Talk:The Big List of 3rd Party DRM on Steam

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Updates with Protection ID reports/links.

Edited by another user.
Last edit: 13:54, 19 May 2017

Few things are out of date on this list, so I'm providing some info to get them up to date:

The Testament of Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes versus Jack the Ripper, and Sherlock Holmes: The Awakening - Remastered have all had their third-party DRM removed. Full PID scan for each of the games below:

06:30:02 | C:\Steam\SteamApps\common\The Testament of Sherlock Holmes\game.exe | Steam Api | Possible CD/DVD-Key or Serial Check

06:30:03 | C:\Steam\SteamApps\common\The Testament of Sherlock Holmes\steam_api.dll | Steam Client API Module v01.23.45.93

06:31:08 | E:\Steam\steamapps\common\sherlock holmes the awakened - remastered\game.exe | Steam Detected | Possible CD/DVD-Key or Serial Check

06:31:31 | E:\Steam\steamapps\common\Sherlock Holmes versus Jack the Ripper\game.exe | Steam Detected | Possible CD/DVD-Key or Serial Check

Risen no longer uses Tages, however it WILL ATTEMPT to install Tages if the user runs the game before removing the Tages installation files. Link: and

The files in question to remove are:

06:24:24 | E:\Steam\steamapps\common\risen\bin\TagesClient.exe | Tagès Activation Client v.

06:24:37 | E:\Steam\steamapps\common\risen\redist\tages\TagesSetup.exe | TagesSetup v.

06:24:37 | E:\Steam\steamapps\common\risen\redist\tages\TagesSetup_x64.exe | TagesSetup v.

--Goteki (talk) 13:52, 18 July 2013 (UTC)

13:52, 18 July 2013

Could Fallout 3 GFWL qualify as "inert DRM"?

I got the feeling that the current situation of Fallout 3's GFWL is what Bethesda considered for "removal". I remember people expecting GFWL maybe to be removed before Fallout 4 release, but it never happened fully. Guess they didn't want to intervene into the game files too much and also left GFWL for "compatibility" with those wanting to use it for achievements. I updated the article to reflect that the new CD-keys (old old ones, if you lost yours) can not be obtained on Steam, although it is possible to use another GFWL key to activate it (as it's a legacy title) - relevant entries in SteamDB for reference: [1] [2]. They also removed the sharing flag, but only on the GOTY version. I'm pretty sure they simply forgot about Fallout 3 since it's superseded by cheaper GOTY bundle nowadays. They also removed the GFWL notice in Steam Store.

The situation is kinda bit similar to what the developers of Toy Soldiers did, they basically only edited the database entry without touching the files, although they had a separate EXE that prevented GFWL overlay from launching at all, which made me move them to "Inert". However I kinda think that the situation of Fallout 3 is somewhat similar and might be worth moving it too. It's worth mentioning it was also listed as removed here, back in 2014 [3].

What's your opinion?

Faalagorn /05:38, 25 November 2016

The answer is maybe.

It mostly depends on how you see the neverending issue over which rights (those a DRM supposedly limits) user even has.

Hoping you aren't part of the extremist camp (for which no matter what, superfluous software is always a constraint) I guess the only thing GFWL local profile is still limiting is mod-ability.

Only if you don't think so then (and presuming you don't need even once to go online for instance) for as much GFWL-itself is still required we might consider it[s DRM part] inert.

Mirh (talk)16:42, 27 November 2016

The client is still used, so some players might want to know about it for that reason (as with Kalypso Launcher).

Garrett (talk)03:30, 10 December 2016

We need to start building a list of games that use this POS DRM scheme. I refuse to buy any game that uses such crap.

ON their website they claim "Does Denuvo Anti-Tamper affect my SSD or any other type of hard drives in any way?

