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FYI: Civ6 contains Red Shell Analytics Software

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by anandus, Jun 10, 2018.

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  1. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    1. It absolutely is. We're talking about companies and trust. I'm trying to understand that, and so far nobody's given me any reason why they trust Valve, but magically not 2K or these folks at Red Shell. "I know and accept Google can be bad" isn't a defense, right? It's an admission that you're okay with what they're doing regardless of what it is they're doing. That doesn't actually explain why it's okay for party A, but not for party B.

    2. Sure. You're still comparing Civilisation VI to F2P games in a negative context. F2P games usually existing on Steam, a mobile OS, or some similar distribution platform. You're relying on the assumption that F2P games are inherently more anti-consumer as a negative parallel for your opinions of Civilisation VI. Not only does this have to be proven (and you're still not giving concrete examples), it's literary guilt by association. You're tying Civilisation VI to the murky waters of F2P business practises for the sake of an analogy. "even" F2P games can do better. The insinuation is that's a low bar to clear, and it's a bad insinuation because it relies on a chain of assumptions, as I just described.

    3. Are you arguing that the baseline for my logic doesn't hold? It's my logic. It pertains to me. Your argument, though you try and use words that make it seem you're not talking about bugs in the UI and ingame Civilopedia, is that because there is a lack of polish in the UI and / or ingame Civilopedia, that this means they are obviously intent on not being transparent with regards to the legal practise of data privacy.

    That's somewhat ridiculous, to me. Not only have you once again melded 2K and Firaxis, you've melded all the various teams and their separate skillsets working on the game with a business decision with regards to data collection. I don't want to patronise you, I have enjoyed (even though we seem to often end up like this) the old UI and UX debates of old. But it seems like you don't have much experience with how software of this kind of scale is put together.

    I mean, I can't convince you otherwise. I don't think I can. I just find it incredible someone would equate UI polish with anonymous data collection for marketing and / or technical reasons. I can guarantee you nobody working on the UI would even be remotely aware of such a thing if they weren't explicitly told about it. For any developer, working on any game (outside of an indie effort, or something similarly small-scale where people often perform multiple roles). I've worked at a startup, and I now work at an international software company whose headquarters are three hours away from me by timezone difference alone. Six years ago, I knew what everyone was working on pretty much all the time, even as a junior developer. Now? Even though I still know at least half of my colleagues? I have no idea what they're working on, nevermind what the other offices and development teams are implementing.

    I said I - personally - could not trust any company with such logic. I could not. If I could find such an easy way to not trust the very software built into Civ VI to the level that I wouldn't want to play it, or other products by 2K again, I could find similar reason for the vast majority of games I own. It's very easy to find reasons. Which is why I was talking about bias and introspection. It's why I gave a personal example of bias I have for another developer. I'm not doing this to make anything personal with regards to you, or anyone else here. The only way I'm making it personal is to give convincing examples for why I feel the way I feel. That's all.

    4. Why does anything throw stuff like this into a EULA? Because it's required by law. That's the only reason. They don't do it because they think you won't like it. We have enough of that from the way the map is rendered, the art direction, the units they choose to include, the UI bugs they include, the way they conduct their social media, the hair colour of their employees as gleaned from livestreams by reddit (don't ask). People find any reason they want to not like something.

    The compliance as required by law was delivered here, and it's going to take a bit more than packet sniffing by reddit to prove otherwise. You can dislike it as much as you want. I don't want to stop you on that score. That's your opinion, and you're free to it. But again, you disliking something does not make that something wrong. You not understanding, or not being told every single technical detail relating to the inclusion of telemetry in a video game, is not evidence that that inclusion is nefarious in some way.

    It simply isn't.
     
  2. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    It works like this:

    1. I do not trust X by default.
    2. I nevertheless trust X more than Y because Y has given me reasons to actively distrust them.

    I don't need a second helping of the same straw so I'll pass on this until what's addressed is what's quoted.

    First of all: Whether your logic pertains to you, nobody, or everybody...if it's not sound it doesn't hold :). Your proposition was that "if I can't trust this company at their word, I can't trust any company". Unless you're willing to assert that there is literally no observable difference between companies or that none of these observations could possibly alter your trust, that's a false proposition.

    Second, that's not my argument, and it's increasingly awkward to see insistence that it is my argument. I'm calling this out as grimey practice and/or sloppy irrespective of intent.

