Starfield DLSS Mod cracked after creator added digital rights management (DRM), reigniting controversy over paid mods

The controversy over paid mods is back in the spotlight again after a crack was released for a high-profile Starfield DLSS mod.

Modder PureDark, which specializes in creating DLSS3 and DLSS2/FSR2/XeSS mods, has stirred up controversy by restricting access to the more advanced Starfield DLSS3 mod to Patreon backers for $5 per month. The digital rights management (DRM) that mod uses is an authentication tool. According to DSOGaming, the mode does not require an active Patreon membership, so if you opt out, you can still pass the authentication. Additionally, after the first authentication, the device will not require re-authentication.

When Starfield launched in early access form on September 1st, it was confirmed that it did not include support for Nvidia’s widely popular supersampling technology, Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS). The PC version of Starfield officially includes support for only one supersampling technology: AMD’s FidelityFX Supersolution (FSR), specifically the second iteration of FSR. PC Settings also does not support Intel’s Xe Super Sampling (XeSS) technology.

Bethesda drew criticism from PC gamers over the decision, which was believed to be related to AMD and Bethesda’s deal to make the GPU maker the “Exclusive PC Partner of Starfield.” AMD insisted there was nothing stopping Bethesda from adding DLSS support if the developer wanted it.

Which brings us to PureDark’s popular Starfield DLSS2 model, which is devoid of NexusMods, and the more advanced Starfield DLSS3 model, which is locked behind PureDark’s 9,201-member Patreon. DLSS3 is a popular choice among the PC gaming community because it features frame generation as well as upscaling with the latest 40-series Nvidia GPUs for higher quality resolution.

Perhaps it is inevitable that there is now a crack in the model itself, which was apparently created in response to PureDark’s decision to charge money for their work.

The situation has brought to light the issue of paid mods. Some believe modifiers have the right to charge for their work, while others think that doing so goes against the spirit of the modding industry.

Paid mods have had a troubled existence for years. In 2015, the introduction of paid mods at Valve’s Steam Workshop created so much controversy in the modding world and the PC gaming community in general, that after an unfortunate situation involving borrowed assets, a heated AMA session with Valve’s Gabe Newell, and what Valve was referred to as ” Dump Truck for Reviews” by critics, and paid modding software was ready.

PureDark has shown no sign of reversing its decision, despite the crack. Meanwhile, Bethesda and Nvidia have not yet commented on the existence of this modification, which could spark a different kind of controversy within their legal teams.

Starfield won’t properly launch until September 6th, but its Early Access version has proven very popular on Steam and Xbox. If you’re playing, check out the interactive Starfield map on IGN.

Wesley is the UK News Editor for IGN. You can find him on Twitter at @wyp100. You can contact Wesley at or confidentially at

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