Irdeto, the company behind Denuvo and the newer Denuvo Anti-Cheat have announced that developers on Steam can now get direct anti-cheat integration through Steamworks. Denuvo is one of the most popular DRM solutions, with it often appearing in Windows releases of popular AAA games. Now with this Anti-Cheat easily available direct through Steam no doubt many developers will look to use it.
The question is: how will this affect Linux compatibility of games both native Linux builds and Windows games run through the Steam Play Proton compatibility layer? Back in May, we reported that the Denuvo team did mention they were aiming for support of Proton.
After shooting a message over to Irdeto here's what Reinhard Blaukovitsch, Managing Director of Denuvo by Irdeto, said in reply:
We can confirm that future deployments of Denuvo Anti-Cheat will not prohibit Linux users from accessing single-player and non-competitive multiplayer features of their games. For example, campaigns or custom multiplayer game matches. Linux users will not be required to install a kernel-mode driver, and the lack of anti-cheat software will not prevent their game from starting.
Even though there is no kernel-mode driver on Linux, the userspace game process performs significant cheat detection. Linux users accessing multiplayer will be reported to online services as running at lower integrity. Some game developers may choose to prevent Linux users from accessing ranked or competitive game modes. We'll do our best to convince developers and publishers to allow Linux users to participate in competitive modes. Still, we must be honest with them and disclose our reduced detection capability on Linux.
We'll communicate concrete plans for growing Linux detection capability and how the community can contribute as our userbase grows.
In a further clarification to us, we asked if this was only for Windows games in the Proton compatibility layer or if it will have the same kind of support for native Linux builds to which they replied "This is for Windows games in Proton".
When asked for their plans (if any) to support native Linux builds of games, here's what they said:
We have not yet been engaged by an organization expressing interest in native anti-cheat support for Linux. Once there is demand, we’d have no hesitation to take on that task. It’s worth noting that we’ve had anti-cheat technology on consoles for many years now. Our experience with Linux-like environments on the Nintendo Switch and Sony PlayStation 4 & 5 indicates that effective native Linux anti-cheat would require a from-the-ground-up effort and not just a port. Denuvo Anti-Cheat is heavily dependent on hardware security features which makes it fairly kernel-agnostic, so it’s just a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if’. Our best bang-for-the-buck in the short term is Proton.
So there you have it. If demand comes, they will do it too and it's only a matter of time. Nice to see them being so open about it and happy to chat with us on it so clearly.