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If you keep up with games media, you may have heard the term “Denuvo” over the past few years — a term referring to a notorious DRM (digital rights management) technology installed into certain games to prevent piracy that has a reputation (backed by evidence) that it hampers games it’s installed into. Denuvo is mostly known in the PC world, but the technology appears to be headed to Switch with a “Nintendo Switch Emulator Protection Solution,” as revealed at Gamescom earlier this week.

While people worried if the request came from Nintendo itself (who has, diplomatically, a spotty reputation when it comes to copyright and the internet), Denuvo claims that this is a result of current publishing partners requesting their services on the system. “Because of NDAs, we are not allowed to disclose company names, but we can say this solution comes from strong demand from publishing partners,” said a spokesperson for Denuvo to Kotaku. “Software publishers and Denuvo take great care to deliver the best gaming experience…The protection is designed not to affect the gamer’s experience, and it does not have any in-game performance impact. It is the same for this new solution when protection is only active in non-performance critical code parts.” They also confirmed that the DRM in question wouldn’t require online checks (since the Switch is a mobile console) and that it would stop games from working on PC Switch emulators.

The news has drawn criticism and speculation from Switch modders and hackers. Some question the claim Nintendo isn’t involved, considering Denuvo would need to clear Lotcheck to be allowed to put software on the system. Others think it’s obviously not Nintendo-involved because a) Nintendo is the only one who can actually implement DRM on the system and b) if Nintendo wanted to do that, they’d probably just do it in-house. Either way, emulators aren’t giving up anytime soon.

We’ll have to see what comes of this supposed initiative and Denuvo’s presence on Switch in general. Either way, the great emulation debates will flame on for quite some time to come. 


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Written by Amelia Fruzzetti

A writer and Nintendo fan based in Seattle, Washington. When not working for NinWire, she can be found eating pasta, writing stories, and wondering about when Mother 3 is finally going to get an official localization.