Valve Doesn't Sound Too Happy About The Epic Store Copying Steam Data

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#1 Edited by AnthonyAutumns (1679 posts) -

From PCGamer,

Source according to Resetera

Yesterday, we learned that the Epic Store client was copying a Steam user data file called localconfig.vdf. According to Epic, the client stores a local, encrypted version of the file and does nothing with it unless you opt to import your Steam friends, at which point it sends only hashed friend IDs to Epic's servers.

Epic CEO Tim Sweeney said that this process was a rush job designed in "the early days of Fortnite," and that it's going to be fixed. He also said that the Epic Store doesn't use the Steam API due to Epic's own user privacy concerns, not regarding Steam's API in particular, but because of a "general concern of APIs collecting more data than expected." He pointed to this article about Facebook data harvesting.

In a statement sent to Bleeping Computer today, Valve's Doug Lombardi said that the company is "looking into what information the Epic launcher collects from Steam." It sounds like Valve isn't too pleased about the whole thing.

"The Steam Client locally saves data such as the list of games you own, your friends list and saved login tokens (similar to information stored in web browser cookies)," wrote Lombardi. "This is private user data, stored on the user's home machine and is not intended to be used by other programs or uploaded to any 3rd party service.

"Interested users can find localconfig.vdf and other Steam configuration files in their Steam Client’s installation directory and open them in a text editor to see what data is contained in these files. They can also view all data related to their Steam account at: https://help.steampowered.com/en/accountdata."

In other words, Valve doesn't think the Epic Store client should be touching localconfig.vdf at all, and presumably would prefer it if Epic used the Steam API to gather friends lists.

For Epic's part, it has not said that the entire file is uploaded, only that it parses out user IDs and uploads hashes of them, should users import Steam friends. In the future, Valve could potentially encrypt local user data to prevent the Epic client and other software from copying it.

Valve hasn't said that, though. In an email to PC Gamer, Lombardi said that Valve has nothing more to add at the moment. I've also contacted Epic to see if it has a response beyond yesterday's Reddit posts, and will update this article if I receive a reply.

This is shady as f*ck. Epic Launcher is little by little becoming virus/trojan.

This is fine according to Pedro (or was Bread?), right?

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#2 Edited by warmblur (2160 posts) -

I hope they get a massive lawsuit wish the Epic store would just die already.

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#3 Posted by adamosmaki (10713 posts) -

Well according to some fanboys here epic store is good for pc gaming and us pc gamers like to whine over nothing

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#4 Posted by ZmanBarzel (1794 posts) -

But everyone is OK with Valve storing information that it is upset to share in a format that is ripe for sharing? Anyone else wondering what other programs have accessed localconfig.vdf?

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#5 Posted by ProtossRushX (5240 posts) -

I stopped using the epic games launcher thing just outright scares me to leave on in the background.

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#6 Edited by xantufrog (11170 posts) -

@zmanbarzel: how exactly do you think the Steam client can do what it does if it doesn't save, e.g., your friends list? It's not shady at all to save this. Every client on your computer stores tons of information about your interaction with that software.

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#7 Posted by I_P_Daily (11434 posts) -

Hermits first world problems are meh.

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#8 Posted by ZmanBarzel (1794 posts) -

@xantufrog: If it's a file that you would be upset about another software developer accessing, encrypt it, or give me an option in my user profile to tell it to encrypt. If a website hosting a My Little Pony fanfiction blog can encrypt its cookies, a multibillion-dollar online storefront can encrypt a config file.

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#9 Posted by xantufrog (11170 posts) -

@zmanbarzel: I see - that's fair. I thought you were upset they were storing the information at all, and I was trying to figure out why info related to the basic functioning of the app was a no no

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#10 Edited by mrbojangles25 (43784 posts) -

"Give them an inch..." as they say.

Valve was kind enough to be OK with Epic importing friends lists (because apparently they could not rely on their own systems), but of course Tencent-Epic, being the greedy mother fuckers they are, have to abuse the whole thing and essentially rip off Valve.

It's funny because initially people were like "Epic Store is spyware for Tencent!" and Epic was like "No, no, no..." but now it seems more likely that the paranoid people might have been right. The scary thing to me is not so much the fact that this information about customers exists, it's the fact that Tencent-Epic had such a desire to get their hands on it.

