The Denuvo anti-hacking tool is now fully compatible with the Nintendo Switch. It promises to put a damper on the emulation of Switch games on PC.
For nearly two years, at least, emulation of the Nintendo Switch on PC has become a real problem for rights holders. Indeed, the lack of security of Switch games makes it very easy to launch them as soon as they are commercially released on PC, and sometimes even before their release. The Legend Of Zelda Tears of the Kingdom was thus playable, two weeks before its release, on PC.
That’s not all. Not only has it become trivial to hack a Nintendo Switch game on PC by emulation, but with the difference in power of the machines, it is common to be able to run the games in better conditions than on the original console: in 4K and at 60 frames per second in particular.
A tool already well known to the PC ecosystem offers to solve this problem: Denuvo.
Protection against emulation
On the sidelines of Gamescom, where Nvidia made announcements about GeForce Now and DLSS and where ROG unveiled new monitors, publisher Irdeto known for its Denuvo protection system was there to talk about the Nintendo Switch. Piracy protection is now integrated into the Nintendo Developer Portal and becomes a middleware authorized Nintendo Switch. In other words, the software has been cleared for use by Nintendo Switch game developers.
Where it is almost paradoxical is that this anti-piracy tool does not really target the Nintendo Switch, but the PC. This is a protection that should allow the game to detect if it is launched from an emulator on PC. The name of the function is also very explicit: Nintendo Switch Emulator Protection.
For Irdeto the objective is always to reduce the piracy of PC games. The firm noticed that if a great cross-platform game was properly protected on PC, it could still end up being pirated on PC as soon as it was commercially launched via a version running on the Switch emulator.
The developers promise that integrating Denuvo into Nintendo Switch games will have no cost on performance. The anti-piracy software is however suspected to be the cause of many performance problems in PC games when they are launched. Developers often choose to withdraw from Denuvo after the launch period, a period when revenues are very important and when it is important to limit piracy.
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