Epic games, the creators of Fortnite, have has been caught in a bad spotlight this week. A post from Reddit User Notte_m_portent made a post on the PhoenixPoint subreddit detailing on how the company maybe tracking you. The post highlighted a few implications; It highlighted board file and network access traffic information of Epic Games Store.
The post also made an effort to point out Epic Games relationship with Tencent, a chinese gaming conglomerate of owning 48.4 shares of the company.
Epic Caught Red Handed In the Cookie Jar…
CEO and co-founder of the Epic Games, Tim Sweeney, issued a statement to the Reddit Post saying “Tencent is a significant, but minority shareholder in Epic. I’m the controlling shareholder of Epic… The decisions Epic makes are ultimately my decisions, made here in North Carolina based on my beliefs as a game developer about what the game industry needs!”
Epic’s VP of Engineering Daniel Vogel further expressed that “Epic is controlled by Tim Sweeney. We have lots of external shareholders, none of whom have access to customer data.”
Vogel made another statement giving reasons and explanations on the actions made from the Epic Games Store. “A “tracking.js” file, for instance, is used to track revenue-sharing statistics for Epic’s Support-a-Creator program. The launcher makes an encrypted local copy of your localconfig.vdf Steam file. The hashed file is only sent to Epic if you choose to import your Steam friends to the Epic Game Store in order to find potential matches with others that have opted in.”
Epic Apologizes & Future Plans
Sweeney offered an apology acknowledging Epic looking at your Steam files without your permission. He stated, “You guys are right that we ought to only access the localconfig.vdf file after the user chooses to import Steam friends. The current implementation is a remnant left over from our rush to implement social features in the early days of Fortnite. 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.”
Valve’s VP of marketing, Doug Lombardi issued a statement in regard to Epic. He states, “The company is looking into what information the Epic launcher collects from Steam. The Steam Client locally saves data such as the list of games you own, your friends list and saved login tokens (similar to information stored in web browser cookies). This is private user data, stored on the user’s home machine and is not intended to be used by other programs or uploaded to any 3rd party service.”