Cheaters in online games are bad people. Whether they’re doing it for giggles or trying to hit leaderboards there’s no way to ruin an online game faster than cheaters. Even big games like Call of Duty: Warzone can have a cheater problem. Apparently Doom Eternal tried to nip it in the bud early.
According to various sources, Bethesda just added Denuvo Anti-Cheat (DAC) to the game in a recent update. Unlike Denuvo Anti-Tamper, this software runs at the kernel level. Basically, it has access to every system function imaginable, including the ability to ruin your hardware.
Anti-cheating software can be important. If it’s good enough it can create a pretty clean online environment for gamers to enjoy the games they play. But, it should probably also be as unobtrusive as possible to gain people’s trust.
Doom Eternal didn’t need DAC. Just looking at the trailer you can see that the game has a strong single-player focused. Was cheating so rampant already that intrusive anti-cheating software was an important inclusion?
The fact that DAC has access to your hardware and is basically at the same trust-level as your operating system is baffling. Maybe it’s intended to prevent hardware cheating devices from being used. Either way, it just makes DAC more hassle than it’s worth.
In fairness to Doom Eternal, it’s not the only game with anti-cheat software at this level. Both Easy Anti-Cheat (EAC) and BattleEye are kernel-level anti-cheating software. Valorant, Fortnite, Apex Legends, and Rainbox Six: Siege are just some of the games with this issue.
Obviously, people are understandably concerned about this. While kernel access isn’t needed to steal data from your system, it does make hardware tampering possible.
Folks who have Doom Eternal installed probably didn’t sign up for this knowing they’d have intrusive software installed without their knowledge.
The real take away here is not that anti-cheat software is bad. But, having kernel-level anti-cheat is an unnecessary risk. All software, no matter who made it, carries some potential risk to a computer system. But, why on earth is it necessary for these programs to run at the kernel-level?
Surely a more convenient and slick way of dealing with cheating is out there? Hell, Valve Anti-Cheat (VAC) runs at the program level and seems to do a decent job of keeping games mostly clean.
Maybe Bethesda should just swallow their pride and add VAC to Doom Eternal. But no, instead they go with DAC. Because Denuvo were so good at making convenient DRM.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of CCN.com.