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Denuvo releases anti-piracy security for Unreal Engine and Nintendo Switch

The software company's newest security tools aim to cut down on piracy and emulation efforts by players.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

August 23, 2023

2 Min Read
Screenshot of the Nintendo Switch console lying upright next to two Joy-Cons.

Security software company Denuvo has released a pair of security measures meant to prevent piracy on games for both the PC and the Nintendo Switch. 

In the case of the latter, the company revealed its tools are now available to Switch developers, making it the first partner to be added to Nintendo's Developer Portal. One of its tools, the Emulator Protector, blocks the ability for games on Nintendo's current console to be played on PC emulators. 

Denuvo stated its Protector benefits developers, as it allows them to "increase their revenue during the game launch window. [...] The Nintendo Switch Emulator Protection will ensure that anyone wishing to play the game has to buy a legitimate copy."

Over the years, Nintendo has worked very hard to stamp out emulators, usually through legal action. In theory, the Emulator Protector takes some of the burden off Nintendo's back. Its games are fairly popular in piracy spaces, and Denuvo being added to its Developer Portal shows how much faith Nintendo has in the company's new software.

Doug Lowther, CEO of Denuvo's parent company Irdeto, said his company is responding to "an increasing need to protect against emulation on PC from game launch. Our solution is a must have for publishers to monetize the games fairly on this platform and also not impact PC game sales."

Denuvo also has time for Unreal Engine

Along with an Emulator Protector tool for the Switch, Denuvo revealed a new anti-tamper technology dubbed Unreal Engine Protection (UEP). Its aim is to "prevent malicious users from manipulating games created using Unreal Engine," and can be integrated on a binary level. 

The UEP is said to shield games running on Epic Games' proprietary engine from data mining attempts, along with blocking "the use of in-game debug consoles, and [it] conceals entry points to deter game modification."

Like with Nintendo, Denuvo considers the UEP as a response to publicly available tools that make it easy to "attack" Unreal Engine. To Lowther, the UEP is an "effortless, yet robust defense" against said attacks.

"We are creating new weapons for the gaming industry’s fight against hackers trying to do things with games that are not supposed to be done," he continued.

With that said, VGC noted the UEP may end up affecting those who make non-malicious game mods for titles that run on Unreal Engine. Considering the mod community's popularity, and Unreal's widespread use, it would be a blow to developers and players alike."

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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