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Square Enix is tracking gamers play styles

It’s becoming an increasing trend in gaming, that not only do publishers and developers want you to buy their new releases, but they want to know how you play them. They aren’t asking for that information either, they’re taking it and that’s just what Square Enix has been doing with Sleeping Dogs.

Agreeing to the publisher’s terms and conditions give it the right to track what you do in the game. While that immediately makes me not want to play anything from Square Enix ever again, apparently it’s not as bad as it seems – at least that’s the tack being taken by MCV. According to the interview it had with Square Enix producer Chris Dillon, it’s all about making better games.

“Until you actually have data, you only have assumptions,” he said. “You have a particular demographic that engages in forums and they can be very vocal. Often, at face value that can be interpreted as being a clear indication of a particular problem or a particular desire.

“When you actually have the whole picture, you get a much better understanding as to what’s really going on and often, it’s quite a small group of people who are taking a very big sense of need or demand.”

Tracking
My in-game preferences don't relate to the real world, honest

But what is the data actually being used for? A lot of companies collect information simply so they can sell it on – something most people are not keen on.

“We’ve always looked to have metrics in previous titles but Sleeping Dogs represents a pinnacle of what we’ve achieved so far,” Dillon added. “We’ve actually gathered a lot of data about all aspects of the game, even for example simple things like the configuration you have on your PC options.”

“For example, we can actually find out trends, like people’s Y-axis inverted as a default – yes or no? We can actually get information that shows up what people’s preferences are for those settings. So when we actually make future titles, we can look at the data and set of defaults that we believe is what people want. That’s a really simple example of how we can directly use metrics and at the other end of the scale, we actually use it to drive things like our global and personal stats and our leader boards.”

KitGuru Says: This is all well and good, but I don’t like finding out data is being collected on me through a news site. This should be something Square is up front with in its games. I want a big tick box that says, “is it ok to use information about your gaming habits to improve future titles?” Anything short of that feels deceptive.

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