Former World of Warcraft security expert defends survival hit Once Human's unpopular privacy policy: "fearmongering on social media is boring as s***"

Once Human
(Image credit: Starry Studios)

A former World of Warcraft developer and security expert has defended anticipated survival game Once Human's controversial Terms of Service.

Once Human was one of the top-wishlisted games on Steam ahead of its release yesterday. Since that release, however, the Once Human Terms of Service have garnered a lot of attention, sparking a wave of negative reviews over criticism that the amount of data the game collects is too invasive. As a result, Once Human currently sits at 'Mixed' reviews on Steam, despite its successful 80,000-player launch.

That negative response drew the attention of indie developer Jason Hall. Hall, whose background includes security at both World of Warcraft developer Blizzard and the United States Department of Energy, issued a post earlier today addressed to "all the people currently freaking out about the Once Human Privacy Policy."

Quoting directly from the policy, Hall notes that information is being collected "as required by applicable laws for age verification and correction of personal information." He claims that "the general internet has warped this into a demanded requirement and privacy issue," but that this isn't the case. The information cited is "only sent to the company when required by applicable local laws," which is reflected in certain language choices within the policy.

In some countries, Hall notes, "government issued IDs are required for live service game access." That includes Once Human publisher NetEase's native China, but he continues that "if you are not in one of these countries you obviously are not asked or required to present those documents." Once Human's devs have already pointed out that government ID data is only collected for specific reasons, and the associated data is deleted once it's been used.

Hall closes his tweet by saying that "fearmongering on social media is boring as shit." Unfortunately, that's not likely to reverse Once Human's reviews in the short term. A 'Mixed' start is rarely a good one under Steam's user review system, and even as tens of thousands of players dive into the game, it could lead to a rocky first few weeks.

If you're diving into Starry Studio's new survival game, be sure to check out our Once Human cross platform guide for all the details on cross-platform progression.

Ali Jones
News Editor

I'm GamesRadar's news editor, working with the team to deliver breaking news from across the industry. I started my journalistic career while getting my degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick, where I also worked as Games Editor on the student newspaper, The Boar. Since then, I've run the news sections at PCGamesN and Kotaku UK, and also regularly contributed to PC Gamer. As you might be able to tell, PC is my platform of choice, so you can regularly find me playing League of Legends or Steam's latest indie hit.