Last week, almost two months on from the game’s launch, id Software introduced the new Denuvo Anti-Cheat software to their hit first person shooter Doom Eternal with Update 1.
After a lot of backlash over the low level access that this had – equivalent to the similarly controversial anti-cheat software in Riot Games’ Valorant – id Software have backtracked and will remove the anti-cheat tech in a PC-only Update 1.1 that will be out within the next week.
Denuvo Anti-Cheat requires kernel level access for the game’s driver, to try to root out cheaters. It’s a separate tool to the similarly maligned Denuvo Anti-Tamper which is slapped on many big budget AAA games, with users often reporting reduced performance. The actual people pirating the game? Well, they just strip Denuvo from the game and play without.
There’s several concerns here, as anti-cheat software in general is able to collect a lot of potentially privacy reducing data from your computer. However, with Denuvo Anti-Cheat and Valorant’s Vanguard anti-cheat both requiring kernel access, they go deeper than ever before, inviting cheat creators to dig deeper to counteract them and potentially opening serious security flaws in the system. While Vanguard runs at all times, requiring a reboot if it’s uninstalled or deactivated, Denuvo Anti-Cheat seems to only activate when the game launches.
id Software’s Marty Stratton explained the motivations behind their decision to include Denuvo Anti-Cheat:
- Protect BATTLEMODE players from cheaters now, but also establish consistent anti-cheat systems and processes as we look ahead to more competitive initiatives on our BATTLEMODE roadmap
- Establish cheat protection in the campaign now in preparation for the future launch of Invasion – which is a blend of campaign and multiplayer
- Kernel-level integrations are typically the most effective in preventing cheating
- Denuvo’s integration met our standards for security and privacy
- Players were disappointed on DOOM (2016) with our delay in adding anti-cheat technology to protect that game’s multiplayer
Essentially, because of the game’s deeply ingrained multiplayer modes, with both Battlemode and the upcoming Invasions in single player, they need to have anti-cheat running at all times. However, even kernel level anti-cheat is fallible, and cheaters can still slip through the net before getting banned down the line.
It was the general negative reaction to the change being made out of the blue that forced id to rethink.
Despite our best intentions, feedback from players has made it clear that we must re-evaluate our approach to anti-cheat integration. With that, we will be removing the anti-cheat technology from the game in our next PC update. As we examine any future of anti-cheat in DOOM Eternal, at a minimum we must consider giving campaign-only players the ability to play without anti-cheat software installed, as well as ensure the overall timing of any anti-cheat integration better aligns with player expectations around clear initiatives – like ranked or competitive play – where demand for anti-cheat is far greater.
This clearly isn’t an end to anti-cheat being integrated into Doom Eternal, and id might return with Denuvo Anti-Cheat in future with a few small modification.
So, that’ll be fun to see.