Capcom, a prominent player in the gaming industry, has recently been embedding advanced digital rights management (DRM) software into its legacy collection of games on Steam. This move is a strategic effort to combat the ever-growing issue of piracy.
However, this approach has raised eyebrows within the PC modding community. Capcom’s stance is clear: they view modifications to their games as no different from cheating, a standpoint that has sparked significant debate among players and modders alike.
The Onset of DRM Integration
The integration of DRM, specifically the Enigma Protector software, into Capcom’s games has been a gradual process over recent months. However, it became a hot topic when Capcom updated the 2013 release, Resident Evil: Revelations, on PC. This update led to a significant performance degradation, causing an uproar among players. Capcom’s swift action to revert these changes was only a temporary measure. According to their official statement on Steam, they are determined to implement the update once again.
Community Backlash and Review Bombing
This move by Capcom has not gone unnoticed by the Steam community. Players have expressed their discontent by flood of “mostly negative” reviews for Resident Evil: Revelations. The main grievance has been the DRM’s impact on the modding capabilities, which has been a significant aspect of the game’s long-standing appeal to many players.
Understanding Enigma Protector
Enigma Protector stands as a robust third-party software package designed explicitly to shield executable files from unauthorized access and modifications. It serves as a barrier against hacking, analysis, modification, and disassembly. In the case of Capcom’s games, its role is to prevent the creation and application of mods, a vital part of the gaming experience for many enthusiasts.
Capcom’s View on Mods
Capcom’s recent statements and actions reflect a growing concern about mods. Last October, the developers behind Capcom’s RE Engine – which powers games like Street Fighter 6, Monster Hunter Rise, and various Resident Evil titles – voiced their worries about mods leading to “reputational damage” and an increased demand on customer support resources.
In a detailed discussion presented in a YouTube video, Capcom’s developers elaborated on the challenges posed by mods. They pointed out the potential harm to a game’s image when unauthorized mods that contradict public morals and order are released. Furthermore, mods can be mistakenly perceived as official updates or features, leading to confusion and adverse publicity.
Notable Incidents and Public Reactions
Capcom’s concerns are not unfounded, as demonstrated by a few incidents that have brought the company under the spotlight. One such event involved an unofficial mod in a Street Fighter 6 tournament, where a mod featuring a nude Chun-Li was streamed on Twitch, causing widespread controversy. Ahead of Street Fighter 6’s launch, Capcom had already issued a warning against using modified versions of the game’s closed beta, highlighting the potential consequences for tournament eligibility.
In another incident, Capcom reportedly targeted videos from a Monster Hunter speedrunning group on YouTube, which showcased modded versions of the Monster Hunter Rise expansion, Sunbreak. The Team Darkside YouTube channel reported that Capcom’s legal team was actively removing videos featuring any mods, leading to copyright strikes and even channel deletions in some cases.
The Modding Culture in Capcom’s Games
Modding has always been a significant part of the experience for many of Capcom’s PC games. Players have used mods to personalize and enhance their gaming experience, ranging from creating alternative character costumes to adding unique graphical enhancements. In games like Monster Hunter Rise, mods have even introduced new gameplay elements and robust cheat codes. This customization is a testament to the creativity and engagement of the gaming community, but it now stands at odds with Capcom’s new policy.
The Growing Use of Enigma Protector
The backlash hasn’t deterred Capcom’s resolve to use Enigma Protector in its PC game titles. Reports from the Steam user community indicate that at least eight Capcom games have been updated to include this DRM software. An unofficial list of these titles includes prominent games such as Resident Evil 5, Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection, and various entries in the Mega Man Legacy Collection.
Capcom’s Multi-Pronged Anti-Piracy Approach
Capcom’s decision to implement Enigma Protector is one aspect of its multi-faceted strategy to combat piracy. In addition to Enigma, Capcom has also been using another DRM tool, Denuvo, in its newer releases like Resident Evil Village and Street Fighter 6. These DRM tools are meant to safeguard their games from unauthorized copying and distribution, but they also significantly impact modding, which has been a grey area in terms of legality and ethics in the gaming world.
The Future of Modding in Capcom Games
The growing concern and debate over modding in Capcom games raise questions about the future of this practice. Mods have long been a part of the PC gaming culture, offering players a way to add longevity, diversity, and personalization to their gaming experiences. However, with Capcom’s stringent anti-modding stance, the future of this community-driven aspect of gaming remains uncertain.
The issue of DRM in Capcom’s legacy games on Steam is a complex one, intertwining the interests of the publisher, the rights of modders, and the broader gaming community’s expectations. As the debate continues, it will be interesting to see how Capcom navigates this challenging landscape, balancing the need to protect its intellectual property with the desires of its loyal fanbase who have long supported and enriched their games through modding.