Ubisoft Denies Assassin’s Creed Origin’s DRM Is Slamming Your CPU

Ubisoft Denies Assassin’s Creed Origin’s DRM Is Slamming Your CPU

Since the release of Assassin’s Creed Origins on PC, some users have been complaining that the game’s CPU usage has been immense, sometimes pushing 90-100%. That’s not normal, and it’s led to accusations that the game’s new DRM is the culprit.

Voksi, a member of the Revolt team of game crackers, told TorrentFreak earlier this week that he believes the slowdown is due to Ubisoft using two forms of DRM on the game: Denuvo, which has been having some problems of late, with VMProtect layered over the top.

“Basically, Ubisoft have implemented VMProtect on top of Denuvo, tanking the game’s performance by 30-40%, demanding that people have a more expensive CPU to play the game properly, only because of the DRM. It’s anti-consumer and a disgusting move”, he says.

“It seems that Ubisoft decided that Denuvo is not enough to stop pirates in the crucial first days [after release] anymore, so they have implemented an iteration of VMProtect over it”, Voksi adds.

“This is great if you are looking to save your game from those pirates, because this layer of VMProtect will make Denuvo a lot more harder to trace and keygen than without it. But if you are a legit customer, well, it’s not that great for you since this combo could tank your performance by a lot, especially if you are using a low-mid range CPU. That’s why we are seeing 100% CPU usage on 4 core CPUs right now for example.”

Those are strong allegations that Ubisoft denies, issuing a statement that reads:

We’re confirming that the anti-tamper solutions implemented in the Windows PC version of Assassin’s Creed Origins have no perceptible effect on game performance.

In order to recreate a living, systemic and majestic open world of Ancient Egypt, where players can witness all of its stunning details, its beautiful landscapes & incredible cities, in a completely seamless way with no loading screens, Assassin’s Creed Origins uses the full extent of the minimum and recommended PC system requirements here: while ensuring a steady 30 FPS performance.

“No perceptible effect” is of course a very loose term, one that’s open to interpretation. The statement also appears to be simply saying, hey, it’s not the DRM causing any issues, it’s just the game itself.

For what it’s worth, here’s the performance I’m getting in the game…

Ubisoft Denies Assassin’s Creed Origin’s DRM Is Slamming Your CPU

…while my CPU usage looks like this:

Ubisoft Denies Assassin’s Creed Origin’s DRM Is Slamming Your CPU

A 1.1GB patch for the game was released earlier today, though it doesn’t make any specific mention of this issue, nor has it made any difference to my own CPU usage.


  • The only way to know for sure I guess is to run the game with and without the DRM, something that won’t be possible until the DRM is cracked (which shouldn’t take long).

    • Unfortunately, that’s not the case with Denuvo. Denuvo’s hooks are deep enough (especially with VMProtect over the top to obfuscate debugging) that you can’t just rip it out. What the pirates do is detour the Denuvo calls so it always gets the responses it expects, in effect rendering it inert, screaming into the void. It’s still running though.

  • while I know they want to protect their image…. DRM is encryption… its fairly well known and to decrypt the game takes CPU cycles…
    denuvo in Just Cause 3 decrypts when the game starts… denuvo might have changed since then and obviously has because of the extra layer VMprotect

  • Reading some other articles, it sounds like VMProtect alone could be responsible for tanking the performance. Just read the description from it’s creator:


    I wouldn’t be surprised if the random conditional jumps play havoc with the CPU’s branch prediction. It also relies on translating parts of the executable into alternative custom CPU instruction sets and running them on virtual machines. I suspect this kills any optimisation the original compiler performed on the underlying code too.

  • It’s easy for Ubisoft to claim such a thing when no one will ever know the difference because they will never remove that crap from the game. “Oh, we totally promise you”. Yeah, right.

  • Don’t these games both run fine on console? There is no way you can have a legitimate claim to using 100% of a modern CPU when the console versions run fine with a fraction of that power.

    The only difference between the two would be the DRM.

  • We can probably add on top of Denuvo and VMProtect there is an underlying coding trainwreck as optimization is non-existent as these devs are purely console-centric and PC gamers are just an afterthought to grab extra cash.

    These Devs suffer from severe cases of Consolitis, and they rush and poorly code the PC ports (A.K.A. Lazy console Ports), usually by outsourcing to a cheap foreign company that knows nothing about PC and mucks it up really bad. Then add Denuvo, then add VMProtect and I am surprised that GPU and RAM aren’t throttling 100% too.

    Just the fact that they say in their statement about “A steady 30FPS” clearly shows they are only in for the console peasants!

    Ubisoft, EA, Bethesda, SEGA, Square Enix and Koei Tecmo are prime examples of devs that make games for the console, then poorly port (or outsource it to be poorly ported) to PC and slam it with the harshest, most intrusive anti-consumer DRM they can get their hands on to boot. They screw over PC gamers with an inferior copy, add rootkits and malware to it, and accuse every PC gamer of being a thief too.

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