No. As mentioned before, Denuvo Anti-Tamper does not constantly read or write any data to storage media. "

"Early reports from Slavic language tech-focused sites are suggesting that playing the game for about 40 minutes caused over 150,000 data rewrites - or roughly 10,000 times more often than any other game in recent memory that didn't use Denuvo's copy protection."

This is in regards to Dragon Age Inquisition.

BONKERS (talk)21:33, 19 November 2014

"Early reports from Slavic language tech-focused sites are suggesting that playing the game for about 40 minutes caused over 150,000 data rewrites - or roughly 10,000 times more often than any other game in recent memory that didn't use Denuvo's copy protection."

...and have you actually looked for these alleged Slavic-language reports? I did, and I found a long string of comments leading back to, which cites a source from Facepunch. Every attempt to replicate these results I've found on both Dragon Age: Inquisition and on games which use Denuvo have failed.

I'm calling false info driven by the anti-DRM hivemind.

Expack3 (talk)01:03, 20 November 2014

Expack3 has addressed the drive claims while I was writing this. I wouldn't seriously consider this until some more trustworthy source has tested it directly. Obfuscation increases reads and execution overhead (since it's basically using deliberately unoptimised code) but it wouldn't need that many extra writes since a decrypted result isn't being stored permanently.

As for games using Denuvo I think Lords of the Fallen is the only one on Steam so far; confirmed cases outside of Steam are currently FIFA 14, FIFA 15 and the aforementioned Dragon Age: Inquisition.

The Denuvo website previously had a Who we work with section showing Rockstar and various others (leading to speculation that Grand Theft Auto V might use it). Either way it looks like most (all?) upcoming EA titles are using Denuvo.

Garrett (talk)01:10, 20 November 2014

Whether it causes problems or not.

Shit like this is completely unwarranted. I'm sick of layering DRM on DRM. Treating paying customers like criminals, requiring them to jump through endless hoops. It gets old.

It's only a matter of time before the DRM is cracked and pirates will continue to keep'a'crackin

BONKERS (talk)11:17, 21 November 2014

DRMs are not meant to last forever. Just long enough to persuade miser assholes that have the money, but don't care about others's work to buy the game.
In reality I think publishers are already fine if they last for a week.
And indeed this resisted 46 days with FIFA 14. Still uncracked for both FIFA 15 and lords of the fallen.

You could even call something like starforce the worst protection ever created... but at least it stand for almost 15 months with chaos theory before falling.
The legends about broken DVD player might even be true, but more than a year is definitively a big thing

Now, yeah, if say GTA:SA was protected by something like denuvo, modding scene would be entirely different (and the game still broken). Though this seems pretty straightforward, besides some unconfirmed tests

Or are you experiencing problems yourself?

EDIT: of course when protection has been broken, or enough time is passed, if you are not dumb you should remove it.

Mirh (talk)14:15, 21 November 2014

No, I am not experiencing problems. I just dont' care for or trust how companies handle this kind of stuff.

Piracy =/= always a lost sale. So many people never intend to buy the game in the first place. This isn't going to get them any new sales or save them any money since none is lost in the first place. (Only in their minds , theoretical money that doesn't exist) And then you have legitimate paying customers , who are the ones forced to put up with it.

BONKERS (talk)04:57, 24 November 2014

1 pirated copy ≠ 1 sold copy

But if I take 10 pirated copy, at least 3 of these people have the money, but are just the kind of aforementioned greedy morons.
They are the reason for me justifying DRMs in some cases.

Then you could probably have your stories with crappy protections, where the cure is worse than the disease... but I don't think this problem is technically intrinsic

Mirh (talk)15:04, 24 November 2014

Just to enliven the discussion, denuvo even deny to be a DRM by itself, claiming it's just an anti-tamper solution that works on top of other -already existing- DRMs such as Steam or Origin

Mirh (talk)14:53, 27 November 2014

Denuvo Anti-Tamper appears to use online authentication of a hardware hash (hence the existence of an offline activation page for Lords of the Fallen) which sounds like standard DRM behaviour to me.

