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EULA Privacy Update

Hi SteamWorld Build players! 

We have an important update on our EULA and our use of third-party tools that we have been working on since launch.

Some of you rightly raised concerns when you read our original EULA and looked at our use of data collection tools. We have moved as quickly as we can to address this and are happy to finally be able to give you the update you deserved. 

As this involved some legal discussions we couldn’t be as open as we normally would want when we are updating our games based on player feedback. But now we have an update almost in place we can give you the complete picture.

For complete clarity we are working hard on a Hot Patch that we are aiming to get out as soon as possible, ideally next week. The below Q&A on an update is speaking to that, but if something delays this our community team will let you know.

What is an EULA and why do I have to agree to it?

The EULA is a legal agreement granting the player a licence to be able to play SteamWorld Build. This is standard practice across the games industry.

What is the third party tool referenced in the EULA?

This is a tool called PlayFab, an industry tool offered by Microsoft and run on Azure to collect player data safely and securely.

As Thunderful is an independent publisher we made the decision to utilise a fully GDPR compliant, highly secure existing industry tool rather than attempting to build our own to store player data. All data collected was for the sole purpose of improving the game and player experience.

We are removing the paragraph titled Third-Party Tools in the EULA because we are removing the third-party tool from the game with next week's Hot Patch.

Why are you removing the tool?

When the community raised concerns on the way our EULA had been written we started investigating how we had integrated PlayFab into SteamWorld Build. We discovered that although we had remained fully GDPR compliant, our wording in the EULA was misleading (we would never sell on player data or work with people who do or work with anyone who would put player data at risk), and our way of integrating the tool could have been better from a player point of view. Therefore we looked closely at the best way to move forward; create an opt-out, or disconnect PlayFab entirely. We realised if we attempted to add the opt-out we actually put our own development patch schedule at risk. So the decision was made in the best interest of our players, removing the integration altogether and updating our EULA to avoid any more confusion.

What data did you collect?

Players who play the game from launch through to our Hot Patch next week have had anonymised data collected per play session, not per player. Each session data set showed us what the anonymous player had done in that session in game. 

The tool did not collect anything associated with personal player data e.g usernames, IP-address, emails etc.

Can I have any data collected on me removed?

We are looking into this and will update when we can. Our first step is to look at how we can make sure a player can access any data on PlayFab. Then we will provide an update which shows how this can be done. 

This is a high priority for us.

Update 21/12/2023: After a thorough investigation, as we initially thought, the data was anonymised to the point that a player couldn't put in an individual request to have any data associated with them removed. Therefore as a show of good faith, we are working to delete all the data and we apologize for any upset this may have caused you.

Will you use PlayFab or any other data collecting tool in the future?

Yes. This was an initial test to help us improve how we can bring games to players. It didn’t work as intended and the way our EULA was written understandably upset some players. 

We are always looking for ways to improve how we use data to make the playing experience better. Moving forward we will always provide an opt-out to players for Third Party data collecting tools.

Microsoft Azure’s PlayFab is a great tool, for both developers and players.

Why did Thunderful do this?

At Thunderful we pride ourselves on being a truly player first games developer and publisher. All decisions are made with you, our loyal playing community in mind. From what tools we want to use to make our games better, through to how we respond to issues when they are raised to us by you.

This was a big lesson for us, we’ve taken it all onboard and thank the community for letting us know what is and isn’t acceptable. Please carry on keeping us on our toes and we’ll continue being open with you.

Keep on building!

Everyone at Thunderful

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