Maybe you *should* care about the Steam Hardware Survey. Not because it has any specific information on your players (it probably doesn't), but because Steam's data collection processes are far and away the best in the industry, and other game developers could learn a lot about player information gathering from Valve. It's not just the Hardware Survey, either. It's percentage of players with Achievement 24 unlocked, time required to complete Level 4, number of times died on Level 7, all broken down by difficulty levels, etc. - exactly the depth of playtesting data you're looking for. And, of course, Valve is rather infamous for their exhaustive playtesting procedures. Play through Episode One or Episode Two or Portal and keep the commentary mode on. Listen to how many things they added in, changed, or eliminated because of direct player opinion, difficulties, emotional responses. The fact is that (funding to pay playtesters aside - though I second Xir's comments there) what you're wishing for is already reality. The mistake here is that everybody confuses data collection with DRM. This is a confusion only worsened here by the allusion to BioShock, I might add - a game which, to my knowledge, does not collect anything other than number of times activated (nor does it do so very well). The recent Mass Effect announcement (phoning home every ten days), even despite the later retraction, doesn't do anything to help clarify the distinction, either. You have to admit, though, after having so many of our (legal) games being mugged and held hostage by SecuROM and the like, people have come to see almost any form of 'phoning home' to be an invasion of privacy. And in most cases we've been proven quite right. The missing piece here is trust. Gamers trust Valve. Why? Because Steam keeps our games working, across computers, automatically updated. There is one activation and then the game is tied to your account - and as long as you have the account, you will *always* have your game. Upgrading, formatting, and the like don't faze it. There is personalized recourse for misplaced mistrust on their part. And (in gamer years) it's been this way for a very, very long time. Steam has earned our trust. Obviously, given that prerequisite, it would be extraordinarily difficult for any other developer to throw in a 'data collection' feature and expect us all to bend over and put up with it. But I think as long as you're honest (and up-front!) about your intentions, you can probably get people to give you what you seek.