    I do stand by the assertion that a proven failure at vetting basic things central to the usage of the product can and should lower confidence in the same organization's capacity/interest to vet things that interact with their product in general.

    To make it more clear: I'm arguing that demonstrated incompetence + EULA that gives license to do a wide variety of things that aren't game-related has non-zero danger, and that I dislike it more than I normally would because the organization has already given me reason to trust them less than other organizations in the same situation, including a subset of those that do not charge me to play up front.

    Firaxis doesn't give a crap about what I personally think, and I don't believe for a second they're doing anything for the sole reason that someone won't like it. They're allocating resources based on priority. Their history of prioritization leads me to anticipate them being less trustworthy than some other companies I can think of offhand. Not everyone tries to fork out DLC before their game works/prior to fixing the controls at a rate where actual bug fixing/UI fixing programming hours can't possibly keep up with QA. That might be standard operating procedure for Firaxis or Paradox, but when these companies do it and other companies don't, the ones that don't are more trustworthy.

    Remember, I've not been arguing that any laws were broken at any point in this thread. I'm throwing shade on poor practices that I don't like by a company that has already given me a few extra reasons not to trust them, ranging from selling DLC for a shoddy product when measured against AAA standards in other game genres to straight up false advertising depending on which instance is examined.

    But hey, at least they're not EA just yet.
     
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  3. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    A few things to clear up I think, as I wrap this up.

    1. You still haven't explained what those reasons are. I'm incredibly intrigued why you have less reason to trust 2K than Valve, considering they're both large companies with huge revenue streams that control massive amounts of data. Are these simply personal reasons? If so, then fair enough, I can't argue with something you've arrived at due to simply feeling a certain way. I was under the impression there were more specifics than that, that was all.

    That said, I don't think this intrigue is going to get me anywhere (see the last section of this post).

    3. Logic is not some all-encompassing truth. Logic is simply the justification of truth (in this context. Science has some specifics beyond that, as does something like computer logic). What can seem logical to me, might not to you, and vice versa. It doesn't have to ring true for all. You are not the arbiter of what is or isn't "sound" logic. I might not understand you, but at least I don't make that kind of criticism in the reverse!

    And yes, I could find little observable differences between a vast multitude of companies of a similar size. Steam collects a ton of information on your machine, obsures (and outright hides) the opt-out, and uses an EULA. By that logic, there is literally zero observable difference, other than the appeal to emotion of Red Shell being an unknown player and thus worthy of innate distrust. So does Activision-Blizzard. And so on, and so forth. I choose to use products by these companies because I accept the baseline of what they do collect, and I accept the risks of malicious activity like third-party hacks (of which Steam suffered an incredibly public one, some years back? Some time back, at least).

    Other people don't. But when people start picking and choosing companies based on some undetailed principle of merit, I like exploring that. But it's ultimately irrelevant, because:

    4. You apparently aren't arguing any actual wrongdoing. You are "throwing shade", or in some other words, playing a bit of devil's advocacy on what these practises could entail for customers based on some obscure justification about the quality of their products. Which also doesn't fly, because the quality of a product has very little connection to intent r.e. collected consumer data. Unless your argument is now accidental misuse of data, but that isn't supported by your criticisms of their DLC practises and whatnot. You seem to be saying there is intent at play, but you keep dodging commiting to a specific position. Hence, devil's advocacy.

    And the problem with devil's advocacy - having been very annoying in my younger years online with it - is that it's not a good-faith argument. You're not holding to a position. You are, literally, by your admission, just throwing shade to see what sticks. There's no point to me engaging with that.

    Introspection is hard, as I keep saying. If there's one thing you take away from this particular debate, it would be to not let that stop you from trying it. Play devil's advocate with yourself, perhaps! Challenge this inherent distrust you hold for business practises, because there are flaws you can find with the end product. Challenge the reasons for which you hold Firaxis and / or 2K to this standard, but not literally anyone else in the industry (barring the stereotypically-invoked trope of EA). And yes, I do this too. I think it's good practise.

    ENDING-EDIT:

    Literally every company in the industry prioritises content over fixing bugs. Fixing bugs doesn't pay the bills. No software is free of bugs. Ergo, there will always be bugs that aren't fixed, and content that is always produced. Sometimes that means actual real bugs make it to retail, instead of simply minor annoyances or invisible bugs you'd never even notice. That's just unfortunately the ecosystem these things are developed in.

