Gaming for the privacy conscious

I enjoy gaming but I am conflicted because I feel like I’m giving up more privacy than I’m comfortable with. Having looked at Privacy Not Included on Mozilla Foundation I have seen that the Xbox Series X is the best option for privacy and security but I would like some advice on the best way to stay private when gaming.

You can set up a Firewall for your Network using software like pfSense or OPNSense, which are both open-source and based on FreeBSD (I think OPNSense is a Fork of pfSense) and block connections to known tracking servers, or at least a filtered DNS Server like AdGuard DNS, NextDNS or Pi-hole or AdGuard Home if you want to self-host it.

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hello ross. welcome to the nerdfest

i will ask you to look at installing a second harddrive. put linux mint on it.
set up a 2 - 4 terabyte SSD just for gaming. fill it with all the free offline games you can find in the repository. even if you dont like them. just for a library.there are other repository available you can referance on wich all have a slightly tweaked library of free software and games.

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if you go online for gaming then you can use steam. i will never do so. it is spyware with the worst of the offenders.

free firewalls like portmaster, and vpn’s such as combined and a mess of other beginner lever tweaks like dns will be a starting point that will teach you a years worth of collage education for free. seeing as how it is on a separate harddrive you can always just go back to what ever O.S. your used to until you get tired of paying for spyware that disrespects you, and sells you.

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by the way. super important, i forgot to say, when you install the second os on your alt SSD remove the original. after your done and your computer is off THEN you can put the original drive back and have either one or both attached. use F-11 to chose what disk you boot from. super important to not install a separate O.S. with the original disk connected. trust me.


yes, for anyone using Steam, make damn sure to isolate it from the rest of your system (personal data, files, etc.) - there are several ways to do that and i don’t know what is best, but i might guess that creating a new, limited user account just for gaming might be the easiest way to go, though i’m not entirely sure that’s the best way to go


I feel like it might be easier to just play games offline on an old console. :sweat_smile:
I’ve considered a Switch, but not connecting it to the internet. It’s just a shame you cant play the latest AAA games on it. I miss being able to buy the games and not requiring an internet connection.

Thank you for all the suggestions though. It just feels like a lot of effort to play games online without some big tech company collecting your data.

Does Flatpak not do this?
I’m sure it can isolate from system features in Linux, but I could be wrong.

Here are a few suggestions
1: Emulation

I use this on a daily and is not much to set up on Linux or Windows.
Most are open source and ROMs can be downloaded from various sites.
DuckStation and PCSX2 support achievements and RPCS3 has trophies. Give it a try when you can, looks better upscaled than on original hardware. Look at my guide for more details.

2: GOG
This is really the only place to buy a game with no DRM involved.
While Steam and Epic offer games on their store front, things get banned, removed and DRM filled all the time.
Atleast with GOG you own it to the best degree in the digital age needing to prove you own a game.

3: Abandonware
A site I like to visit called MyAbandonware

It hosts a huge library of old games and some from not to long ago.
Give a go if your interested. Of course most if not all are close sourced but that is expected and most will not phone home to a server.

4: Steam and Epic Via tweaks.
It may not be a great Idea, but its still the most popular since the rise of PC gaming from the mid-2000s
Installing via Flatpak sandboxes from the rest of the system.
Having a trusted VPN also helps so DOXing and DDOS is more avoidable, and a Firewall set up also.
A VM would be pushing it, but if possible, set Steam up in a VM of Windows to isolate from your main machine. But of course money and time.

Dont know what else I’m missing, but if I think of anything else I’ll update.

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Thank you very much

not necessarily - Ctrl+F this for “flatpak”…

The work to try catching up like Flatpak is extremely flawed and is a failure from day 1 by not actually aiming to achieve meaningful goals with a proper threat model. There’s little attempt to learn from other platforms doing much better and to adopt their privacy and security features to catch up. It’s a decade behind at this point, and falling further behind.

you’ve said Flatpak is flawed. is Snap any better as an app sandbox?

u/DanielMicay Lead developer / project owner May 02 '19

No, not really. They’re both fundamentally flawed and poorly implemented. They’re at lot worse than even the very early Android sandbox from a decade ago before all of the work on hardening it and improving the permission model. They’re approaching it completely wrong and treating it as if they need to figure out how to do things properly themselves, by not learning from existing app sandboxes.

Flatpak is not a Sandbox
If a sandbox can be defeated by known weaknesses in the Linux desktop environment it doesn’t provide any meaningful security.

What makes you think that, I’m curious

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Thankfully someone brought this up.

With gaming it’s not easy like switching from Windows to MintOS.

I’ve watched many videos about PC vs console and why the PC is superior. But those videos are very subjective even if they claim otherwise.

With gaming it’s all about what you care and don’t care about.

For me I care about:
. Games. The majority of games I want to play are stuck in the playstation ecosystem. You can’t just go to alternativeto and type “infamous”. Even if you can, the alternative are not what you want to play.
. Ownership
. Offline play
. Convenience
. Game optimization.
. Just working with very good graphics and performance
. Having only one or two accounts for gaming
. Privacy (that last one hard)

I think I’m gonna go with playstation. PC gaming is good but I just can’t stand those online verification DRMs (yes I know there is gog but I’m not interested in those games); invasive anti-cheats and having to create more than one million account to buy, launch and play my games.

What do you think about playstation’s privacy?

What information do you want to protect? It’s important to make a threat model first and proceed forward accordingly. Buying a seperate laptop would be a start, since compartmentalising your stuff can help keep you private and the easiest way to go about it.

I want to give as little information as I have to

If you’re using a PlayStation, aliasing and pseudonymity may be the way to go. That can be easier if you’re buying all of your games physically, but once you have to enter a credit card into your PlayStation or PlayStation account, your identity is with Sony. Consider having a separate email address or email alias for a potential account you have to create and go with that. Yes, there will be tracking, but it will be tied to that alias and your IP, which is better than your name at least.

They already have my name, date of birth and my IP address unfortunately but not my credit card.

I created that account before knowing anything about privacy

I would advice you to sit with a pen and paper, and list the things you want to protect, things you want to share with others, and the consequence of accidentally giving out a piece of information you wanted to protect. The following article may help-

After doing that, act accordingly. For example you might want to protect your email account from breaches, so use a throwaway GMail account(simplelogin may not be accepted) or maybe you don’t want to hand out your credit card info etc. Then ask for specifics; how do I do that? Or that? etc. Makes answering questions much easier.

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You could still make a new account for use going forward. If you don’t do anything to hide your IP address then they could still tie your identity to your alias by just tying together all accounts from the same IP. However, we don’t know if they’re doing that, it could be an extra step in how they handle data that they would have to do if they really wanted to guess where you went, and they would have to make the assumption that you didn’t move and it’s a new person playing at that IP. It’s not full-proof, but changing to a new account could at least muddy the waters.

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