Sonic Mania is now on Steam after a two-week delay, but those who waited find it comes with a catch: The PC version comes with Denuvo, an unpopular anti-piracy software that surprised players with its inclusion.
Complaints about Denuvo cropped up on Sonic Mania’s Steam community forum shortly after launch. Sega failed to note on the game’s store page that Mania came with the digital rights management service built in, so when buyers found it included in the game, they felt duped.
“Nice job Sega,” one Sonic fan wrote in a thread about the DRM. “You just shot yourselves in the foot by turning away customers who don't want anything to do with Denuvo, and you have absolutely nothing to show for it. DRM doesn't work. If anything, it has the opposite effect to what it's supposed to accomplish.”
Denuvo has gained particular notoriety for being difficult to remove from a computer, even after the attached game or software is uninstalled. It becomes a point of pride for modders to “crack” the protection once it’s found in a game and remove all remnants of it from the software files.
But Denuvo can also cause gameplay issues, as seems to be the case with Sonic Mania. Not only did Sega not market the PC version as having DRM, but players found that the game only worked when their computers were connected to the internet. Sonic Mania on PC wouldn’t work while in offline mode, which players blamed on the anti-tamper software.
Sega addressed the issues on Sonic Mania’s Steam page, with a developer writing that the game “is intended to be played offline and we’re investigating reports on that.”
The publisher later posted a longer note to players on Facebook.
“We’ve found the problem within the game code that was stopping people playing offline and it’s been corrected by the dev team,” the post reads. “The fix is now being tested by SEGA QA to ensure it is working properly and we’ll let you know when it will be implemented via our social channels ASAP. We’ve looked into the DRM complaints and can confirm this was not the cause of the problem.”
The update that makes Sonic Mania playable offline is now live on PC. Denuvo, however, remains a part of the PC version. Those who aren’t happy with the DRM have been advised to complain to Sega directly, but we wouldn’t be shocked if the software was cracked sooner than later.