RedShell

Several gaming companies have announced plans to remove support for an analytics app they have bundled with their games.

The decision to remove the app came after several Reddit and Steam users noticed that many game publishers have recently embedded a controversial analytics SDK (software development kit) part of recent updates to their games.

Games rally against RedShell usage

The program bundled with all these games, and at the heart of all the recent controversy is RedShell, an analytics package provided by Innervate, Inc., to game publishers.

Game makers are supposed to embed this SDK within their games and run social marketing programs with specific affiliate IDs. If a new user buys and installs a game via one of these campaigns, the RedShell SDK embedded in the game pings back the publishers about the source of the new install.

But in several recent online discussions, users are complaining that besides logging the source of a new game install, the app also creates fingerprints for each gamer, with information about their online personas and gaming rigs.

According to some gamer's complaints and game studio's responses, it appears that some game studio's were not fully disclosing that this SDK is now part of their games. In some cases, even if it was disclosed, they made it an opt-out package instead of opt-in, which could violate privacy laws depending on the user's country.

Angry gamers file complaints with game makers

For the past two weeks, gamers have been spending their time digging through their games' files looking for the presence of RedShell files and processes, and then filing official complaints with the game publishers via online forums, Reddit, Steam, or official websites.

Following this concentrated effort from the online gaming community, many gaming studios have responded to criticism and have removed or pledged to remove RedShell from their products.

At the time of this article's publication, this is the status of games running RedShell and studios that promised to remove it. As this article ages, you'll be able to get an updated list of games running Redshell via this Google Docs spreadsheet or this Reddit thread.

Games who used Redshell which removed or pledged to remove it (as of 16.06.2018):

Elder Scrolls Online (Pledged to remove it)
Conan Exiles (Pledged to remove it)
Ylands (Removed)
Holy Potatoes! We’re in Space?! (Removed)
All Total War games, (Pledged to remove it)
Warhammer: Vermintide II, (Pledged to remove it)
Warhammer: Vermintide I, (might get removed also?)
My Time At Portia, (Pledged to remove it)
Dead by Daylight, (Pledged to remove it)
Battlerite, (Pledged to remove it)
AER Memories of Old, (Pledged to remove it)
Magic the Gathering Arena (closed beta & not on Steam), (Pledged to remove it for now)
Secret World Legends (Pledged to remove remains of it)
Hunt: Showdown (Pledged to remove it)
Escapists 2 (Pledged to remove it)
Omensight (Pledged to remove it)
Vaporum (Removed)
Clone Drone in the Danger Zone (Removed)

Games still using Redshell according to community reports (as of 16.06.2018):

Civilization VI
Kerbal Space Program
Guardians of Ember
The Onion Knights
Heroine Anthem Zero
Warhammer 40k Eternal Crusade
Krosmaga
Eternal Card Game
Sniper Ghost Warrior 3
Astro Boy: Edge of Time
Ballistic Overkill
Cabals: Card Blitz
CityBattle | Virtual Earth
Desolate
Doodle God
Doodle God Blitz
Dungeon Rushers
Labyrinth
My Free Farm 2
NosTale
RockShot
Shadowverse
SOS & SOS Classic
SoulWorker
Stonies
Tales from Candlekeep: Tomb of Annihilation
War Robots
Survived By
Injustice 2
The Wild Eight
Yoku's Island Express
Raging Justice
Warriors: Rise to Glory!
Trailmakers
Robothorium
League of Pirates
Doodle God: Genesis Secrets

Header image source: RedShell website

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