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News video games 15 March 2019, 21:23

author: Jacob Blazewicz

Epic Games Denies Accusations of Using Steam Data

Another day, another Epic Games Store controversy. The online community believes that the platform downloads sensitive user data from Steam files, including friend lists and stats on the games they have played. Epic Games denied the accusations.

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Epic Games takes flak from the gaming community. Again.

The Epic Games Store has caused a lot of controversies since it debuted at the end of last year. Recently, the platform has lost some respect in the eyes of users, among other things due to the controversy around the application itself. Recent discoveries are unlikely to help the company improve its image. Reddit and Resetera users claim that the Epic app downloads data from the Steam folder of the games we play (including saved games) and friend lists, even if we did not agree to downloading the friend list from Steam. What's more, the process probably starts when you install the app and retrieves the said data into its own folder, even if you never log in to the store.

It's easy to guess that users weren't thrilled with this information, especially as Epic Games Store collects information from Steam by bypassing the application itself, which many found suspicious. However, before the scandal broke out for good, Epic Games referred to the whole issue. The first one to comment was Daniel Vogel, Technical Vice President, who said that data downloaded by EGS is not being sent to the company. The process itself is to be used, among other things, in connection with Support-a-Creator and when importing the friend list from Steam. In the latter case, the platform sends only user IDs. What's more, although the application actually starts scanning for active processes, it is only meant to prevent the update of the running program from suddenly starting. This, however, did not reassure Internet users, especially since some of them claim that EGS does not use these files at all when copying the friend lists (this function requires direct authorization on Steam via a web browser).

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Tim Sweeney takes responsibility for the recent affair.

Soon no one else than Tim Sweeney joined the discussion. The president of Epic Games has admitted that an application should not download data from Steam if the user did not agree to import their friend list. According to Sweeney, the process is a remnant of the "hasty implementation of social functions" in the first days of Fortnite's existence, forced on the programmers by Sweeney himself. He, therefore, took full responsibility for the turmoil and added that the company would rectify the issue in the near future. He also explained that the decision not to use direct access to Steam is the result of a minimal reliance on third-party applications, which could result in them downloading "more data than expected".

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Successive scandals over privacy in the Internet have severely damaged trust in even the most popular websites.

Even if we take Sweeney's assurances at face value, the affair leaves a bad taste. It's hardly surprising that the players are reluctant to see companies downloading their more or less sensitive data, especially after the recent scandals surrounding Facebook and Google, not to mention the January reports of the potentially greatest leak in history. In addition, the Epic Games Store is not helped by recent discoveries about the security (or rather the lack of security) of Epic user accounts.

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