Which gaming console is the least worst for privacy

Look I know this is a privacy community but what do you think about privacy and how to improve it in Xbox Playstation and Nintendo there still people that changes all the settings and don’t use their real identities

[i only how own a PS and XBox] best thing on these consoles is you don’t have to use your own name to shown to the world while you’re gaming, you don’t even have to be shown as online while your gaming.
the problem might come with multiplayer games because you need to be visible to get into parties to play with friends.

you don’t have to put your credit card details on the consoles as prepaid cards still exist, and you could just buy physical games

a couple of links you might like:

Privacy Settings | PlayStation®4 User's Guide.

1 Like

You forget about the Nintendo switch

I know that it’s not exactly what you asked about, but you can always use Pi-hole on the network. Filters a lot of telemetry etc.

Nintendo Switch:

  • no Nintendo account needed, you can still buy games in ‘real’ stores
  • you don’t need to connect it to the internet
  • therefore you are able to use it quite privacy friendly, if you want to

Playstation 4:

  • no need to register at the PSN network
  • you can even update the PS4 without an account as some tech magazines published the updates, which you can download and put on an USB flash drive and install manually with no direct internet connection at all

Playstation 5:

  • no idea if that is still possible

xBox:

  • needs at least an internet connection at the first start
  • after it I don’t know, but then I assume xbox the worst for privacy
1 Like

Disclaimer: I don’t got sources to confirm if these companies do any of what I described. I’m just going off what’s potentially possible while not being too extreme, drawing parallels to other markets I’m more familiar with.


There are two parties to consider. There are the other gamers you’ll interact with potentially and the makers of the console, or even games.

For dealing with regular players, I think that in general you just need to use an alias. Just don’t use your real name and don’t give personally identifiable information about yourself.

What are they tracking and how to avoid it

For dealing with companies, the same trick applies just more involved. For Xbox, for example, don’t use your personal Microsoft account if you have one. Make a new Microsoft account that’s specifically for gaming so that you don’t cross wires between those two areas of your life. Try to keep that model in mind as you make the account at each step you need to take.

The main spot you will lose some privacy will be when you pay for things on the console, thus needing to give over credit card information. Maybe using privacy.com can cover you there? If that doesn’t work, another option could be to stick to buying physical copies of games or buying gift cards and finishing the transactions that way. It will be more work, but depending on your threat model it may be worth it.

Another thing to consider is your location based on your IP address. Unless you’re doing something at the network level to maybe pipe all of your traffic through a VPN or something (can you do that?), whatever console and game you play will likely have access to your IP address and this a rough approximation to where you live. If they know your name from the credit card and roughly where you live, they’re on their way to potentially matching that with information from data brokers if they wanted to (not saying anyone does that because it’s a lot of work that they may not be incentivized to do).

Lastly, depending on what the device can do, technically it could be logging everything you do and sending it to the manufacturer. Similarly, anything you do in an online game might also get logged and sent to the studio. Because these are consoles they may not be as bad as Windows, but it is possible. This is another reason why you would ideally not want to share your real identity in the console if you can avoid it. If all they know is that xXSuperDuperGamerXx is marathoning Fortnite, that’s that.

How can we rank the most private console?

Up to now, most of what I’ve shared will likely be the same across consoles, but now we have to consider who are the console manufacturers and how much will they see despite these mitigations so far.

Nintendo is only a video game company with the poorest internet services of the three. The main piece of info you may reasonably give to them is your credit card information. I am not sure, but I suspect that the Switch will be the least egregious to phone home due to how comparatively lower powered is it, Nintendo potentially may not be as interested in the data, and their own ability to implement a solution may get in the way of getting as much data as the other two consoles. I would think that the Switch is the most private.

Next is Sony, who I would regard as being in between Nintendo and Microsoft. They are a bigger company with more industries that could be informed by the data they collect from consoles. However, as far as I know there are no special integrations between their PlayStation products and anything else from Sony. There are no ecosystems greater than the console to think about and no accounts that do more than just let you play games with an identity so that your friends can find you. I personally think they’re more likely to gather data just because of their size and available power on the hardware, but I don’t see that easily linking to other parts of your life.

Then there’s Microsoft. C’mon. By no means am I saying that folks should avoid the Xbox, but if you want to be aware of the data you’re exposing when you use different products, then you would likely want to be aware of what Microsoft may do. They are by far the most likely company to integrate everything you do on your Xbox into other parts of your life. If use a Windows machine with enough privacy mitigations it is possible that Microsoft can still link your activity between the two in some way, and the less walls you raise, the more they can link. From their perspective, they want you to use your Microsoft account for your Windows and Xbox usage. They want to integrate Windows and Xbox more as experiences to offer interoperability. They are not interested in helping you compartmentalize. Needless to say, I think Xbox would be the worst for privacy.

TL;DR

Nintendo Switch over Sony PlayStation over Microsoft Xbox when it comes to privacy. But if you take the right steps there’s a decent amount you can do to protect your privacy that would satisfy most threat models.

4 Likes

Thanks man I use a Nintendo switch and a ps4

You can use a VPN on your router and route all traffic through it. I think most routers should support it but, if they don’t, both PFSense and OpenWrt support it.

1 Like

Steam Deck + RetroArch ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

1 Like

I can’t find the source but from what I have read Xbox was the worst, followed by Nintendo then Sony with the best of the three

So which one do I use playstation or Nintendo switch

If you have a moddable Nintendo Switch, you can install the Atmosphere custom OS on it, which is open source and blocks a lot of the telemetry sent to Nintendo GitHub - Atmosphere-NX/Atmosphere: Atmosphère is a work-in-progress customized firmware for the Nintendo Switch.

2 Likes

Pi-hole can only do something if you can change the DNS in the device, I don’t know if a game console respects the DNS server your DHCP recommends, or if it just uses the one programed by the vendor.

Also a major Pi-holes issue always is that it does not see what traffic goes past it, so if the console vendor chooses to connect directly to an IP-address then Pi-hole would not see this as well.
Pi-hole only sees the traffic which is pointed at it, and nothing more.

I therefore think the question even with a Pi-hole is valid to choose quality hardware from vendor you trust not to do any funny business