Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney has confirmed that the Epic Games Store does not share user data with Tencent or other companies. The suspicions regarding sharing of user data emerged after Redditors dug into the terms of service of recently launched Epic Games Store which suggested that simply creating an Epic Games Store account opened users up to an unprecedented level of surveillance. Aside from developing PUBG Mobile, Chinese company Tencent has a minority stake in Epic in addition to other companies like Activision and Riot Games. However, Sweeney stated that user data from the Epic Games Store does not find its way to other companies for purposes like advertising.
“Re: Epic Games Store: Epic does not share user data with Tencent or any other company,” a Reddit post from Sweeney reads. “We don’t share it, sell it, or broker access to it for advertising like so many other companies do. I’m the founder and controlling shareholder of Epic and would never allow this to happen.”
Sweeney then goes on to clarify why the Epic Games Store terms of service appear to be more invasive than they actually are.
“The language related to sharing data with the parent companies refers to Epic Games Inc,” the post continues. “It’s a US-based company. This language exists because when you buy an Epic game in certain territories (like Europe), the seller of record is our local (e.g. European) subsidiary company for tax purposes, but the data is ultimately stored by Epic Games Inc.”
The statement goes even further, with Sweeney explaining Tencent’s stake in Epic Games and how that impacts its operations, which appears to be negligible.
“Tencent is not a parent company of Epic,” his post reads. “Tencent is an independent company that’s a minority investor in Epic, alongside many others. However they do not have any sort of access to our customer data. The other language around data in the EULA generally exists to cover the cases where we use third party service providers as part of operating our online services. For example, our game servers and databases are hosted on Amazon Web Services. However these third parties do not have the right to use or access Epic customer data in any way except for providing that service.”
It will be interesting to see if Sweeney’s words calm fears around data privacy, which has been a hot-button topic of late amidst the numerous reports regarding Facebook’s data sharing policies. And while developers may praise Epic’s generous revenue sharing policies, the Epic Games Store lacks some key features that make Steam the de facto choice for many such as regional pricing, a solid refund policy, and proper after-sales support. Hopefully these alongside a big picture mode make their way to the Epic Games Store sooner rather than later.