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New survival game Once Human's EULA says it might ask for your government ID, and you can guess how well that went

Once Human's first day of launch saw it get mired in controversy, thanks to some bizarre terms in its user agreement.

Image credit: Starry Studio, NetEase

Once Human has been one the year’s more highly-anticipated survival games. After enjoying several successful beta tests, it coasted on a lot of enthusiasm from the community, which culminated with even more positive buzz from the Steam Next Fest demo, where more players got their hands on it.

The free-to-play survival shooter has now officially launched, and though it did run into the all-too-common launch day issues, players are mostly upset with something that has little to do with the game itself.

The EULA of Once Human contains a few terms many players took issue with. The game is developed by Starry Studio, a team within Chinese publishing giant NetEase - which also published the game.

As spotted by GamesRadar, the game’s privacy policy seems to be a little too far-reaching, compared to those found in most games. You have the regular notes about data collection, both for gameplay reasons, as well as other data to be used for marketing.

As players quickly discovered, however, some of that includes more sensitive user data, such as geolocation, and could even extend to government-issued IDs. What many players also found alarming was how NetEase may rely on “other sources” to collect said data, meaning the information doesn’t strictly come from playing the game.

As many of the game’s negative reviews on Steam point out, the fact NetEase is able to collect user data outside the game (such as social media accounts) could allow it to build more robust profiles of every player. This data could then be sold to advertisers; nevermind the ethical and privacy concerns.

Indeed, most of Once Human’s negative reviews come from players who barely spent anytime playing it, opting to only post a review to bring attention to the issue. Some reviews, of course, talk about more gameplay-relevant issues such as server stability and character limits.The noise was loud enough that the developer issued a statement on the game’s official Discord server to address those concerns, particularly clarifying the government ID line, explaining that the information won’t be kept on NetEase’s servers.

“NetEase takes our users’ data privacy very seriously and adheres to the data privacy principles such as data minimization, purpose limitation, and transparency,” the developer wrote (as relayed on the Steam forums).

“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’s not the smoothest launch for a survival game. Despite rapidly closing in on 100,000 concurrent players on Steam, the Mixed review rating certainly doesn’t place it in the best light. All of that might not end up mattering to survival game fans, however.

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