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Developing: Epic Games Launcher appears to collect your steam friends & play history (Up2: Valve responds, See Threadmarks)

Feb 20, 2018
8
Anyone who wants to see what copies of "encrypted" steam data is in the socialbackups folder can run the following in powershell:


Code:
Get-Item "C:\ProgramData\Epic\SocialBackup\*.bak" | % { ([system.Text.Encoding]::UTF8).GetString(($_ | Get-Content -Encoding Byte | % { [byte]($_ -bxor 0xff) })) | Set-Content ($_.FullName + ".txt") }
This will create unencrpyted versions in the same folder as the BAK files:

C:\ProgramData\Epic\SocialBackup\


Nice to see Epic encrypting a copy of a file that includes DOB... without informing me





I'm already not planning on ever purchasing another thing from Epic because their account system security is a joke (account got hijacked even with 2-step authentication on, with seperate unique passwords for my Epic and Gmail account)

This might just push me to get rid of the Epic Launcher entirely from my computer; I only kept it because I pop on fornite co-op every few months to see of the changes...
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,329
On Windows there is AppContainer which is what UWP apps use.
I think docker works on Windows too.

If not, then W10 has its own sandboxing tool, and you can also do a kind of sandbox by running progams under a different user with different permissions, like how itch.io Sandboxes things on Windows. (Itch uses firejail on Linux)

I would prefer we don't get to a point where everything needs to be encrypted or run in separate sandboxes. I miss the days of only weird untrustworthy .exe's and spyware being the things people needed to worry about. Not a fucking game client from a large multinational.
ok.

I think since we have bad actors (Epic) in play, Steam should probably be sandboxing itself if at all possible. Not sure how inconvenient that will be, but that's clearly where software is going in general.
 
Oct 25, 2017
4,234
ok.

I think since we have bad actors (Epic) in play, Steam should probably be sandboxing itself if at all possible. Not sure how inconvenient that will be, but that's clearly where software is going in general.
The inherent problem with sandboxes is that it then be ones a nightmare to interact with anything outside the box. Steam has some rather broad functionality and it needs to interact with a lot of things outside of its direct purview.
 
This is the most laughable comment I have seen by Tim Sweeney yet...

https://www.reddit.com/r/pcgaming/comments/b1fre2/comment/eimee9b

Yes, and the PC remains open, and there is more robust competition among PC stores than ever before. There's Steam offering Valve games, Origin offering EA games, Battle.net offering Activision and Bungie games, Epic Games offering games from many publishers.

I get that you guys don't like store-exclusive games, but that's a completely separate, and PROCOMPETITIVE issue, compared to closing down platforms like Windows to monopolize distribution, as iOS does, and as Microsoft was trying to do with UWP and locked-down versions of Windows -- which failed, and whose proponents are now gone and replaced with great leaders like Satya Nadella and Phil Spencer who are driving Windows forward as an open platform!
This is my first time seeing this comment so forgive me if I am late on this but my goodness me, what a complete lack of self-awareness (best case) or complete showing of pure arrogance (worst case)

Also, the bolded part made me legitimately laugh.
 
Nov 10, 2017
1,367
Yeah, it's not just because of lack of journalistic training. That one I will attribute to Sterling (plus just natural desire on his part to stir the pot I am sure).
Also he probably wanted to focus on one subject in that video, not a big network of them. He's fallen ill with asthma and bronchitis shortly after the video so if he's planning to cover Epic's bullshit that'll take a few days.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,648
This is the most laughable comment I have seen by Tim Sweeney yet...

https://www.reddit.com/r/pcgaming/comments/b1fre2/comment/eimee9b



This is my first time seeing this comment so forgive me if I am late on this but my goodness me, what a complete lack of self-awareness (best case) or complete showing of pure arrogance (worst case)

Also, the bolded part made me legitimately laugh.
It's a weird answer. He's not completely wrong, but he does not really elobarate on the procompetitive part, he does not acknowledge the impact their decisions have for customers other then "I get that you don't like it" and he says that "Steam sells Valve games" which is a ridiculous agenda driven way of describing Steam.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,638
Please cite any sales data showing that games on EGS are selling well or even at all.
Epic isn't closing their store because of this "controversy"... That's like the height of bubblethink.

They didn't launch the store only to close it if things don't sell well in the first few months. That's not how businesses with all the money in the world think. So sales data is irrelevant. They're not closing LOL.
 
Oct 25, 2017
874
Tel Aviv
This isn't a big deal to anyone other than people angry about epic exclusives and being vocal on game forums. It's not a big deal and EGS thankfully isn't going anyhwere
I don't think Epic or the EGS is going anywhere. I do think this is a medium deal with a potential to be a big deal. Frankly, I just don't get why Epic would go down this road just to get your friend list, considering I can't think of another program who would do something like that. Even Valve seem to find it a shady way to do that. If a program started going through my Facebook cookies to get legit info rather than use the API, I think it would raise some very understandable flags.
Right now I do give Epic the benefit of the doubt that they're not sending themselves the file, but I'm very wary of trusting big corporations with anything regarding data and privacy, especially since they have a very clear interest to collect this sort of data. Either way, I think they should, at the very least, ask me for permission and a way to opt-out before even attempting to access the file.

I don't like the Epic Store - I'm not crazy about exclusivity deals, but I'm more concerned about the idea of such a heavily closed-down store, to which only big and successful indies get an invite (I don't blame them, being a "successful indie" is not that luxurious and the market is not easy ATM - But I don't think making it harder for smaller guys to gain success is the way to solve these issues.) But even if I did like the EGS, I'd still be reasonably concerned over what seems to be happening here.
 
