DRM Ruins An Entire Weekend As Denuvo Lets Domain Name Expire

DRM has reared its ugly head again. Once again, Denuvo is at the center of this latest screw up for a second time in a row.

If you’ve ever accidentally let a domain name expire, Denuvo, for sure now, knows how you feel. Thanks to this oversight, DRM is, again, in the spotlight for why such technology fails.

In fact, it was only yesterday that Denuvo was in the news for a DRM fail. Anyone who uses a computer with the Intel Alder Lake CPU found themselves locked out of their legally purchased games. At the time, it just added to the list of games that DRM has ruined. We’ve already seen DRM ruin the original Doom game, Might & Magic X: Legacy, and Resident Evil Village.

If you legally purchased a game that happened to be locked down by Denuvo DRM, over the weekend, you suddenly could not play your game. Reportedly, gamers were saying that they were encountering server unreachable errors. The issues lasted all weekend. As many gamers converged on discussion forums, informal investigations on the user end commenced. According to the gamers, a domain name had expired associated which was rendering the servers unreachable. From PC Gamer:

There’s no clear reason for exactly why Denuvo crapped-out, but some are speculating that the company simply forgot to renew its domain used for verifying game activations. The registration for the Codefusion domain expired on September 24 this year—yesterday seems to have been when the grace period for renewal ended, booting it off DNS. It seems a likely scenario, considering the domain has now been renewed and everything is back to normal. I’ve contacted Denuvo to clarify if this was the reason for the downtime, but have yet to hear back.

For a bit of tech that is already fairly well-hated, situations like this don’t help Denuvo’s case. Both the ResetEra and Steam threads were filled with discontent for it, and the frustrations are incredibly valid when hiccups like this prevent you from playing your single-player, offline games.

Apparently, Denuvo confirmed that it was a domain name issue later on:

Denuvo has sent a statement to PC Gamer, confirming that domain issues are behind the downtime over the weekend. It didn’t explicitly state that the problem domain had expired.

“A Denuvo domain was unreachable yesterday afternoon CET. The problem was fixed after we got notified from our automatic system control,” a spokesperson said. “After the fix, there was no whatsoever restriction or limitation for the gamer. Denuvo is working to implement further improvements to avoid such downtime in the future.”

If it really was a domain name expiration, there’s little wonder why Denuvo didn’t want to admit that. As someone who runs a website, I know what features are often offered for the domain name registration process.

For one, large domain name registrars offer e-mail notifications. This lets you know when a domain is expired. Often, they will give you a month’s notice and repeatedly notify you as you get closer if you forget after receiving the notification.

Another feature domain name registrars offer is the ability to automatically renew a domain name. This is where a payment method is automatically charged as you get close to the expiration of your domain name.

It’s partly thanks to the above reasons why a website accidentally letting a domain name expire doesn’t happen as often as it used to. Registrars are, of course, financially motivated to offer these services because they want you to stick with them and pay for renewals.

So, in this day and age, if you are with a large domain name registrar, you almost have to put in effort to set yourself up for failure if this was a simple case of forgetting to renew the domain name. If it was some random first time web admin making this mistake, that is one thing. In this case, this is a large company with who knows how much money behind it making this mistake. The question would be, how does that even happen?

The only way we can speculate that this is not the fault of their internal IT department is if they knew full well the domain was expiring, but couldn’t get an approval to renew for whatever reason. Whether it is with whoever handles the finances or management, we will probably never know. If not, the IT person handling the domain name should be extremely embarrassed that this happened and relinquish their super geek card. Either way, preventing a mistake like this from happening in might be as easy as logging into their domain name registrar’s account and toggling auto-renew to “on”.

Either way, it should go without saying that single player games shouldn’t require a constant online connection. There really is no upside to that at all. Any self-respecting game developer that uses Denuvo should probably be looking at this situation and asking if they should be sticking with this company. Mistakes like this shouldn’t be happening in the first place. Given how many other mistakes that have already happened with the company, there should be internal warning signs flashing by now. After all, how much ridiculousness should you be putting up with with your DRM vendor in the first place?

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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