Epic Games, the developer behind Fortnite, has come under fire when it was accused of its Epic Games Store spying on players. Some players discovered that the Epic Games Store and its launcher software was doing some dodgy things, like collecting data on players’ Steam friends, play history, and game saves. Epic Games has now responded to the accusations.
In a Reddit post entitled Epic Game Store, Spyware, Tracking, and You!, some of the Epic Games Store spying accusations are set out in detail by a self-entitled “amateur“. The user notes a laundry list of issues, which includes Epic Games collecting Steam data about friends and play history, and gives the Epic Games Store a “final rating of: PRETTY SKETCHY / 10“.
Epic Games founder, Tim Sweeney responded to the Epic Games Store spying accusations by admitting that the current collecting of some data isn’t right and should be updated. He goes on to explain that this data is being collected due to a “remnant left over from our rush to implement social features in the early days of Fortnite“. He claims responsibility for the launcher collecting this data and promised to fix it.
It’s actually my fault for pushing the launcher team to support it super quickly and then identifying that we had to change it. Since this issue came to the forefront we’re going to fix it.
It would be better if our launcher only touched localconfig.vdf after the user chooses to import Steam friends. After this was pointed out today, the Epic Games launcher team is going to work to do it that way instead.
He also refuted accusations that data was being collected on Steam friends without Epic Games having permission, reassuring users that “data other than hashed friend ids (such as Steam library contents) isn’t and has never been parsed or sent to Epic, and hashed friend ids are only sent when choosing to import Steam friends“.
The Epic Games Store first launched in December 2018, and it looks like Epic Games still has major plans for its digital storefront, with Tim Sweeney explaining that
Right now [digital gaming] stores collect 30% of $100 billion of digital game revenue, and we’re pulling out all the stops to bring developers a better deal. That means Fortnite, a free game every two week[s], and lots of exclusives.