Once again, Valve is proving to be the consumer-focused good guy and Tencent-Epic has shown us again to be the profit-driven, corrupt bad guy.

@zmanbarzel said:

But everyone is OK with Valve storing information that it is upset to share in a format that is ripe for sharing? Anyone else wondering what other programs have accessed localconfig.vdf?

It's not so much the information in particular that is the issue, it's what they plan to do with it.

Valve uses the information to improve your experience. Tencent-Epic might use the information to spam your email account, sell it to third parties, or worse.

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#11 Posted by ZmanBarzel (1794 posts) -

@xantufrog said:

@zmanbarzel: I see - that's fair. I thought you were upset they were storing the information at all, and I was trying to figure out why info related to the basic functioning of the app was a no no

My apologies for being confusing in my initial response. It's incredibly early where I am right now, and was even earlier when I wrote it! I'm blaming lack of sleep. :-)

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#12 Posted by mrbojangles25 (43784 posts) -

@i_p_daily said:

Hermits first world problems are meh.

Should we just roll over and accept what is given to us like console gamers do?

Sorry dude PC gaming is the best because we don't sit idly by and let them trample over us. We get all uppity and annoying about it.

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#13 Posted by AJStyles (737 posts) -

So Epic keeps track of PC gamers massive lists of games they downloaded and never play?

Cool.

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#14 Posted by djoffer (1222 posts) -

Lol epic store is becoming a bigger joke by the hour... here is hoping that valve will sue their asses and close the down...

And

@adamosmaki: I was personally happy that valve got a little competition so they would get off their asses but epic clearly isn’t what we needed!

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#15 Posted by watercrack445 (1447 posts) -

Epic store doing same shady things to get an edge on Valve/Steam. First, they made a launcher to get in more money riding on the fame of Fortnite. Making exclusivity deals with game devs with the money of Tenchant and Fortnite. And Now this baloney.

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#16 Posted by GarGx1 (10928 posts) -

What's the general consensus accross other gaming focussed chat sites? I don't really go any where else as this is one of the few places left that we are free to voice our opinions without being harshly moderated and/or banned for not following the narrative.

Personally I'll be happy when Epic dies and I'm not going to give them a penny, regardless of what games they secure as "exclusives"

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#17 Edited by mumunaro (152 posts) -

People who criticises PC gamers for being Anti-Epic Store should ask themselves why the same thing didnt happen with other stores such as GOG, Humble Stores etc.

Its not like this is the first time we ever had an alternative Store front.

Epic is trash with anti-consumer policies. Thats why its receiving deserved hate that no one else received, not at this level.

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#18 Posted by foxhound_fox (97853 posts) -

Epic trying to handle everything right now:

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#19 Posted by AnthonyAutumns (1679 posts) -

@foxhound_fox: Don't worry their fanboys will still defend them to death despite this shit.

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#20 Edited by Jacanuk (18276 posts) -

Can´t say i am surprised.

Tencent has not become the biggest mobile game company for nothing.

But it will be interesting to see how the GDPR will handle "epic´s launcher"

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#21 Posted by XVision84 (15790 posts) -

Interesting how public perception of the Epic store went from very good to very bad within a matter of months.

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#22 Posted by pyro1245 (4925 posts) -

Well I'm done with Metro.... Time to uninstall the Epic launcher.

@XVision84 said:

Interesting how public perception of the Epic store went from very good to very bad within a matter of months.

Yeah initially I was excited about someone putting pressure on Steam, but after all the anti-consumer BS and learning they are 40% owned by Tencent.... I'm not using that shit. Not to mention the fact that the service is severely lacking in features.

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#23 Edited by AnthonyAutumns (1679 posts) -

@pyro1245: I think it's fine to play Metro. Just make sure you don't have any Steam installed in that computer. And/or you just purged your credit card details in that computer.

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#24 Posted by NoodleFighter (10172 posts) -

@foxhound_fox: PC gamers right now

MAKE WAY FOR THE NEW PIRATE ERA!

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#25 Posted by DaVillain- (36062 posts) -

@i_p_daily said:

Hermits first world problems are meh.

Except for me :)

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#26 Posted by pyro1245 (4925 posts) -
@anthonyautumns said:

@pyro1245: I think it's fine to play Metro. Just make sure you don't have any Steam installed in that computer. And/or you just purged your credit card details in that computer.