I don't have a Denuvo game to test this for myself but it seems like it wouldn't be possible to install and play one of these games if the server isn't available for this first-run authentication process.

Their assertion that it assists existing DRM is because it authenticates the hardware hash against a Steam/Origin account rather than a traditional product key (so it isn't a standalone solution).

Garrett (talk)01:17, 28 November 2014

Mass Effect 1 SecuROM?

ME1 is reported to be drm free, at least on Steam
Still, one of the thread of the game (monitored with Process Explorer) is called MassEffect.exe!SecuROM, even though it could be even a name leftover

Mirh (talk)11:45, 20 August 2014

I checked the Bring Down the Sky installer and it looks like the list entry is correct. The DLC installer applies the regular Patch 1.02 installer which has SecuROM 7 DRM on MassEffect.exe (according to PROTECTiON iD).

I don't have the Steam version of this game to test whether the patch installer successfully replaces Steam's normal executable with this SecuROM one; either way it should be possible to install the DLC, delete MassEffect.exe and then verify the cache to restore Steam's version of MassEffect.exe.

Garrett (talk)05:54, 24 August 2014

The patch installers (at least those inside DLCs...) does not replace masseffect.exe. Otherwise the game wouldn't even launch (and I would have noticed d:)
My observation was referring exactly to the original Steam executable. Anyway I checked it with that nice tool (PROTECTiON iD) and it only reports steam protection. So.. I think it's fine.

Even though it's strange that Steam .exe is still 20MB big (whereas in GTA:San Andreas for example, securom removal slimmed down the exe from 15 to 5MB)

Mirh (talk)15:59, 24 August 2014

Ah, that makes sense. I've updated the list now.

Garrett (talk)03:19, 25 August 2014

Little note
Even though there's no trace of anything other than game files...
Patch installer were (are?) able to install whatever else they wanted. In this case a weird shell extension... :\

Mirh (talk)15:51, 4 October 2014

The DLC installer can be extracted manually (I think I used 7-Zip) so the DLC could be installed that way without the bundled patch if needed.

Garrett (talk)04:09, 5 October 2014

I know, I used 7-zip too.
What I wanted to point out was that.. I compared 1.01 and 1.01a patch (the latter probably fixed the issue with windows explorer crashing)
But.. the only different file was the game executable (masseffect.exe), which is everything but a shell extension

So there must be something that 7-zip can't see. And this surprised me

Mirh (talk)14:01, 5 October 2014

Crysis 2 Maximum Edition still appears to have SolidShield

It looks like Crysis 2 Maximum Edition still contains SolidShield, in addition to SteamStub. The SolidShield doesn't seem to actually impose any restrictions, and runs fine after SteamStub is stripped, launched outside of Steam. You can find strings referring to SolidShield inside the EXE and a whole bunch of PROTECT* sections if you look at it in a PE editor. I find it kind of stupid that they tacked SteamStub on to the game, considering it's already wrapped, and the forcing start from Steam function can be achieved through Steamworks even without Steam running.

How should this be handled? Move the game back up to the TAGES section, or just add a note about it?

Cyanic (talk)15:32, 29 August 2014

If it doesn't do anything it is probably a harmless remnant and/or the obfuscation product (SolidShield Wrapper); obfuscation does not enforce access/activation restrictions so doesn't count as DRM for the purposes of this list.

Garrett (talk)23:30, 29 August 2014

OK, I'll update the notes to state that although it's wrapped, the DRM doesn't pose restrictions.

Cyanic (talk)12:59, 30 August 2014

It may even be just a leftover (like SecuROM in mass effect steam edition)
Are there any way to actually detect if it's active code or just junk?

Mirh (talk)19:11, 30 August 2014

In the case of SolidShield a game will either activate silently during installation (as with the original Crysis 2) or display an activation prompt. Games that don't do either aren't using the activation feature.