    I'd want that changed as well, but that want doesn't alter the reality which we're in. You're never going to be able to stall content for more fixes than the bare minimum. The economics sadly don't support it (certainly not for AA / AAA gaming).

    It's funny you claim that Firaxis are some weird outlier here. I don't know why you do.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2018
  4. Zuizgond

    Zuizgond Chieftain

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    Looking at the last 30 days rating of civ6 on steam, which is only 29% positive (on 820 reviews), it seems that a lot of people are not approving this spyw... er I mean this awesome background tool that collects data from customers for their own good.
     
  5. Gedemon

    Gedemon Modder Moderator

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    Now I'm jealous of Redshell, I will never be able to generate so much negative feedback from the lack of advanced modding capabilities !

    Or maybe I could, 820 reviews you say :hmm:
     
  6. Archon_Wing

    Archon_Wing Vote for me or die

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    Well, at least California has passed a new law on the matter. And of course, made quite clear:

    So no more of this "You clicked on the EULA, so you have to sell your firstborn child to them"

    https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180AB375

    You still have to opt out anyways though....
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2018
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  7. OmegaDestroyer

    OmegaDestroyer Chieftain

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    I hope whatever was gained from the inclusion of Redshell was worth the substantial loss of good will.
     
  8. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    I'm not some definitive arbiter of logic, but in reality if something isn't self-consistent it's hard to make a case it can be logically sound. I gave a specific reasoning for why the logic you presented didn't hold. Are you in fact willing to assert that there is literally no observable difference between companies, or that none of these observations could possibly alter your trust? If you're not, then your original trust proposition is self-inconsistent.

    If you are asserting one of these, we are operating under different understandings of what the word "trust" means in the first place. Ludeon is not Firaxis for example.

    I'm perfectly willing to throw shade on Steam and Activision-Blizzard too (especially Blizzard, which at one point was one of the industry's most amazing companies with great design practice and no known bad will choices for customers...certainly far fewer. While Firaxis is just as bad, Blizzard had further the fall and it did).

    They are all "worthy of innate distrust", insofar as they're business organizations. The presence of Red Shell is a bit worse, largely because it simply adds one more player to the equation...another step in a process for potential error...and because its actual contribution to the gameplay experience is less clear than, for example, Civ 6/Firaxis directly tracking how your machine is interacting with the software in terms of performance.

    On average, it's more reasonable to anticipate a longstanding pattern of observed sloppy practices in an organization to continue rather than to guess that maybe in this one area their practices won't be sloppy.

    Their intent is to make money. Beyond that, who knows. The way this collection happens is grimey, but the actual risk is indeed on accidental misuse of data/being hacked. It's doubtful that even Red Shell is going to set out just to hurt people. But knowing Firaxis' practices surrounding their product, I have no reason to believe they're going to take extra precautions for handling information securely and accurately. If they had knowledge of such competency and will to apply it I'd expect to see more consistent evidence of it.

    Since when don't I hold others in the industry to the standard? I don't call the current strategy game genre a "doormat market" because I think Firaxis is uniquely bad...

    To different degrees. Many companies manage to put product to market that don't hide rules, don't false advertise for a few months (civ 5), and have consistently functional basic controls. Among those, there are others who have also not abandoned conventions good games have used since the 1990's and ever since.

    Civ 6 has bugs. Rimworld has bugs. This does not mean these products are at similar standards. One of these products has been open beta, the other has been retail beta...at best. One of these lets you consistently discern the vast majority of the rules in game, the other doesn't give you clear information about rules regarding even its defined win condition. One of these shows evidence of considering end user experience in design at some point in the last 10 years, and that one isn't Civ.

    I'm sorry-not-sorry if holding a AAA title to the standards met by a game still not quite out of its official beta made by a small studeo is too hard...strange how only one of these titles seems to actually address control bugs and muck with content without pushing DLC and claiming it helps pay for bug fixes that never happen. Perhaps because the project management of one of these organizations doesn't grossly extend beyond its means and constantly introduce more problems than can be patched?

    And knowing Firaxis does this, why should I trust them when it comes to how their software interacts with someone else's? Even presuming no ill intent, the displayed competency isn't encouraging.
     
  9. Equilin

    Equilin Chieftain

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    Since when did this thing get installed, and anyone can confirm whether the eula got a sneak update or not?
     
