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Denuvo introduces anti-emulation tech for Nintendo Switch

Irdeto unveiled Denuvo emulator protection for Nintendo Switch, a new piece of anti-emulation technology designed to make pirating Switch games on PC more difficult.

Irdeto, the company behind the controversial digital rights management (DRM) program, said in a press release that it created Nintendo Switch Emulator Protection to ensure that developers could increase their revenue during a game’s launch window. It pointed out that most Nintendo Switch games become emulatable on PC on day one, and it hopes that the new anti-emulation tech will help address that issue and ensure developers don’t lose pivotal launch sales to piracy.

Mario, Rabbid Peach, and more characters pose in Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope key art.

“We at Denuvo understand that piracy negatively affects the gaming industry and are working with the industry parties to ensure they have the latest protection technologies available for them,” said Denuvo managing director Reinhard Blaukovitsch. “Our team is excited to provide a solution that helps the developers and publishers to help fight the issue of Nintendo Switch piracy.”

Denuvo said that the Nintendo Switch Emulation Protection tech integrates seamlessly into a game build’s toolchain without affecting gameplay and inserts checks into the code to block gameplay on emulators. Gamers, however, have expressed utter dissatisfaction with Denuvo for years — even if they acquire games legally. They complained that Denuvo has caused issues in PC games, from long loading times to slow performance.

They deem the program a double-edged sword — Denuvo protects games from being tampered with for emulation, but it throttles the game’s speed in the process. Some game companies are generous enough to patch Denuvo out of their games long after their release on PC, and others don’t even use it at all.

In this case, it’s clear that rampant Nintendo Switch piracy is a big concern for Nintendo and Irdeto, and they’re looking for a comprehensive solution to stop it. It remains to be seen if this will negatively impact the performance of Nintendo Switch games, though.

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