DRM types with dedicated removal tools (e.g. SecuROM) are easier since the tool can be used to show what DRM data is present; if a removal tool doesn't detect anything after running a game that means it isn't using the activation feature since even silent activation will install DRM data that the tool can then detect.

Garrett (talk)21:48, 30 August 2014

Besides the removal tool, I think you can directly check for the existence of %APPDATA%\SecuROM\ folder

Anyway if I correctly understood solidshield website, they have 2 types of product:

  • Solidshield Activation (which seems the usual DRM and it's what you was referring to in the crysis 2 example)
  • Solidshield Wrapper.. which seems more an anti reverse engineering protection. The executable is encrypted and that's it.

In the later case.. I am neither sure it could really be considered a DRM as safedisc, tages, starforce, nor if there would some ways to detect it, besides hex analysis/disassembling

Mirh (talk)10:56, 31 August 2014

Uplay/Assassin's Creed

Does the first one also require Uplay? I was quite sure that only later titles used Uplay in all releases, with the first one being relatively free of integration with any services. I see no mention of this on the store page either.

Soebtalk|contribs20:51, 10 August 2014

No it doesn't require uPlay at all. ACII was first one to use it.

Blackbird (talk)22:08, 10 August 2014

Gotham City Impostors

Gotham City Impostors bought on Steam prior to F2P update can still be played with GFWL. Devs even added a note about F2P Steamworks version after registration, so GFWL version is not totally deprecated, although can not be bought anymore (and Store page redirects to F2P). Although I haven't checked that, I think it's similar to GOTY and non-GOTY versions of Batmans (asylum & city). This page should list non-F2P version similar to how batmans are handled, since it's a separate entry, so I updated the page to reflect that. I also removed Impostors from Removed DRM, since no DRM was removed in any patch. Simply a new co-existing version of the game was created instead.

Faalagorn /02:58, 3 March 2014

Test Drive: Ferraria Racing Legends

Store page.

Steam Community Discussions topic.

This game doesn't have GFWL listed anywhere on its store page, but multiple sources confirm it existing. I'm not sure which section it would go under, so someone else can add it.

Nicereddy (talk)01:20, 22 October 2013

Thanks, I've added it now.

For reference the List of Games for Windows - LIVE games lists all GFWL games with the same sections as this page, so if others are missing it's easy enough to copy them over (with the exception of the Marketplace only titles; these don't have GFWL elsewhere).

Garrett (talk)02:57, 22 October 2013

More SecuROM games

Dark Void, NecroVision, NecroVision: Lost Company. Dark Void also seems to have some deactivated Games for Windows Live components, Steam automatically installs it, but it doesn't appear ingame., 12 October 2013

Thanks for the information. Dark Void installing GFWL is a mistake on their part; only the Games for Windows Marketplace version has GFWL integration.

Garrett (talk)00:45, 13 October 2013

I was looking for SecuROM in my registry, in light of the recent removal from Batman Arkham titles, and I found two titles with SecuROM folder I didn't expect in the slightest. They're:

• Deus Ex Invisible War

• Thief Deadly Shadows

(Both of them on Steam, ofc) Their DRM might be inert or just a bunch of leftover files, either way they're not mentioned in the article...

Kid Of The Century (talk)09:01, 18 October 2013

Thanks for noticing that. This text was used by the games to show SecuROM error messages and isn't made by SecuROM itself; even the versions still make them. I double-checked the Steam version of Deadly Shadows with Protection ID and the SecuROM Removal Tool and neither detected SecuROM.

I've added both games to Removed DRM with an explanation.

Garrett (talk)10:26, 18 October 2013

The "From GFWL to Steamworks" section

About half of the entries in the table are extraneous - F1 2011, F1 2012, Dawn Of War 2, Lost Planet and Fallout 3. There shouldn't be speculation in this (or any) article, regardless of how likely it seems and the reasoning behind it.

