Denuvo… a name that anyone might have heard of if they’re a heavy PC gamer. If you’re not only a heavy PC gamer, but also someone who enjoys your emulation, particularly Switch emulation, then you might be shaking in your boots seeing those two things in the same paragraph. That’s (unfortunately) right, though; Denuvo is coming to Switch, and that could mean trouble for emulation of the platform in the future. But what does that mean for you? And what is Denuvo?

Developed by Iderto, Denuvo is a DRM solution that is not only supposed to be easy to implement into games, but is also a tool that could potentially stop the rapid cracking of Switch games for emulation. Almost a year ago, they announced that their DRM software would be coming to Nintendo Switch. And here they are now: finally implementing it into Nintendo’s Dev Portal.

But what is DRM? DRM or Digital Rights Management, is that piece of software that some call a pain in the butt. However, to companies that work in video games and other software, DRM is a technology that attempts to protect a developer’s ownership of a game. Or in other words, aim to stop us from doing the most important thing. Playing our games on devices that we shouldn’t be able to. 

This could mean a lot of things in the coming weeks, months, even years for the performance of Switch in every scenario. One of the biggest concerns around Denuvo is that it uses way more of a chip’s capability than one would expect from something as simple as a DRM service. The Nvidia chip that’s inside the Switch was already a couple of years old before the system had even come out. Now that we’re pushing on 8 years since the Tegra X1 came out, there’s concern that including Denuvo could do a serious number on the system (even if games were already taxing on the Switch’s specs already).

Everyone already has a Switch though. What does this mean for those of you that want to play Has-Been Heroes emulated to Switch on something like a Steam Deck, or the Ally? Well in case you weren’t aware, DRM is put in place to help stop tampering with game files for at least a little bit. Iderto claims that it will provide the longest time between release and any cracks in their software, which in turn means that you shouldn’t be expecting to play Untitled Princess Peach game on your Odin 2 right on release.

But that’s the thing- just because Denuvo is available for game developers to use, doesn’t mean they have to. Actually, as of now no games have implemented it, and no one claims to be using it anytime soon.

Maybe it’s all in preparation for the Nintendo Switch 2 (I know, my dad’s uncle works at Nintendo). It’s possible that all of this talk about Anti-Piracy on Switch might not actually be happening. Yet. Personally, I’m not a fan of heavy software being placed on top of my games. Emulation or not, anything that makes my Untitled Goose Game run poorly is bad in my books. 

As of now, there isn’t much of a concern regarding the state of Switch emulation. But in a series of events and takedowns showing how Nintendo despises emulation, and our guts apparently, this is just another brick in the wall showing where they’re at. Hopefully this is just a warning rather than immediate action, but regardless, there’s gonna be someone out there ready to show how quickly they can play their games on whatever they feel like (hopefully it’s another toaster oven).

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