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posted by janrinok on Monday August 29 2022, @04:18PM   Printer-friendly
from the build-it-and-maybe-they-will-come dept.

Anti-piracy company Denuvo has announced a new product that aims to prevent pirated copies of Nintendo Switch games from being played on PC-based emulators. Denuvo says that 'Nintendo Switch Emulator Protection' will have no impact on the gaming experience and will ensure that anyone wishing to play a game will have to buy a legitimate copy.

DenuvoMost video gamers will be familiar with the concept of an end-of-level or end-of-game 'boss'. They take many forms but tend to present as an escalated challenge designed to prevent gamers from progressing any further.

[...] Providing there's no obvious reuse of copyrighted code or trademark abuse, emulation software is mostly immune to legal attack. Emulators that mimic gaming hardware are mostly legal to develop, legal to distribute, legal to own, and even legal to use.

In reality, most emulator gamers like to gloss over that last bit. In the time it takes the minority to shout "HOMEBREW", the rest will have downloaded several hundred MAME ROMs, a few Nintendo Switch games, and will be playing them on a PC.

Nintendo is concerned about all piracy, but emulator piracy is special in that gamers don't need to buy games, and they don't need to buy a console either. Denuvo announced today that it has a new product to bring this to an end.

[...] Denuvo says its solution integrates "seamlessly and automatically" and works by detecting differences in the way a game behaves compared to what it was designed for.

"In this way, our software can tell that your game has been tampered with – and will make it unplayable." Denuvo says its solution will stop Switch games from being pirated and help to secure income for developers. As for gamers, they will "simply have to pay" if they want in on the action.

Original Submission

Related Stories

Convicted Console Hacker Says He Paid Nintendo $25 a Month From Prison 32 comments

When 54-year-old Gary Bowser pleaded guilty to his role in helping Team Xecuter with their piracy-enabling line of console accessories, he realized he would likely never pay back the $14.5 million he owed Nintendo in civil and criminal penalties. In a new interview with The Guardian, though, Bowser says he began making $25 monthly payments toward those massive fines even while serving a related prison sentence.

Last year, Bowser was released after serving 14 months of that 40-month sentence (in addition to 16 months of pre-trial detention), which was spread across several different prisons. During part of that stay, Bowser tells The Guardian, he was paid $1 an hour for four-hour shifts counseling other prisoners on suicide watch.

[...] Nintendo lawyers were upfront that they pushed for jail time for Bowser to "send a message that there are consequences for participating in a sustained effort to undermine the video game industry."

[...] Bowser also maintains that he wasn't directly involved with the coding or manufacture of Team Xecuter's products and only worked on incidental details like product testing, promotion, and website coding. Speaking to Ars in 2020, Aurora, a writer for hacking news site Wololo, described Bowser as "kind of a PR guy" for Team Xecuter. Despite this, Bowser said taking a plea deal on just two charges saved him the time and money of fighting all 14 charges made against him in court.

[...] Now that he's free, Bowser says he has been relying on friends and a GoFundMe[] page to pay for rent and necessities as he looks for a job. That search could be somewhat hampered by his criminal record and by terms of the plea deal that prevent him from working with any modern gaming hardware.

Despite this, Bowser told The Guardian that his current circumstances are still preferable to a period of homelessness he experienced during his 20s. And while console hacking might be out for Bowser, he is reportedly still "tinkering away with old-school Texas Instruments calculators" to pass the time.

Alternate source with GoFundMe link (added to the story above): Nintendo Sued a Man So Severely That He Can Only Survive on GoFundMe

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Original Submission

Emulation Community Expresses Defiance in Wake of Nintendo's Yuzu Lawsuit 3 comments

Nintendo's recent lawsuit against Switch emulator maker Yuzu seems written like it was designed to strike fear into the heart of the entire emulation community. But despite legal arguments that sometimes cut at the very idea of emulation itself, members of the emulation development community I talked to didn't seem very worried about coming under a Yuzu-style legal threat from Nintendo or other console makers. Indeed, those developers told me they've long taken numerous precautions against that very outcome and said they feel they have good reasons to believe they can avoid Yuzu's fate.
"This lawsuit is not introducing any new element that people in the emulation community have not known of for a long time," said Parsifal, a hobbyist developer who has written emulators for the Apple II, Space Invaders, and the CHIP-8 virtual machine. "Emulation is fine as long as you don't infringe on copyright and trademarks."
And others feel operating internationally protects them from the worst of the DMCA and other US copyright laws. "I have written an NES emulator and I am working on a Game Boy emulator... anyway I'm not a US citizen and Nintendo can kiss my ass," said emulator developer ZJoyKiller, who didn't provide his specific country of residence.
Chief among those differences is the fact that Yuzu emulates a Switch console that is still actively selling millions of hardware and software units every year. Most current emulator development focuses on older, discontinued consoles that the developers I talked to seemed convinced were much less liable to draw legal fire.

