It’s not a secret that gamers really, really hate some of the additional software that comes with the games they play. A lot of this software is intended, at least as far as developers admit, to track a number of activities, such as cheating and actions that might go against a company’s terms of service.
Players, on the other hand, tend to see this software, at minimum, as bloat-ware that needlessly eats away at their processing power and memory. At the worst, they might believe it to be the game company spying on them.
This is doubly true if the game in question has any ties to specific companies, such as China’s Tencent.
So, it probably shouldn’t be surprising that gamers poking around the back end of the Epic Games Launcher have decided that Epic is purposefully spying on players at the behest of Tencent, who they then believe is feeding their personal information right to the Chinese government.
One player posted his findings on the Phoenix Point subreddit, noting the client was accessing DLL files, reading root certificates, and accessing keys associated with their browser.
Of course, it didn’t take Epic long to respond to the Reddit thread, offering information on what some of these behind-the-scenes activities are doing.
According to the reply by Epic’s VP of Engineering, Daniel Vogel, the company uses a tracking pixel to track and pay creators in the Support-A-Creator program.
Root certificate and cookie access is reportedly used by the launcher’s UI to make use of the open source Chromium, causing launcher startup to mimic browser startup.
Another interesting note is that according to the response, the Epic launcher scans active processes to keep games that are running from updating at the wrong time. The post also notes this particular bit of information is not sent to Epic.
Vogel closed out the post by addressing concerns over who is in charge of Epic and who they provide information to.
Epic is controlled by Tim Sweeney. We have lots of external shareholders, none of whom have access to customer data.
Of course, Vogel’s reply doesn’t seem to have calmed all players. In fact, it left some with even more questions.
At present, Epic has provided no other information on the situation.