DRM Encryption is Destroying Forza Horizon 3

getphoto-ashxLet’s talk about piracy. Technology has advanced to the point where basically any electronic product can be obtained at no cost to the end user through a relatively simple process, so naturally your average person will take advantage of this in order to save themselves money. While it’s virtually impossible to prove just how much piracy affects the financial side of a given entertainment company – and sometimes this rationale of “lost sales” can be hilarious exploited – businesses across multiple mediums of media have obviously fought back against the wave of renegade consumers who don’t intend to pay for what’s been built. Intrusive DRM programs like Starforcewhich bricked Windows 7 installs – were created during a time when ToCA Race Driver 3 was a $60 release to combat the popularity of uTorrent, GameCopyWorld, and ThePirateBay, while Croteam opted to include an invincible enemy within Serious Sam 3’s campaign mode purely to fuck with teenagers who “borrowed” the game “from a friend.”

Yet regardless of how creative each measure has been in combating piracy, there will always be pirates, and there will always be ingenious PC users who are bored enough to find a workaround. Unfortunately, in their efforts to prevent hardcore driving game fans who were short on funds from illegally obtaining a copy of the brand new open world racing game Forza Horizon 3, Turn 10 Studios broke their own product for legitimate users. There have been a steady stream of complaints regarding the game’s performance on Windows-based operating systems, but now we finally know why.

fh-3-efsAccording to a post on the official Forza Motorsport subreddit, a user by the name of dkhavilo discovered that his CPU performance was being heavily consumed by something called EFS while playing the VIP Access version of Forza Horizon 3. EFS, otherwise known as Encrypting File System, manually forces Forza Horizon 3 to constantly de-crypt relevant files during normal gameplay – a mammoth task for a driving game based around exploring an open world environment at breakneck speeds. The game is simply too big and too complicated for the DRM software to keep up, even on platforms featuring a Solid State Drive compared to the traditional Hard Drive storage systems, and as a result Forza Horizon 3 runs like shit for all but the most ridiculously powerful home computers. And unlike Microsoft Flight Simulator X back in 2006, which was notorious for high system requirements due to huge leaps in graphical fidelity and the complexity of the flight model, Forza Horizon 3 as an application is perfectly capable of running on modern computers. I mean, it’s not like the Xbox One version of the game runs poorly, and the hardware powering Microsoft’s latest console isn’t exactly groundbreaking by any means – it’s actually outdated by three years.

However, the PC version has basically been crippled by a DRM system so intrusive, it’s bottle-necking the CPU and causing massive framerate problems for all but a handful of users. It will definitely be interesting to see how Turn 10 rectify this problem, as the DRM functionality is basically built into how the game interprets its own data files. You can check out the full Reddit thread on the subject HERE; it’s certainly not pretty.



14 thoughts on “DRM Encryption is Destroying Forza Horizon 3

      1. In my experience, not as much, but Apex has had several engine updates that improved the overall performance.
        Horizon 3 is also a lot more taxing in terms of GPU usage: my humble GTX 880M was able to coast over Apex in 1080p/High yet Horizon 3 only works fine in 900p/low. And yes, my CPU usage is high but the GPU runs at 100% continuously so I know the subject of this reddit repost of an article isn’t the issue, at least on my machine.

        I’ve never experienced the stuttering described my most people with potent GPUs, only the frame pacing/tearing issues Apex had on its initial release on Optimus laptops and that, back then, forced me to run 900p/low to avoid getting headaches of another world. This has been fixed since so there’s hope Playground will get their shit together.

        But while the game is very good, this PC launch is truly pitiful. They didn’t learn anything from Apex: wheel support doesn’t work for the G27, DLCs aren’t working (no VIP status, no additional cars), dynamic settings don’t work as well as in Apex (if you want to change a single setting, you go back to non-dynamic, as it was in the original Apex release AFAIK), frame pacing issues are back and a bit more.


  1. So much for the breath of fresh air that was going to be Forza on the PC. I’m laughing at all the retards who trusted Microsoft enough to waste over 100€/$ on this garbage. Even the fact that the PC version didn’t get the demo, contrary to Microsoft’s supposed new philosophy of platform parity, wasn’t enough to sound the alarms for these people, who were too busy shilling the game for free everywhere before release.


  2. Sounds like your typical bullshit theory from a redditor who thinks just because something appears to make sense (“decryption causes high CPU usage!!”) makes it true.


  3. EFS, as you linked it, is Windows’ built-in encryption for NTFS drives. Did you or the redditor who complained about it even read the Wikipedia article – or the TechNet pages about it?

    On another note, that’s probably a downer for those damn car rippers. Heh heh.


    1. No they didn’t because it’s the dumbest shit I’ve ever read on here.

      Cpu use is higher than other racing games because it’s dx12 and open world. The decryption is done on launch not constantly as well.

      Cpu use on a 4.8ghz 5820k never went above 42% while I was playing and averaged around 30. The spike to 42 was steam starting updates on 4 games.

      Horizon 3 is an open world game that moves very fast based on 4k native assets. Unless you are playing on a good cpu, gpu and if possible have an SSD something has to give. It’s also running a physics engine at 300hz for everything around.

      It all comes down to specs. People wanted games to look better, people wanted games with native 4k assets…well you now have a couple but that means your pc that runs other stuff great just might not be up to snuff. Performance scales up big the more cores and threads you have which means i5 users need not apply.


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