Oct 25, 2017
213
They didn't launch the store only to close it if things don't sell well in the first few months. That's not how businesses with all the money in the world think. So sales data is irrelevant. They're not closing LOL.
It's unlikely that Epic will close it's shop soon™.
Otherwise it's Epic we're talking about. The same company that already ragequitted the PC market 10 years ago and blamed the PC players for beeing not worthy.
 
This isn't a big deal to anyone other than people angry about epic exclusives and being vocal on game forums. It's not a big deal and EGS thankfully isn't going anyhwere
Why is EGS a good thing? Can you give me a list of reasons as to how it benefits the consumer in its current state? (Since you say that it’s “thankfully” going nowhere)

Here are some reasons why it doesn't benefit the consumer...

1. Inability to purchase keys from third party sellers, therefore decreasing overall competition in the long run and removing choice from consumer purchases and allowing Epic to set the price (which has actually been increased in every case so far) and possibly even harming developers long run because of the push back from consumers.

2. As above, Epic forcing consumers to use their store for moneyhatted exclusives which has no benefit whatsoever to the end user and only benefits Epic.

3. A lack of features on their store (no user reviews) which has a direct negative impact on the end user experience when they are forced to use Epic store.

Like with Phoenix Point, where them moneyhatting has resulted in Linux users losing the ability to run the game for the first year despite it being promised to them before Epic threw wads of cash at the developer, should that make people thankful for having EGS?

4. Private Data storing without user permission also seems pretty anti-consumer to me.

Also, I want to add, Tim said that Steam also have the right to buy exclusives from developers, which is true but they never have, why is that? Is it because Valve believe in choice for the consumer? They have had plenty of opportunities to do what Epic are doing but have never resorted to it...

I will quote what someone said on reddit to Tim

“You are talking about things that are good for you and/or game developers.

And you are forgetting that we are neither.

We are the people who are supposed to be your customers and possibly benefit from all those great partnerships, but as customer we have no benefits, whatsoever, to using your store. Or your horrible "launcher". Or to have "exclusives".

But, indeed, market should in the end sort this all out. Good luck.”

So yeah, I guess the market will tell us how big of a deal it is to people, I don’t see how you can be thankful for having EGS though, unless of course you can give me some evidence based reasons as to why it benefits the PC market and more specifically, consumers?
 
Oct 26, 2017
5,805
Epic isn't closing their store because of this "controversy"... That's like the height of bubblethink.

They didn't launch the store only to close it if things don't sell well in the first few months. That's not how businesses with all the money in the world think. So sales data is irrelevant. They're not closing LOL.
I don't want them to close their store. I just want them to stop engaging in anti-consumer and anti-competitive business.
 
Epic isn't closing their store because of this "controversy"... That's like the height of bubblethink.

They didn't launch the store only to close it if things don't sell well in the first few months. That's not how businesses with all the money in the world think. So sales data is irrelevant. They're not closing LOL.
You do realize that this kind of blatant violation of privacy can hit them in the behind if EU decides to make an example out of this? We are talking about up to 4% of global revenue in fines or 20 million euros whichever is BIGGER. That hurts any company a lot, regardless of how much money they have.
 
Oct 27, 2017
363
Anyone who wants to see what copies of "encrypted" steam data is in the socialbackups folder can run the following in powershell:


Code:
Get-Item "C:\ProgramData\Epic\SocialBackup\*.bak" | % { ([system.Text.Encoding]::UTF8).GetString(($_ | Get-Content -Encoding Byte | % { [byte]($_ -bxor 0xff) })) | Set-Content ($_.FullName + ".txt") }
This will create unencrpyted versions in the same folder as the BAK files:

C:\ProgramData\Epic\SocialBackup\


Nice to see Epic encrypting a copy of a file that includes DOB... without informing me





I'm already not planning on ever purchasing another thing from Epic because their account system security is a joke (account got hijacked even with 2-step authentication on, with seperate unique passwords for my Epic and Gmail account)

This might just push me to get rid of the Epic Launcher entirely from my computer; I only kept it because I pop on fornite co-op every few months to see of the changes...
Security isn't Epic's strong suit. Their lack of security practices were critical to all of the Xbox One/PS4 leaks. Not sure what people are expecting out of them.
They only look at security as a reactionary/incident response standpoint. When you don't bake in security, that practice makes it really difficult to develop a solid secure product.
My opinion is based on my work and my analysis of the industry. I work in security compliance and product security field, and I have reviewed Epic's job postings and company structure.
 
Uninstalled EGS last night, when I got home after being abroad. Was reading this thread for the last few days and sure, I'll miss my free copy of Subnautica but ...... who am I kidding, I can always buy Subnautica on Steam when I am ready again to play it.
 
Oct 26, 2017
5,038
Microsoft: Asks you to upload DxDiag, shows you exactly what informations they parsed before submitting.

Asks you to link your Steam profile, uses Steam API to do it.

Tim Sweeney:

 
Oct 25, 2017
5,828
FR
Okay, I must’ve missed this news when it broke, but the SteamSpy guy was working for Epic the whole time? Damn that’s shady.
Yeah. He's still getting quite a bit of patreon money for it (even though it's a lot more inaccurate now), working on the epic store (and defending weird decisions), and he's the one that got those weirdly specific stats about fortnite users' usage of steam.