People who enjoy video games are in a good place today, with a wealth of great options available on a variety of platforms, and yet, certain developers are more than willing to harvest our personal data and punish us for refusing. Puzzle Fuzzle, a popular puzzle game for Android, is a perfect example of this kind of behavior. If you do not allow the app to harvest your data for sale to a third party, a screen comes up stating that you will be watching more ads as a result.
Apart from earning an instant uninstall, this should be a point of discussion for all mobile games. With the huge amount of high-quality titles available on the PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and both iOS and Android devices, there should be no need to allow these kinds of games to thrive in the market. Not only is data collection rampant, it can be dangerous.
If we lived in a world where companies cared about safeguarding our data, there might not be need for concern. However, we have seen data leaks of sensitive information on a massive scale, repeatedly, with little changing and few held responsible. In 2014, Yahoo announced that an attack had compromised the real names, email addresses, dates of birth, and phone numbers of 500 million people.
In 2017, Equifax, an agency tasked with maintaining records of consumer credit, revealed a breach had exposed nearly 150 million consumers. This is supposed to be one of the best and most cautious companies around, as they directly impact our ability to borrow funds from financial institutions, and they botched it with seemingly no repercussions for incompetence of the highest degree.
For game developers on any platform to still be collecting our data is out-dated and should not be a requirement to access a game. The only exceptions to this should be games that require access to certain features of your phone to work, such as most Augmented Reality games like Pokémon GO, and even then, it should be made clear what is being done with the data, and how it is being handled and stored.
Of course, app developers may respond by stating that a significant amount of work goes into creating an app, and that they must somehow turn a profit, but this does not justify personal data collection. If a developer cannot create a game and sustain themselves in ways other than harvesting user data for sale to third parties, they should be allowed to fade away into nothingness.
Once again, we as consumers are fortunate enough to have access to so many outstanding games, that this manner of revenue stream is completely unnecessary, and unsafe for consumers. Good riddance to bad rubbish.