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Red Shell in Games Sparks Massive Gamer Outcry, Calling for Removal

After the discovery of marketing analytic tool Red Shell in several games, users are rallying for its removal, calling it a "spyware" device.

June 17, 2018

A recent movement in the gaming world has sparked all kinds of controversy among gamers: the installation of Red Shell. The public outcry came after several companies announced plans to package the analytics app, Red Shell, with some of the games. The intent of this action was to run social marketing programs with specific affiliate IDs using the services provided by the software development kit (SDK) app. When a user installed a new game, Red Shell would ping that information back to the developer and give them an idea of what games are getting installed where.

The controversy came with the suggestion that Red Shell was doing more than just logging new installs and setting up social marketing programs. For starters, Reddit and Steam users have been complaining that Red Shell has been creating a digital fingerprint of each user, including information about their habits, gaming rigs, online interactions, and perhaps more. Additionally, plenty of game studios haven’t explicitly told users that Red Shell is now installed in their games, or if they did, it was made as an opt-out package instead of opt-in, as is required in accordance with most privacy laws across the world. Essentially, the complaint is that Red Shell is acting less like a marketing app and more like a malicious spyware app.

To combat this, gamers have been laboriously collecting information about Red Shell files and processes, lodging complaints and collecting data in forums like Reddit, which contains the most updated and current list as this article ages. Several gaming studios have already pledged to remove Red Shell from their games as a result of this criticism.

As of 6/26/2018, the games that have pledged to remove or removed Red Shell from the installation include:

  • Elder Scrolls Online ( Removed it )
  • Conan Exiles ( Removed it )
  • Ylands ( Removed it )
  • Holy Potatoes! We’re in Space?! ( Removed it )
  • All Total War games, ( Pledged to remove it )
  • Warhammer: Vermintide II, ( Removed it )
  • My Time At Portia, ( Removed it )
  • Dead by Daylight, ( Removed it )
  • Battlerite, ( Pledged to remove it )
  • AER Memories of Old, ( Pledged to remove it )
  • Magic the Gathering Arena (closed beta & not on Steam), ( Removed it )
  • Secret World Legends ( Pledged to remove it )
  • Hunt: Showdown ( Pledged to remove it )
  • Escapists 2 ( Removed it )
  • Omensight ( Removed it )
  • Ballistic Overkill ( Pledged to remove it )
  • Vaporum ( Removed it )
  • Tales from Candlekeep: Tomb of Annihilation ( Removed it )
  • Yoku’s Island Express ( Removed it )
  • Clone Drone in the Danger Zone ( Removed it )
  • The Wild Eight ( Removed it )
  • Desolate ( Removed it )
  • Trailmakers ( Removed it )
  • Raging Justice ( Removed it )
  • Dungeon Rushers ( Removed it )
  • Indygo ( Removed it )
  • Kerbal Space Program ( Removed it )
  • Quake Champions (no redshell dll files, seems to be integrated in game ) ( Pledged to remove it )
  • NosTale ( Pledged to remove it )
  • SoulWorker ( Pledged to remove it )
  • RockShot ( Pledged to remove it )
  • Archangel: Hellfire ( Removed it from all Skydance games, according to developers )

Additionally, the list of games featuring Red Shell as of 6/26/2018 includes:

  • Civilization VI,
  • Guardians of Ember (Publisher removed from Steam),
  • The Onion Knights (Publisher removed from Steam),
  • Heroine Anthem Zero,
  • Warhammer 40k Eternal Crusade,
  • Krosmaga
  • Eternal Card Game
  • Sniper Ghost Warrior 3
  • Astro Boy: Edge of Time
  • Cabals: Card Blitz
  • CityBattle | Virtual Earth
  • Doodle God
  • Doodle God Blitz
  • Doodle God: Genesis Secrets
  • Labyrinth
  • My Free Farm 2
  • Shadowverse
  • SOS & SOS Classic
  • Stonies
  • War Robots
  • Survived By
  • Injustice 2
  • Warriors: Rise to Glory!
  • League of Pirates
  • Skyworld
  • The House of Da Vinci
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Emily Hobbs

Emily Hobbs is a Staff Writer at Dualshockers. When she's not writing articles, she's also a senior Computer Information Systems with a Forensics focus major at Stevenson University, where she bonded with her roommates freshman year via Dark Souls and Outlast, as all true friendships should begin. She enjoys any kind of game except for the ones she doesn't, and a good RPG or horror game can make her day.

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