This week's corners The Internet games section has been dealing with some self-portrayed "amateur analysis", suggesting some "rather sketchy", spy-like activity from the Epic Game Store and its launcher software. Epic has now resisted these allegations and acknowledges that it is an "outdated implementation" that could allow unauthorized access to local Steam information.
The Reddit post "Epic Game Store, Spyware, Tracking and You!" points to a wide range of implications based on some extensive data and network access observations when the Epic Game Store is running. However, Swiss Post is mainly focused on connecting Epic with Chinese gaming giant Tencent, which owns a stake in the company.
"Tencent is a significant but minority shareholder of Epic," co-founder and CEO Tim Sweeney wrote about the conspiracy theory in a reddit thread. "I'm the controlling shareholder of Epic … The decisions Epic makes are ultimately the decisions I made here in North Carolina, based on my beliefs as a game developer, what the gaming industry needs!"
Sweeney offered a similar defense from Epic's relationship with Tencent in December, when similar concerns emerged for the first time. "Epic does not share user data with Tencent or any other company," he wrote at the time. "We do not share it, we do not sell it or give it for promotional purposes, as is the case with many other companies ̵
"Epic is controlled by Tim Sweeney, added Daniel Vogel, Vice President of Engineering at Epic, in response to another thread," We have many external shareholders, none of whom have access to customer information. "
Vogel went on to provide explanations for some other suspicious-looking activities of the App Epic Games Store app. For example, a tracking.js file is used to track the revenue share statistics of the Epic Support a Creator program, he wrote. Vogel also referred to the open source code behind features like the anonymized hardware survey, the Unreal Editor, and the Chromium-based Launcher interface, which he said was causing most of what the original one did Post called "sketchy" app activity.
Vogel admits, however, that "the launcher automatically creates an encrypted local copy of your localconfig.vdf Steam file without explicit user permission." However, he writes that the hash file will only be sent to Epic when you import your Steam friends into the Epic Game Store to find potential matches with others who have chosen to do so.
However, Sweeney acknowledged that Epic is being made locally Accessing Steam files without direct permission can quite rightly mislead some users. "You're right that we should only access the localconfig.vdf file after the user imports Steam Friends," he wrote about Reddit. "The current implementation is a throwback to our hurry to implement social features in the early days of Fortnite (19459017). It's actually my fault that the Launcher team was urged to support it very quickly and then Find out we had to do that Change that. With this problem in the foreground, we'll fix it. "
" This kind of independent analysis on which data software accesses … is a healthy trend, and I would like to see that it has done more, "wrote Sweeney in another commentary. "When analyzing the results, it is important to distinguish the normal from the abnormal … and to separate the technical analysis from the inflammatory rhetoric, such as the lunatics, we are a bunch of Chinese spies."