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Denuvo launches in-game watermark tool to counter game leakers

Denuvo's Tracemark tech will let developers create watermarks that could help find who's responsible for leaking games or assets.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

March 18, 2024

1 Min Read
Graphic for Denuvo's TraceMark technology.
Image via Irdeto.

At a Glance

  • Denuvo has always been working against piracy, and now it's approaching the issue from another angle.

During GDC 2024, Denuvo maker Irdeto revealed it made another piece of anti-piracy software. Unlike previous measures for the Nintendo Switch and Unreal Engine, this is more concerned with pre-release leaks rather than game emulation.

Known as TraceMark, the technology works as a watermark that lets developers add a unique ID to game files. Meaning, if something gets leaked, the studio (or publisher) will have an easier time tracing the source.

Irdeto also revealed that TraceMark can be made visible or invisible at a developer's discretion. That feature, as it notes, would be helpful when review or beta codes are sent to critics and content creators.

Denuvo has been open about its aim to kill piracy when it can, and this is no different. In the press release, Irdeto SVP Niels Haverkorn called TraceMark a "new standard in anti-piracy for [games]."

"This innovative solution...represents a leap forward in protecting the creative and financial investments of game developers worldwide. [...] TraceMark is our commitment to ensuring that these valuable assets are safeguarded throughout their lifecycle."

Can video game leaks be fully plugged?

TraceMark comes weeks after Nintendo Switch emulator Yuzu settled after a lawsuit by Nintendo. The developer lay last year's leak of Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom partially at Yuzu's feet.

More recently, material from last year's Insomniac Games hack went viral last week. Two trailers went out for a now canceled multiplayer game, Spider-Man: The Great Web.

Leaks have always been a part of games. But with TraceMark now in the picture, one imagines it may lead to a larger hostility between studios and press/content creators down the line, to say nothing of the players themselves.

Read more about:

GDC 2024

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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