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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Rich on Monday August 29 2022, @04:44PM (7 children)

    by Rich (945) on Monday August 29 2022, @04:44PM (#1269038) Journal

    I imagine the crackling of finger joints from loosening exercises for faster typing was heard across apartment blocks and cellars in eastern Europe the instant these news were posted. To those guys, the challenge of being first to have an emulation that is precise enough to be undetectable is a much greater challenge than any any of the games itself. :)

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by EJ on Monday August 29 2022, @05:12PM (2 children)

      by EJ (2452) on Monday August 29 2022, @05:12PM (#1269050)

      Yeah. What the people at Denuvo don't understand is that their product IS the game for the hackers. The hackers probably don't care as much about playing the games as they do beating the challenge of cracking them.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by anubi on Tuesday August 30 2022, @02:39AM

        by anubi (2828) on Tuesday August 30 2022, @02:39AM (#1269142) Journal

        The hacker is driven by passion.
        To the hired bloke, it's just a means to a paycheck. He'd rather be doing something else.

        "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 30 2022, @08:29AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 30 2022, @08:29AM (#1269164)

        Shouldn't the emphasis be on THEIR instead of IS?

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 29 2022, @05:17PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 29 2022, @05:17PM (#1269052)

      We are already deep into the Switch's life cycle, over 5 years since launch. Many of the previously sold Switches have older revisions with hardware vulnerabilities that could make it easier to find out what the software is doing. This seems futile.

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by unauthorized on Monday August 29 2022, @08:44PM (2 children)

      by unauthorized (3776) on Monday August 29 2022, @08:44PM (#1269100)

      Following CODEX's retirement from the Warez scene (who were the last scene group cracking current Denuvo at the time), virtually all non-bypass(*) cracks of this protection in 2022 are the handywork of one non-scene cracker who goes by the name of EMPRESS. While she may or may not be Eastern European, there are certainly no hordes of hackers in secret grandma basement bunkers doing this kind of thing in current year.

      (*) Bypass meaning somehow defeating the protection via not cracking the Denuvo executables themselves, most commonly by somehow obtaining an unprotected executable or cracking the weaker protection scheme of Windows Store.

      • (Score: 3, Funny) by Rich on Monday August 29 2022, @09:53PM (1 child)

        by Rich (945) on Monday August 29 2022, @09:53PM (#1269108) Journal

        Sigh. Has it really come to this? I've not been much into games and stuff after the 8-bit days, but finding out where to put that $EAEA (or maybe a $4E71 towards the end) was fun. I suspect Denuvo have more advanced obfuscation technology these days, making it a magnitude or two more complicated. They probably have some poor autistic guy in the basement who has written a Whitespace interpreter in Brainfuck and they run that on PDP-8 derived 13-bit pseudocode, mixed with a bit of compact, expert-written Perl, enough to drive any normie trying to understand their code insane...

        On the other hand, if you have the emulator and therefore the ability of total instrumentation of the "hardware", you could certainly see any unusual access patterns, match that against the origin of the accesses, and figure out what they are doing without understanding how - and improve the emulation.

        • (Score: 4, Interesting) by kazzie on Tuesday August 30 2022, @06:28AM

          by kazzie (5309) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday August 30 2022, @06:28AM (#1269157)

          Moreover, if you have the emulator and also an exploited Switch that you can run homebrew on, you'll be able to do a side-by-side comparison.

  • (Score: 5, Funny) by stretch611 on Monday August 29 2022, @04:47PM

    by stretch611 (6199) on Monday August 29 2022, @04:47PM (#1269040)

    Who would have thought that any piece of Nintendo hardware has the power to run Denuvo software alone... let alone Denuvo and a game at the same time.

    Now with 5 covid vaccine shots/boosters altering my DNA :P
  • (Score: 4, Funny) by rigrig on Monday August 29 2022, @06:26PM

    by rigrig (5129) <> on Monday August 29 2022, @06:26PM (#1269065) Homepage

    Once the Denuvo-induced bugs appear, what are they going to do, ship new cartridges to all customers?