  10. Gedemon

    Gedemon Modder Moderator

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    AFAIK Redshell was added in the February patch (2018)

    the EULA on Steam says "Last revised January 22, 2018"
     
  11. Quoth the Raven

    Quoth the Raven Chieftain

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    This is off the top steam review about the EULA:

    "The information we collect may include personal information such as your first and/or last name, e-mail address, phone number, photo, mailing address, geolocation, or payment information. In addition, we may collect your age, gender, date of birth, zip code, hardware configuration, console ID, software products played, survey data, purchases, IP address and the systems you have played on. We may combine the information with your personal information and across other computers or devices that you may use."

    Yeah, any game that gathers this much information is never getting installed in my computer.
     
  12. Prima Italia

    Prima Italia Chieftain

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    Do not forget fonts! They collect how many fonts you have installed!

    On a more serious note, I can not fathom why a game would need so much personal information. Seems extremely dubious. If they wanted to soften the backlash, they should have told the player what they were collecting and an option to opt out when the patch was installed. It should not fall to the player to ask to opt out if they do not know Red Shell is installed.

    Personally I can not abide by this software on my computer and have removed Civ 6. Horrible.
     
  13. ThunderLizard2

    ThunderLizard2 Chieftain

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    I was considering getting the game on sale but with Red Shell no way. Is this crap now in Civ V as well?
     
  14. God of Kings

    God of Kings Ruler of all heads of state

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    Good thing there's an alternative to this (and legal too). It's called the Mac App Store and iPad versions.

    Opting out of Apple Analytics is much more transparent.
     
  15. Kwami

    Kwami Warlord

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    It's not really an alternative for the vast majority of players since we don't use Apple products. Also, the Mac version is almost always 1-2 patches behind the real game. No, thanks.

    Firaxis should just remove this spyware and stop collecting unnecessary information. Game telemetry is OK, but personal information is entirely out of bounds.
     
  16. Gedemon

    Gedemon Modder Moderator

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    They do not collect personal information if the data is deidentified, which it seems to be.

    How does it works for Mac ? Apple don't allow application that use internal tools on their store ?

    What about the linux version ?

    Anyone have checked with one of this version to see if it tries connect to redshell or innervate sites on launch ?
     
  17. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    I also recommend uninstalling Steam, because it also collects most of the above. Which means all Valve-created Steam games do, too.

    I'm serious. Uninstall anything that you personally do not think is good for your rights to data privacy.

    https://store.steampowered.com/privacy_agreement/english/

    FYI, Civilisation VI will be using Red Shell as a stand-in for whatever they were using previously (which was probably the core Steamworks APIs). So any game on Steam will process similar data about you and your machine. This isn't whataboutism, this is me recommending a best course of action for individuals that simply want to exercise their rights (separate to a debate on here, which is not what I want here).
     
  18. DemonMaster

    DemonMaster A.K.A. Fenhorn

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    ... and some people have made complains about this over at FB and said that they will now uninstall the game or that they thought about buying it until this "news" came up. At FB, that's quite funny. Ironic and funny.
     
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  19. Archon_Wing

    Archon_Wing Vote for me or die

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    Please do not be misled by disingenuous quoting. This is another issue, and I explained it here: https://forums.civfanatics.com/threads/take-2-interactives-new-eula.632925/page-2#post-15141170

    The reviewer is just mindlessly copy and pasting something they saw somewhere else.

    Merely playing the game does not mean they can get your information like that. It's mainly for support and contests of which, of course, your personal info is needed.

    Well, can't really play the game without Steam. Also a lot of this data is needed for like, basic functions needed for the whole platform to work such as billing, customer service, and maintaining the integrity of the platform by being able to detect abuse. Plus achievement statistics are pretty useful to me too.

    I really wish people would just spend 30 seconds to actually read the offending text at hand, realize it's not nearly as severe as it sounds, and not toss out those knee jerk boiler plate arguments.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2018
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  20. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    Oh, I completely agree. I've been down the whole explaining "what this is" route in this thread already - I just wanted to make sure people knew the remit of other pieces of game-related software (enterprise / business software is kind of another thing entirely, and is an area where licenses and terms and conditions are a lot more obviously-defined).

    There are reasons for Steam using said data as much as there are reasons for the data being used by Civilisation VI. The person I was responding to was horrified by the data used itself, regardless of the reasons.
     
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