Video games pirates can celebrate today because CODEX cracking group defeated Microsoft’s Universal Windows Platform system on Zoo Tycoon Ultimate Animal Collection. The game isn’t exactly a fan favorite but it was reportedly protected by five layers of DRM within the UWP package, including the Denuvo-like Arxan anti-tamper technology.

Windows UWP

Several layers bypassed (5!)

The CODEX group says it’s important that the game isn’t allowed to communicate with the Internet so the group advises users to block the game’s executable in their firewall. While that’s not a particularly unusual instruction, CODEX did reveal that various layers of protection had to be bypassed to make the game work. They’re listed by the group as MSStore, UWP, EAppX, XBLive, and Arxan, the latter being an anti-tamper system.

Arxan features “It’s the equivalent of Denuvo (without the DRM License part),” cracker Voksi previously explained. “It still bloats the executable with useless virtual machines that only slow down your game.”

Arxan’s marketing comes off as extremely confident but may need amending in light of yesterday’s developments. “Arxan uses code protection against reverse-engineering, key and data protection to secure servers and fortification of game logic to stop the bad guys from tampering. Sorry hackers, game over,” the company’s marketing reads. What is unclear at this stage is whether Zoo Tycoon Ultimate Animal Collection represents a typical UWP release or if some particular flaw allowed CODEX to take it apart. The possibility of additional releases is certainly a tantalizing one for pirates but how long they will have to wait is unknown.

My comment

Instead of wasting millions of dollars for an anti-cracking mechanism and to make the game (because of that) even more expensive, how about making the game DRM free and lower the price so that people don’t need to crack it in the first place? Right because marketing and advertising is a powerful instrument to sell even more games right?! There was no cracking protection which was not cracked within 1 year and Microsoft, Ubisoft and Co. should give up on it because it doesn’t make any sense to introduce something which gets cracked anyway, people getting only angry because of the ridiculous system requirements and the slowdowns because of the DRM systems.

CRacking works because people are motivated enough and only the sky is the limit, no matter if you add 1 or 20 layers as security it’s a matter of time, if people are willing to crack something they team-up and share their resources and knowledge which means you can’t ‘fight’ them because it’s you VS. the rest of the world which might want to get the game without DRM-crap.