There is currently great concern about the impact DRM has on gaming performance. Denuvo, in particular, is often seen as having a detrimental effect on frame rates, among other issues such as blocking mod support and online activation. One of the more controversial games is Assassin's Creed Origins, which uses a combination of Denuvo and VM Protect DRM. AC: Origins is a very demanding game on PC, leading PC gamers to ask whether DRM causes a performance hit in gaming.
Earlier this week it was revealed that Assassin's Creed Origins' copy protection had been cracked, some three months after its launch. Denuvo Anti-Tamper DRM and VMProtect copy protection helped Ubisoft see out the first 100 days of Assassin's Creed Origins' shelf life. Ever since launch though, there has been widespread skepticism over the DRM and how it impacts AC Origins' computer performance.
One of our trusted members of the community (who would prefer to remain anonymous) has sent over benchmarks comparing the cracked version of Assassin’s Creed Origins with the up-to-date legitimate version. These results have been verified, so I can confirm these are the real deal.
This should help clarify a few things as there is a bit of confusion and potential misinformation circling regarding the performance of Assassin's Creed Origins on PC before and after being cracked. They have benchmarked Assassin's Creed Origins in its current state with a legal copy and then compared performance with an AC Origins cracked version. The benchmarks were run at Low resolutions in order to stress the CPU as much as possible, as Denuvo allegedly issues a larger number of calls to the processor which can cause a drop in frames per second. Here we find out whether the bypass crack indicates DRM frame rate performance hits.
Assassin's Creed Origins Benchmarks - GeForce GTX 1060 6GB, Intel Core i7-5820K, 16GB DDR4 RAM
Normal vs Cracked
(Click to Enlarge)
720p / Low 720p/Ultra 1080p/Low 1080p/Ultra Normal 102 76 92 58 Cracked 103 76 91 57
And, as suspected, the crack does nothing to improve Assassin’s Creed Origins’ performance compared to the standard version. The difference in performance is absolutely miniscule across all the AC Origins crack v non-crack benchmarks, with an average of just 1 fps difference. Compared to our own Assassin's Creed Origins 1.0 benchmarks on launch day, it now has a slightly higher FPS.
This comes as little surprise when the crack itself is just a bypass. Denuvo and VMProtect DRM are still running, they’re simply being tricked, so there’s no change to your graphics card frame rate performance when comparing a cracked game to an uncracked game. If you’ve got a legitimate copy of AC: Origins and were planning to download the cracked version for improved performance - don’t bother, Assassin's Creed Origins' performance when cracked is the same.
There are one or two caveats to this data though. Firstly, the comparisons were performed using a fairly hefty Intel Core i7-5820K CPU. Those with weaker CPUs will obviously have lower FPS in AC: Origins, although it’s still unclear whether any of the DRM methods are responsible for FPS drops in Origins. If you have a lower-end processor, the DRM may have a noticeable impact on PC frame rates, although anything on that front is pure guesswork at this stage.
Ubisoft’s official word on the matter is that “the anti-tamper solutions implemented in the Windows PC version of Assassin’s Creed Origins have no perceptible effect on game performance.
“In order to recreate a living, systemic and majestic open world of Ancient Egypt, where players can witness all of its stunning details, its beautiful landscapes & incredible cities, in a completely seamless way with no loading screens, Assassin’s Creed Origins uses the full extent of the minimum and recommended PC system requirements while ensuring a steady 30 FPS performance.”
Without Ubisoft patching Denuvo and VMProtect out of Assassin’s Creed Origins, we’ve no way to know for certain. That prospect is admittedly more likely now that AC: Origins has been comprehensively cracked, although Ubisoft’s track record suggests it will leave the Denuvo DRM implemented on PC.
No surprises here then, but do you still think the DRM, bypassed or not, is having a large impact on Assassin's Creed Origins' frame rates?