Let’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 Starforce – which 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.
According 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.