UPDATE: Er, well, that didn't last long. The new Valeroa Anti-Tamper software used to protect City Patrol: Police has been cracked within two days of the game's launch on Steam.
City Patrol isn't exactly a high-profile release so probably wouldn't have really attracted the attention of dedicated crackers were it not for its utilisation of a new form DRM. Sorry, my bad, Valeroa's "not DRM", it's protection for the actual DRM lurking beneath.
Anyway, it's not the greatest start for the first major competitor to Denuvo in some time. On the surface, Valeroa appears to be far more consumer-friendly than Denuvo, although this matters little if it doesn't actually enjoy widespread adoption.
Original Story: 30-Nov-2018 - Say Hi to Valeroa Anti-Tamper, Denuvo's Competitor Which Becomes Easier to Crack Over Time
City Patrol: Police has just launched on Steam and this otherwise pretty terrible looking game is interesting for one big reason - City Patrol: Police is the first game to use the new Valeroa Anti-Tamper anti-piracy measure.
So what is Valeroa, and could it potentially be the lesser of two evils for PC gamers? Well, the creators are at pains to imply it isn’t DRM. Rather it’s protection that “ensures” the actual DRM cannot be removed from a game. I say tomarto, you say tomato, the end result is largely the same.
Taking cues from the never-ending Denuvo controversy, Valeroa will allegedly not affect game performance or frame rates during actual gameplay. The protection runs during the boot-up of software or the loading of levels though, so we have to assume Valeroa could potentially affect load times.
Despite this, Valeroa says there are “no downsides for gamers” if this software is used. There’s no online requirement even for the first boot, there’s no continuous writing to a hard-drive, there’s no hardware validation and no limit on the number of daily installations. Which all sounds pretty great in comparison to Denuvo, to be honest. Obviously, DRM-free is the preference, but if publishers insist on it, the best we can hope for is that it’s as unobtrusive as possible.
What I did actually find really interesting though is Valeroa Anti-Tamper’s approach to cracking. They claim the software is “extremely difficult” to crack both before and shortly after a game’s release date, during those first few crucial weeks of sales. And then get this - after a predefined period of time, the Valeroa protection actually becomes easier to crack in order to help those who want to legally buy games but then want to crack them and keep them cracked at a later date. On this front, “We have no problem with organised pirate groups or individuals who crack Valeroa once the protection is weakened,” says Valeroa. “We definitely don’t prosecute people who just play cracked games.”
At first blush, Valeroa Anti-Tamper sounds like a heck of a lot better alternative to Denuvo Anti-Tamper. It’s not 100% ideal but the noises about making a game easier to crack after a predefined time period sounds great, preventing a Denuvo-like scenario where games could be totally inaccessible should Denuvo’s severs ever go down.
Do you think it's healthy to have a bit more competition in the world of anti-piracy? Would you be more inclined to buy a game if it used Valeroa as compared to Denuvo? Let us know!