The Nintendo Switch is Denuvo’s next DRM target

Denuvo, an anti-cheat and DRM (digital rights management) software that has become synonymous with performance issues, is coming to Nintendo Switch games in an attempt to block users from emulating games on PC. The service claims the new software has “no impact on the gaming experience.”

Denuvo’s software currently comes bundled with a number of games on PC, including Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, FIFA 22, Deathloop, and many, many more. The software has a history of affecting performance on the games it’s included with, and when its servers go down, all the games it supports go down with it. Fans even pleaded with the developers of Humankind to remove it — which the studio ended up doing.

Denuvo’s implementation on the Switch is made specifically to prevent users from emulating their games on PC. While Denuvo’s pretty light on the details, it sounds like it may prevent Switch users from dumping the contents of their games on PC, which they would then run with an emulator. This only applies to the games that actually use the software, of course, and right now, there’s no telling which developers might adopt it or what impact it might have on games running it.

Nintendo has grappled with piracy issues for years. In 2019, Nintendo sued ROMUniverse, a site that houses a library of thousands of pirated games, over “brazen and mass scale infringement.” Nintendo won its $2.1 million lawsuit against the site’s owner in May 2021 and subsequently ordered him to destroy all Nintendo ROMs on the site in August.

That obviously didn’t solve all of Nintendo’s problems though, as some PC gamers got access to an emulated version of Metroid Dread just days after it was released for the Switch last October. Nintendo may even be going after YouTubers who emulate their games on Steam Deck as well, as it appears to have issued a takedown request for a video that shows players how to install and use an emulator.

We still don’t know when exactly Switch developers will start using the software. But for the sake of preserving decent gameplay, we can only hope it won’t be widely implemented.