I suggest only listing these games when they are confirmed to have migrated. The ones who are not updated can stay in the GFWL section (which will likely need to be rewritten in 2014 anyway)., 10 September 2013

I have merged this section into the normal list. A new section can be made once migrated versions are publicly released.

Garrett (talk)23:23, 10 September 2013

LP ECCE is not same as lp ec just saying. the link sent u to other one letting you know, 4 October 2013

Thanks for catching that, I've fixed the link now. :)

Garrett (talk)20:58, 4 October 2013

I have left only the games which have been confirmed to be converted in this section. As it stands the GFWL to Steamworks list was misleading and full of nonsense. Do not revert this edit.

Speculation should not be presented as fact. Case in point: The speculation in this list was cited in the cinemablend article under the assumption that it was true. Does this not call into question the validity of the info we have on the whole wiki?, 9 October 2013

I just activated my Batman: Arkham City (non-GoTY) key on Steam (I bought a digital copy from Gamestop's online downloads store).

During the activation it said "Batman: Arkham City GFWL Redemption" and it eventually gave me two items, Batman: AC and Batman: AC GoTY edition (I see separate entries in my games list for the two of them; not sure why).

I'm guessing everyone who has the base game and redeems it gets the GoTY edition for free., 17 October 2013

There are multiple sources saying they got the GOTY version having only unlocked the regular version, so this looks to be true.

Nicereddy (talk)23:44, 17 October 2013

Disadvantage WARNING: Games for Windows Live multiplayer is shutting down on July 1, 2014.[5] This will make some GFWL games or sections of games unplayable.

Regarding the statement that Games for Windows Live multiplayer is shutting down, this has not been confirmed directly by Microsoft and should be taken as speculation until and unless it is. The statement that is the basis for this briefly appeared on the Age of Empires Online page before it was taken down, however we do not know the reasons why it was taken down. It could have been erroneous. Microsoft could have changed their minds. We don't know.

It may yet be shut down in July 2014 but presenting that as fact based on a screenshot of something posted on a single game's web site that was quickly removed is really shaky ground.

Additionally, I feel as though it's poor form that the source being cited is PCGamingwiki. I realize that is partially because the quote in question was removed, however a site citing itself as a source is circular logic and I don't think that's something that should ever be done.

Motoki (talk)20:20, 10 October 2013

It should be clearly presented as a rumor, but not removed from the page altogether. It's essentially regarded as fact at this point and Microsoft has yet to make a comment saying it isn't going to happen, which would be logical from a PR standpoint should they have something good to say.

As for your latter comment, I think the self-sourcing is definitely something we may want to talk about. I'm not sure how we should handle that.

Nicereddy (talk)21:47, 10 October 2013

I have replaced the reference with one from PC Gamer. The wording of the section intro could still be clearer, of course, so that's something to look into.

Garrett (talk)23:15, 10 October 2013

X3 terran conflict DRM removed

Hey, I was looking at the list of DRM on games and noticed X3: Terran Conflict still states it has Tages DRM. It was patched out a few years ago during a big content patch. (EGOSOFT stated they'll remove any DRM on their games 1 year after release, just as some extra info)., 10 October 2013

Thanks for the heads-up; I've moved X³: Terran Conflict to Removed DRM. :)

Garrett (talk)23:22, 10 October 2013

Response to recent editing/flaming on this article

I've put up this response here:

Firstly I'd like to thank everyone for helping to edit The Big List of 3rd Party DRM on Steam. It's a big job and I'm glad that there are lots of people passionate about PC gaming and DRM issues, it's certainly not possible to maintain without your help.

Regarding the recent edits by i9urd ( and Arios - we would like to allow i9urd's edits to stand. The reason is that articles should 1) not contain unconfirmed speculation and 2) reference wherever possible. It is clear that games like Fallout 3 do not belong in the 'From GFWL to Steamworks' list as there has been no official announcement about its GFWL future. However I would say that various hacks and fixes DO belong on the Fallout 3 article page, and likewise on other game articles too.

