Once Human Launch Reviews Blasting The Game's Data Collection Policy, Devs Respond

The team is under fire for both performance issues and what the privacy policy contains.

Michael Byrne
By Michael Byrne, Editor in Chief Posted:
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Once Human Mobile Pre-registration

Last night I spent about 5 hours playing Once Human to get a feel for the game and start collecting information for a potential First Look video on the post-apocalyptic survival game from Starry Studios and NetEase. Yes, I planned to mention the EULA which indicates it collects a LOT of data not normally collected by most games, F2P or otherwise.

It appears I wasn't the only one that had their eyebrow raised by everything the game seemed to be collecting. In addition to all the usual data points software collects, the EULA specifically mentions the collection of government-issued ID data, social media data, and more. These collection points weren't all directly tied to the game itself, either, with the terms citing collection of data from "other sources."

I won't go into the debate of online data, how much you've likely already been compromised, or any of that. You do you and make your own decisions. What I will say here, though, is that the policies detailed led to a cascade of negative reviews for the new title.

Obviously, the reviews aren't ALL about data collection, disappearing startup apps, and other accusations of privacy violations. Some focus on issues that were fixed quickly (only being able to create one character initially), performance of the game, certain beta features being removed and sold back to players (color wheel), and how Once Human poaches off of quite a few other games.

I enjoyed my first few hours in game quite a bit, but that doesn't mean it's a great game. I'm still working up my final opinions.

once_human_discord_screen_1

On the data front, NetEase and Starry Studios had to respond, and they did so via their official Discord. (The post was added to their X account later.) Marunaru posted on behalf of the team, "Once Human takes our users’ data privacy very seriously. We would only use personal data if we have a legitimate legal basis, such as providing requested services or acting with your expressed consent. We will only use your data lawfully and reasonably and in accordance with local legal compliance requirements, while practicing the data privacy principles such as data minimization, purpose limitation, and transparency. We appreciate and welcome any and all feedback given by our players to help us improve."

Community Manager Starrun went into more detail, specifically addressing the "government-issued ID" clause, "For example, we would only collect government-issued IDs for the following reasons: where the local laws require us to do so (such as for a specific promotion), when the identity of a user's parent must be verified to obtain consent for their child (if required by applicable child protection laws), or when the user wishes to correct their age information (again, if such verification is required by law). In any case, the ID information is deleted immediately after we have fulfilled the purpose for collecting the ID information in the first place."

It should be noted that other popular games (from various countries) also have a clause about collecting ID information, but it is usually worded as a "in cases where necessary, we may ask you for..." etc.

once_human_discord_screen_2

They went on to discuss the "other sources" of data and used examples of customer surveys that may go out and ask for details like social media account usernames, addresses, and more. Starrun advises that the surveys would be totally optional so by not completing the survey, Once Human wouldn't collect any additional data. Starrun says that the EULA specifically detailed all the data that COULD be collected at times from all sources, not what it ACTUALLY collected at all times.

The team advises that in an effort to be more transparent, they have updated the privacy policy and will publish a clearer version soon. Do with that what you will.

Now about those two startup apps that my PC can't seem to find now...

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About the Author

Michael Byrne
Michael Byrne, Editor in Chief

Mike “Magicman” Byrne has been a part of the MMOBomb family for years and serves as the site’s current Editor-in-Chief. His love for MMOs and gaming in general has led him to covering games for numerous gaming websites including Gamebreaker TV and XIV Nation where he proudly displays his fanboy flag for FFXIV:ARR.

More Stories by Michael Byrne

Discussion (2)

Flintstone 1 day ago
I ip block and there was loads. I let a few in. :)
The games really cool though and is right on the button intertwined into its crazy plays.
Nice :)

mizphitreign 2 days ago
Might have to make this a DaBomb.
Loving this game so far. Got a ton of secret world vibes in it. Then some. Even the silent head and arm waving when you respond to an npc. Have fallout76 vides with the movable base stuff. Oh, and did I mention the best battle pass clone? Just like fortnite. Got me locked in.


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