Empress has been arrested: who is going to crack Denuvo now?

EMPRESS, one of the most notorious DRM crackers, is known to have been arrested. What will be the fate of the Denuvo games?

Disclaimer

This article gives an update on the current state of the piracy industry, I have not included any link to any pirated/illegal content. Regarding the links to CrackWatch, according to their website: ā€œCrackWatch.com does NOT host any pirated or illegal content, does NOT provide links to any illegal files such as torrents and is NOT associated with any scene group.ā€

What is Denuvo?

Denuvo was introduced in 2016. Since then, it became the most powerful protection tool used in video games. Every game needs to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to install Denuvo, but the protection level is so high that is worth the expense. Hacking groups may need to spend months just to crack a single game. During this time, the Developing company has the possibility to increase earnings by delaying the cracking time.

www.crackwatch.com, Screenshot of Denuvo Games

This is an old screenshot taken from Crackwaych, listing several Denuvo games that took years to be cracked. A few ago, every game could be cracked in just a few days maximum. The required waiting time for a Denuvo protected game, on average (at least before EMPRESS) ranges from 4 days to even 6 months.

Empress declares War to Denuvo protection

When the Crackwatch website was still online, there was an introduction page for every cracking group, including EMPRESS. This was the content of her introduction: a pledge to fight against the Denuvo DRM protection. Her 3 goals:

  • Expresses
  • Depresses
  • Impresses

ā€œI pledge to update any and all Denuvo games for those who care about it, I plan to do only Denuvo cracks and will start from the bottom of the ladder to the hardest and most modern Denuvo builds. This is for the purpose of applying the most accurate methods and keeping a stable flow of my cracks in the upcoming harder twist. ā€œ

EMPRESS
Retrieved from: https://crackwatch.com/game/planet-zoo/cracks/planet-zoo-empress, Because the link is no longer working, this is one taken from one of my articles on Denuvo: https://medium.com/dataseries/gaming-piracy-empress-is-back-will-he-defeat-denuvo-c8701c9f71a8

Denuvo has caused a lot of distress in the pirate community since its release, and remains the most powerful protection DRM that can be used against crackers. So far, only EMPRESS has been able to properly defeat this security system.

EMPRESS arrest, real or fake?

This is the original Reddit post from which I have read the news. So far this is a Reddit post and nothing seems to be officially confirmed, especially now that the Cracwatch website has been down for almost one year because of costs.

r/PiratedGames - Empress got caught by police after being doxxed

Denuvo being uninstalled on several games

The main issue with using Denuvo is the huge toll it has on hardware. Games are much slower when the Denuvo protection software is installed.

If we look at the Crackwatch Twitter page, the best place to get news regarding cracked games, it seems that several operating systems are having compatibility issues with the latest Denuvo releases, like Star Wars Battlefront or Tomb Rider: the legend of the Tomb, and the only option for whoever is selling the game is to get rid of the protection software.

Without Denuvo, a game will only take a few days to be cracked.

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