own these computers buy certain games, then this can be a problem. Specifically, people who buy games that employ a certain kind of Denuvo DRM. The problem is that Alder Lake uses both P-Cores and E-Cores. Denuvo technology, as a result, reads this as two different computers. So, as far as the DRM is concerned, you are attempting to run two games on one license. As a result, roughly 50 games are now incompatible with people who own computers that use Alder Lake CPUs. From PCMag:

Intel was originally mum on which specific games were affected, making it unclear the scale of the problem; the company cited “32” in pre-release briefings to the tech press. Whether these would be marginal titles or blockbusters we did not know, as hundreds of games use the Denuvo DRM scheme. But on Thursday, the company published a list of every PC title known to it that has incompatibility issues with Alder Lake. It spans 51 games, including For Honor, Mortal Kombat 11, Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order, and Shadow of the Tomb Raider, as well as the Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla game we observed the issue on. (There are some nuances to the affected games around Windows 10 versus 11, which we’ll outline below.)

Intel says it is working with game developers to roll out a software fix, although the company notes that some of the affected DRM-protected titles can run fine, so long as your PC is on Windows 11. In the meantime, the company says it has come up with a workaround that can run any of the affected games on Alder Lake. But it’ll do so by placing the efficiency cores on standby.

To access the workaround, you’ll need to dig into your PC’s BIOS settings during the bootup sequence and then switch the “Legacy Game Compatibility Mode to ON (one-time only),” according to Intel’s instructions. The next time you launch the affected game, you would press the Scroll Lock key on your keyboard (sometimes shortened to “Scr Lk.”) You then should be able to run the game with no crashes. Once you exit the title, you would tap the Scroll Lock key again, to toggle it off.

The thing is, these games would otherwise run fine. You don’t need to dig around in your CPU settings and change things around just so that the game works. You wouldn’t otherwise need to upgrade to Windows 11 which is an extreme measure just to play a certain game or two. This is entirely because of DRM. On what planet is this even acceptable to gamers anyway? The only mistake the game developers made was actually using Denuvo in the first place. If anything, Denuvo is the ones that need to find ways of fixing this. Why should performance features be disabled simply because of DRM?

While many might look at this latest incident and call some of these solutions insane, this is just another chapter in the more than decade long saga of why DRM has always been awful. After more than a decade worth of a proven track record of failure, we continue to see examples of DRM being an utter failure.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.



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