No, it’s not a joke. A free game uses the super-expensive Denuvo anti-tamper.
Square Enix has recently released Life is Strange‘s second season’s prequel, called The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit. In the game, you have to play in the imaginary world of a young boy. The game is available now to download on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
The interesting thing in this release, however, is that Square implemented the infamous Denuvo protection to the game, despite the fact that it’s a completely free title that you can play from the beginning to the end. It looks like the publisher doesn’t want players to download a free game…
The only thing that could explain all of this is that maybe Square licensed the Denuvo protection for Life is Strange 2, and because this game acts as a prequel to that game, they don’t have to pay additional money for it… and maybe Denuvo is so deeply injected to the game’s engine that it would require too much effort and time to remove it, so maybe that’s the reason why the protection is in the game. Anyway, it was a very strange decision from Square.