Finally, a video game tailor made for the avid RegardingID reader. Data Dealer is a new online game from a group of Austrian game developers that is all about collecting and selling people’s personal data.
According to Data Dealer’s official site, the game is full of “irony and gleeful sarcasm,” but is ultimately a game about digital culture and surveillance whose goal is to raise awareness about online privacy.
The American version of the game launched in May, and interestingly enough, is also available on Facebook. One bit of irony can be seen with the game’s rebranded version of the popular social networking site, cleverly dubbed “Tracebook.”
Players essentially build their own personal data ecosystem, along the way collecting the personal data of users across the Internet and learning how to turn that data into cash. In the vein of SimCity, players run a multitude of companies and online schemes ranging from dating sites and mobile apps to search engines and their own social web.
The object of the game is simple, become the world’s most powerful data tycoon, acquire personal data from as many sources as possible – legally or otherwise – and sell that data to insurance companies, human resources departments or even governmental agencies. As an additional tongue-in-cheek gameplay mechanic, players must protect their burgeoning data ecosystem against hackers, irritable citizens, critical media and privacy activists.
The Data Dealer game is a nonprofit project funded in part by $50,000 from Kickstarter and an additional 150,000 Euros from the Austrian government.
Already receiving acclaim for its message and the manner in which it is delivered, the future of Data Dealer looks bright. The game’s developers are planning to release the game in French, Russian and Portuguese versions, with plans for more.
Moreover, the game – which is still in Beta – has attracted some 80,000 players since its inception. There’s also good news for those to like to game with friends, as the developers currently have 80% of the multiplayer component completed.