Denuvo Announces Nintendo Switch Emulator Protection Software

Denuvo is known for its controversial anti-piracy software but it appears that the DRM company is making moves on the Nintendo Switch Emulator scene. Players can easily download switch games off the internet and play them on PC thereby bypassing the switch anti-piracy protections but Denuvo is stepping in to change that once and for all.

Denuvo Announces a Nintendo Switch Emulator Protection Software

Denuvo by Irdeto is pretty famous for digital rights management and anti-tampering software on PC. Denuvo made it into the gaming industry back in 2014 and started to give pirates a hard time. Through ups and downs, Denuvo managed to delay piracy of games causing more players to purchase the game instead of waiting months on end for the games to be cracked and available for free online.

Games that have been released on PC with Denuvo DRM have a workaround that Denuvo wasn’t happy with. If a game released on PC had a Switch port or counterpart, users could go ahead and download a rom of the game for the Nintendo Switch and then proceed to play it on PC, thereby indirectly bypassing Denuvo DRM

Denuvo claims they’ve created an innovative solution to a chronic problem since the inception of Switch and Nintendo Switch emulators. Users have been capable of pirating Switch video games and playing them on PC without triggering the handheld’s anti-piracy implementations.

Irdeto claims that this solution will solve the widespread piracy for multiple platform releases. The announcement came as the gaming industry was in full swing preparing for the upcoming Gamescom 2022 event taking place in Cologne, Germany.

“The innovative solution solves a long-lasting issue of emulating pirate Nintendo Switch games on PC, addressing the widespread piracy on multiplatform releases”


Now, Denuvo seems to be working on a switch emulator protection software. Any game on the Switch can be transferred onto the PC or downloaded from the Internet. This bypasses the protection mechanisms offered on the  PC. But with the Nintendo Switch Emulator Protection, gamers might have to purchase legitimate copies of the game to run on the switch emulator.

So, how does the Nintendo Switch emulator protection software exactly work? Well, Denuvo claims that the technology integrates with the build toolchain. Then, the Denuvo software proceeds to perform a number of checks into the code of the game.

If the checks all come positive, it means the game has not been pirated and was officially purchased. At any instant, the checks detect any discrepancy, and the title at any point of gameplay is blocked, hindering users from further playing the game.

Irdeto states:

“As with all other Denuvo solutions, the technology integrates seamlessly into the build toolchain with no impact on the gaming experience. It then allows for the insertion of checks into the code, which blocks gameplay on emulators.”

“We at Denuvo understand that piracy negatively affects the gaming industry and are working with the industry parties to ensure they have the latest protection technologies available for them,”

“Our team is excited to provide a solution that helps the developers and publishers to help fight the issue of Nintendo Switch piracy.” – Reinhard Blauksovitsch, Managing Director Denuvo

In accordance with this press release, Irdeto’s research done in cahoots with Omidia claims that 84 percent of game developers are actively concerned about the current circumstances of piracy and tampering. The report further claimed that around 93 percent of games are satisfied with the anti-cheat and anti-privacy solutions and are satisfied with the value brought about by the protection technologies.

So, why is Nintendo partnering up with Denuvo for this implementation? It’s all simple. To retain profit and to drive it up across not just one, but multiple platforms. The fewer users able to access the game illegally via piracy, the number of users forced to legally buy the game goes up.

Piracy, no doubt, affects the gaming industry negatively, driving legal sales down in the millions. With this integration of Denuvo, capable of detecting emulation and running checks into the code, users will no doubt be forced to buy the game if they have the means to do so.

Otherwise, we might have to wait for an emulator capable of cracking the code and verifying all the checks, but different games might have different checks, which makes the whole process all the more complicated, that is for pirates.

Even though it’s pretty difficult to estimate the number of players pirating games by emulating them on Nintendo Switch emulators, Denuvo claims that the number could easily be in the millions as platforms and forums dedicated to emulating Nintendo games have a healthy number of 1 million users registered.

“Even though it is hard to pinpoint the exact number of players who emulate Switch games on PC, it is easy to find online forums dedicated to emulation and piracy. The most popular groups have more than one million followers each.” – Irdeto

Hatred for Denuvo DRM

So, why does the gaming community hate Denuvo? Well, the most significant reason is a decrease in framerates and game performance. The most notable example of the previous decade is Batman: Arkham Knight developed by Rocksteady Studios. The game was released on June 23, 2015, and offered terrible performance on the PC. The gaming community was in a massive uproar during this time and blamed Rocksteady Studios for the poor performance of the title. But little did they know that it was Denuvo’s fault all along. 

It was all done pretty discreetly. Denuvo was finally removed from the game with a GOG release later in December of 2020. Game optimization was great for the Non-Denuvo release and framerates were at an all-time high. The game was finally playable with no signs of stuttering, lag, or tearing. And this was all because of removing Denuvo DRM which massively impacted the performance of the game.

denuvo drm nintendo switch emulator
Batman Arkham Knight Benchmark with an FPS counter comparing the Denuvo release with the DRM-free release | Youtube

Denuvo might have improved performance in its almost decade-old existence and run but it’s solidified its reputation as a performance-munching DRM solution and the gaming community is not ready to change its opinion.

Quite recently, the upcoming Sonic Frontiers game listed on Steam was announced to feature Denuvo DRM which once again caused chaos in the gaming community. Will Denuvo affect the game’s performance and cause lag, stuttering, and tearing that we experienced back when the DRM solution was released? We’ll find out when the game finally releases on November 8, 2022.

And that’s pretty much it for today’s news. What do you think of Denuvo dabbling into the Nintendo Switch Emulator scene with their Nintendo Switch Emulator Protection system? Do you think Denuvo is overreaching here? Let us know in the comments below. We upload daily on Appuals so stay tuned for more. Till then, see you later and goodbye.



Naseer Abbas

Naseer has been interested in PCs and videogames since his childhood. If he isn't busy playing retro shooters, he's tinkering with emulators or learning something new.
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