Feeds

Spyware concerns over fast selling PC game

Is Black & White snooping on gamers?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Fast-selling PC game Black & White has generated a storm of controversy on messaging boards this week amid concerns that it is being used to spy on gamers.

Black & White sends information about a user's computer (including IP number, registry details and hardware configuration) to a server run by the game's developer Lionhead and publisher Electronic Arts.

This heavy-handed anti-piracy feature is, in effect spyware, critics argue. And clunky too -the game will try to establish an Internet connection when installed on a user's PC, even if it is not been run at the time.

But Lionhead says the fears are baseless; Black & White contacts the Internet in order only to set up a facility that enables players to exchange messages online, the company claims.

In a message posted on gaming newsgroups Lionhead said: "Black & White uses a mechanism for its built in messaging system to tell the server if you're online or not and ready for receiving messages from other friends online. We are not spying on your system!"

However there's a sting in the tail to Lionhead's email: "If you playing an illegal copy of Black & White, the program is self-aware, so if you encounter problems with it, then maybe you should buy a proper version."

The difference between "self-aware" and "spyware" is not clear to us. Electronic Arts could maybe help our semantic confusion - perhaps the company would care to return our phone calls? ®

External links:
Lionhead's Black & White site
Newsgroup threads expressing spyware concerns

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Kaspersky backpedals on 'done nothing wrong, nothing to fear' blather
Founder (and internet passport fan) now says privacy is precious
TROLL SLAYER Google grabs $1.3 MEEELLION in patent counter-suit
Chocolate Factory hits back at firm for suing customers
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Sit tight, fanbois. Apple's '$400' wearable release slips into early 2015
Sources: time to put in plenty of clock-watching for' iWatch
Ex-IBM CEO John Akers dies at 79
An era disrupted by the advent of the PC
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?