    No one remembers the singer.
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by SomeRandomGeek on Monday August 29 2022, @07:58PM (4 children)

    by SomeRandomGeek (856) on Monday August 29 2022, @07:58PM (#1269083)

    When I was young and poor, I used to pirate games. These days, I have more money and am happy to pay. The thing about anti-piracy protections is that they won't make someone pay for a game. People looking for free entertainment will find it somewhere else. What they won't do is decide that having been unable to pirate a particular game they will buy it instead.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by turgid on Monday August 29 2022, @08:12PM

      by turgid (4318) Subscriber Badge on Monday August 29 2022, @08:12PM (#1269085) Journal

      Yes, and it's the same with music and movies.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by Freeman on Monday August 29 2022, @08:32PM (1 child)

      by Freeman (732) on Monday August 29 2022, @08:32PM (#1269096) Journal

      This definitely seems to be the case. I've spent quite a bit of money on DRM-Free games from GOG. Their business was built upon the fact that they've stripped DRM from and are releasing easy to install versions of older games. While most older games didn't have DRM per se, lots of them required the CD to be inserted in the drive. That morphed from a necessity (Who's going to want to install 500MB of video and sound files?), to a make sure they can't share the game, all the way into the mess that we have today (single player games that phone home and require you to be online all the time).

      Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
      • (Score: 3, Informative) by Freeman on Wednesday August 31 2022, @01:52PM

        by Freeman (732) on Wednesday August 31 2022, @01:52PM (#1269399) Journal

        Yesterday evening I was tinkering with my RasPi4 and decided to download some games from GOG to setup in DOSBox. What I ended up with was a couple of games that had linux installers and others that had windows installers. The Linux installers were easy enough to extract. Which I needed to do, because these weren't compatible with ARM (which is kind of a given, but maybe that'll change in the future). The Windows installers were not easy to extract. Raspbian OS which I was using had built-in tools that could easily extract the Linux installers. What I had a hard time finding was a way to extract the Windows executable installers. Eventually I found a single reference on the GOG forums (thanks duckduckgo) that said they used innoextract to do some sort of funky thing with a windows installer on linux. I don't think they were doing exactly what I was doing, but it did give me the reference I needed. I.E. Just use innoextract to explode those windows installers. Once I had extracted the files from the installers, the rest was just a matter of sifting the installer junk from the game files. The nice thing is that most of them had pre-configured DOSBox configuration files for the games. For the easy ones, I was able to just create a "dosbox -conf mygameconfigfile.conf -conf mygameconfigfile2.conf" kind of script and things just worked. In general they had split the config files in two. They had one DOSBox config file that had all the settings that you would need to get the game to run in DOSBox. With all of the autoexec config in a second file, which is normally at the bottom of a single DOSBox config file. While the setup of GOG games on my RaspberryPi was somewhat long and arduous, it wouldn't have to be. Especially, if you already know the tools you need to get things working. I didn't really do any gaming last night, but I setup my RaspberryPi to play Master of Magic, Commander Keen 1-5, BioMenace, Blake Stone Aliens of Gold, Star Control 1+2, and XCOM1+2 ('ye olde XCOM with isometric level design and completely destructible environments. Which also has fire that spreads and smoke that dissipates). Seriously, they just don't make games like the used to. In some cases that's a very good thing. Horrific control schemes are horrific. Thank you Star Control for making F10 the exit key. Hey at least they had an exit key! I'm looking at you SOPWITH2.

        innoextract, is useful for extracting windows ".exe" installers from GOG.
        Extracting a Linux installer on RaspberryPi (even one built for a different architecture) is supported by built-in tools. Which you may already be familiar with.

        Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Joe Desertrat on Tuesday August 30 2022, @12:54AM

      by Joe Desertrat (2454) on Tuesday August 30 2022, @12:54AM (#1269128)

      Expanding your point about looking elsewhere, what Nintendo should most regret will be blocking people that maybe cannot afford the game now from ever becoming a fan of the game. When they finally do have the money to spend, they will be looking elsewhere. As for those who will never buy the game regardless, just maybe the people they play it with might become enthused enough to buy it themselves. If they "nip it in the bud", they will lose the whole flower.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by MIRV888 on Tuesday August 30 2022, @03:06AM (2 children)

    by MIRV888 (11376) on Tuesday August 30 2022, @03:06AM (#1269148)

    Once I found out I could play all the old arcade games from my youth it was over.
    Zaxxon is still fun.
    Mario Brothers - the original arcade game.
    Donkey Kong Jr.
    The list goes on.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 30 2022, @12:34PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 30 2022, @12:34PM (#1269177)

      Some games I would have a hard time playing with a keyboard/mouse. Zaxxon might be one. Defender is certainly one. Back in the day that was my favorite game. I tried a recent version with a joystick and I could never get the same dynamic going. The old arcade machine had the joysticks and buttons very well placed, for instance with Defender the reverse button was right where my thumb was and the heavy use and coordination between the joystick, thrust button, fire button, and reverse button was how I was able to be so good. I could never get that same comfort level with the joystick. Perhaps I just needed to play it an awful lot like in the old arcade and readjust, but I never got there. Perhaps a bit of looking back with rose-colored glasses too was a factor.