Not long ago, marketing software Red Shell was discovered in The Elder Scrolls Online. This software, which tracks a player’s “fingerprints” and sends data back to game publishers for marketing purposes, has been called spyware by the gaming community. Finding it baked into several PC games has caused massive outcry in official forums and other communication channels across the Internet. In response to the backlash, several companies have removed the software from their games, and Red Shell has been releasing statements challenging the spyware accusation.
The list of games that have removed the software include The Elder Scrolls Online, Conan Exiles, Hunt: Showdown, Battlerite, Secret World Legends, Total War, and Warhammer: Vermintide. The total list has hit 16 as of yesterday, and that number will likely continue to grow.
Red Shell responded to a request for comment by Kotaku, stating, “We are disappointed.” The company claims that it doesn’t sell data to third parties, nor is the data used for ad targeting. The ostensible purpose is to send data back to game publishers, to track effectiveness of advertisements already in use. Red Shell also added that its software doesn’t run when games aren’t open, and that only the bare minimum data needed for “attribution” is collected.