I also want to say that we do not tolerate name-calling or offensive language on the wiki in any form, even mild terms such as calling someone a child, or telling someone to GTFO. This kind of languages has no place in our community, please consider yourselves warned.

Part of the problem we hope to address is lack of policy guidance. We hope to produce this in the near future, especially with regards to notability, citations, and behaviour. We aspire to become the Wikipedia of PC gaming, and our moderation will reflect this too.

I will also be discussing revamping the way we present 'project' pages such as the page being discussed. I will include a link to this Steam discussion to be displayed prominently on the header and talk pages, and clarify the goals and rules to be followed when editing that page.

Many thanks for everyone's contributions, they are very much appreciated.


Andytizer - oppa13:19, 9 October 2013

What exactly is "stub" DRM?

Could somebody just clarify what exactly "stub form of DRM" is? I understand that Steam itself is considered 3rd-party DRM, so does this just mean Steam itself is the stub, or remnants of other 3rd party DRM (ie: SecuROM) that lie in the installation of the game? Also, how active and working are these remnants if they apply? Thanks., 17 July 2013

From where its used in the article I gather this implies a non-obtrusive nature, but I don't really like the terminology and personally would see it replaced with something else as this term isn't widely used. At the moment it is rather confusing.

hungry_eyes HE sig.png (contribs | sandbox | talk)19:31, 17 July 2013

Steam Stub is the internal name for Steam's standard DRM; I've changed the stub mentions to "Steam DRM" to make it clearer.

Garrett (talk)22:32, 17 July 2013

Darkspore abandoned

This announcement was posted on the Darkspore forum at

"Darkspore is no longer developed. It is for almost all intents & purposes an abandoned title. If you cannot play the game & have flicked through technical issues for any fixes, then contact EA Customer Support; especially if it regards CD-Keys or refunds.

Error 73003 has gone unfixed & remains an issue.

Error Code 3 has arisen for the majority/all & remains an issue.

I will however keep the forums here as clean & tidy as possible in my spare time. Why? Well why not. If it helps anyone with minor problems, or find their way somewhere, then that's great.

I wish you all luck, no matter what path you choose with Darkspore.

~Inquisitor Laine "

So should this page be updated to reflect the game's current non-status?

Pendragon (talk)08:00, 1 July 2013

The Darkspore Forums message has been updated again to say the problem is resolved so it looks like things are back to normal.

Garrett (talk)09:58, 2 July 2013

HAWX 2 and Settlers 7 can now be played offline

Already updated the page with this info.

PALADiN (talk)13:22, 20 June 2013

This "Big List of 3rd Party DRM on Steam" page needs a link to it linking from the Main page

The way it is now, this page is pretty much hidden from anyone who doesn't already know about it, which isn't good, I want and hope to see this page gain traffic and thrive with more contributes from others.

Currently it's completely hidden (unless I'm totally blind) and unless someone happens to makes an edit to this page at the right time and then some outsider just happens to look through the general history of the wiki's page edits, no one who doesn't already know about it will see it. There needs to be a link to it linking from the main page that people can see and click on, something with a header like "Known DRM" or "List of DRM on Steam".

I'd do it my self, but I've never really edited a wiki before and don't want to muck anything up lol, and great job so far guys.

Special (talk)22:55, 30 April 2013

TODO Items

A few things that weren't done for the 1.0 release of the PCGW SteamDRM page:

- The page is pretty much a standalone article. It links to games with pages, but games that are on the list do not point to the list, and PCGW itself does not link to this page. - There may be some games on PCGW whose titles do not match the "official" title according to Steam. For instance, punctuation may vary slightly. - Possibly more.

At this point I'll be deprecating the old SteamDRM pages, so any general SteamDRM things should be focused on this page.

Love, flibit (talk)05:35, 27 April 2013