Once Human devs respond to growing player concerns over data use, spyware threats

Starry Studio has responded to growing fears that Once Human collects personal data, attempting to provide transparency around why certain player information—including government identification—is required to play.

Once Human was instantly inundated with waves of negative reviews on Steam after it officially launched on July 9, with most low-star reviews focused on the title’s publisher NetEase asking for too much personal information. Others were also focused on what many are claiming could be possible spyware threats. This near-immediate backlash has led the team to speak out, with community manager Starrun sharing a lengthy response.

A giant monster emerges from a swamp in Once Human.
The fledgling Once Human fanbase is not happy. Screenshot by Dot Esports

The team would “only collect government-issued IDs” if it was required by law or if the child is underage and the parent needs to be verified, the Once Human community manager explained in the statement on the title’s Discord server. If they collect this data, it’s “immediately deleted” after collecting what they need to abide by specific laws.

Starrun continued by suggesting providing additional info, such as your name, address, and social media accounts, is voluntary—though many were left unhappy with that claim.

The dev response, which is still live at the time of writing, has been splashed with vomit emojis and thumbs-down responses, while players across social media have continued to warn others about the possible data breaches.

a long statement shared by the Once Human developers on Discord
At least they responded. Screenshot by Dot Esports

Once Humans’ privacy policy isn’t the first to require extensive data, and it won’t be the last, especially because countries like China and Korea have specific laws surrounding online gaming where they must submit IDs or personal references. This ID collection then means they can ban players for life if they cheat.

While concerned Once Human players on Discord were left unimpressed with today’s Starry Studio response, others on Reddit called those complaining “boomers” and suggested the only players worrying have failed to understand regular Chinese laws.

If you’d like to know more about the personal data NetEase has collected, you can contact the customer service team or email them directly.

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