Borderlands 3’s DRM “shouldn’t impede” players, theoretically

A Gearbox producer says players' concerns about Denuvo and other DRM are valid


When Borderlands 3 comes out September 13, it’ll be a six-month Epic Games Store exclusive and be packaged with Denuvo’s anti-piracy software, a one-two punch that has some PC gamers pretty annoyed. On the DRM issue at least, developer Gearbox is sympathetic to players’ concerns.

“A lot of the criticism people have of DRM – on some level it’s valid,” says producer Chris Brock, who spoke with us at Gamescom this week.

The argument against anti-piracy DRM practices like Denuvo is that they punish players who buy games legitimately, rather than downloading cracked versions, by requiring additional system resources on top of whatever the game requires. That, in theory anyway, results in decreased performance. Over the past several years it’s often been the case that Denuvo’s anti-tamper software has been quickly cracked, and the cracked version of the games’ executable files will quickly make their way to torrent sites once that happens.

That leaves players who paid for the game sitting with a version that, again in theory, runs worse or demands more from their system than the version being used by people who downloaded it for free.

Brock says the performance issue is something Gearbox has taken seriously.

“What we try to do is ensure that this [DRM] should not impede a person,” he said. “We don’t want a situation where a person who pirated the game has an easier time than someone who bought the game legitimately. That’s kind of our litmus test, is that it can’t be in the way.”

It remains to be seen what impact, if any, Denuvo will have on Borderlands 3‘s performance. One thing we do know, though, is that Borderlands 3 doesn’t have loot boxes. It will have loot, and probably boxes, but not loot boxes.