Oh yeah. I finished it. Great game.

....but yeah I uninstalled the Epic launcher.

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#27 Posted by uninspiredcup (32807 posts) -

Nope.

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#28 Edited by AnthonyAutumns (1679 posts) -
@GarGx1 said:

What's the general consensus accross other gaming focussed chat sites? I don't really go any where else as this is one of the few places left that we are free to voice our opinions without being harshly moderated and/or banned for not following the narrative.

Personally I'll be happy when Epic dies and I'm not going to give them a penny, regardless of what games they secure as "exclusives"

Resetera's pc majority condemns this. Exclusivelygames is mixed about this. Steam subreddit condemns this. I havent visited IGN's forum and NeoGAF's.

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#29 Posted by GarGx1 (10928 posts) -

@anthonyautumns: Thanks, good to know that Epic isn't making many fans in the gaming community at large. Hopefully they'll start to lose their influence over publishers and developers as the money runs out from Fortnite and they can't afford to keep buying exclusves.

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#30 Edited by jeezers (2669 posts) -

Steam is trash, valve is dead, and gabe is fat and rich.

Pc gamers are blind loyalists

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#31 Posted by Ten_Pints (3758 posts) -

@jeezers: because we won't bow to our Chinese overlords?

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#32 Posted by R10nu (1501 posts) -
Loading Video...

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#33 Posted by jeezers (2669 posts) -

@ten_pints:

https://youtu.be/cij7yGfFSlI

https://youtu.be/KaMzrK3Gwr0

https://youtu.be/bEKs8bGDtfI

ll of my opinions on the state of steam/valve has been expressed by others, steam is now a corporation, they make money off micro transactions, they make csgo skins dota 2 skins not games. They are now a corporation, gabe is no longer "one of us".

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#34 Posted by jeezers (2669 posts) -

https://youtu.be/7I46J5oZ6JQ

This is proabably my favorite take on modern day steam and valve, I can't disagree with any of this. Hes right on the mark and this is a couple years ago, its only gotten worse since

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#35 Posted by I_P_Daily (11434 posts) -

@mrbojangles25 said:
@i_p_daily said:

Hermits first world problems are meh.

Should we just roll over and accept what is given to us like console gamers do?

Sorry dude PC gaming is the best because we don't sit idly by and let them trample over us. We get all uppity and annoying about it.

Well where's your petitions then? your fake outrage on SW means shit.

So lets no pretend that you hermits are better than any other gaming fanbase lol.

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#36 Posted by Raining51 (804 posts) -

I don't even know what's going on ehre it's honestly just confusing who's involved and over what.

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#37 Posted by Howmakewood (5800 posts) -
@i_p_daily said:
@mrbojangles25 said:
@i_p_daily said:

Hermits first world problems are meh.

Should we just roll over and accept what is given to us like console gamers do?

Sorry dude PC gaming is the best because we don't sit idly by and let them trample over us. We get all uppity and annoying about it.

Well where's your petitions then? your fake outrage on SW means shit.

So lets no pretend that you hermits are better than any other gaming fanbase lol.

Remember paid online? here we are, pc gamers not paying, xbox ones are(even for f2p)

Avatar image for mrbojangles25
#38 Edited by mrbojangles25 (43784 posts) -

@i_p_daily said:
@mrbojangles25 said:
@i_p_daily said:

Hermits first world problems are meh.

Should we just roll over and accept what is given to us like console gamers do?

Sorry dude PC gaming is the best because we don't sit idly by and let them trample over us. We get all uppity and annoying about it.

Well where's your petitions then? your fake outrage on SW means shit.

So lets no pretend that you hermits are better than any other gaming fanbase lol.

I come to SW (and Gamespot, really) to vent and engage in jackassery, not to make any sort of sense or to perform do-goodery. It's sort of like slumming :P I know it means shit.

I do write emails, engage in customers surveys, post on official dev/pub forums, participate in alpha and beta development builds, and a bunch of other things that I'd like to hope make or could make things better for gaming as a whole. Maybe if everyone else did, they'd listen more. "Vote or die", right?

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#39 Posted by Sancho_Panzer (814 posts) -

@R10nu: Haha, That's pretty great.