First, for all of you who do not know [Razer], the company is known for designing and building “gaming gear” like mice, keyboards, headsets and stuff like that. While I am personally convinced that the build quality of Razer products sucks (I have a Razer Lachesis mouse myself, ultra cheap plastic), they are very expensive and somewhat well accepted and respected in the gaming community, for whatever reason there may be.
Ok, so much for that. Now to their new software. Razer [Synapse 2.0]. Previously, your mouse/keyboard would come with a driver for multiple operating systems and a small application for Windows systems to configure the device. All of that offline, naturally.
Now, Razer Synapse 2.0 is different. The application requires an Internet connection as well as an account in the “Razer cloud”. What it does is to synchronize all your input device settings to the cloud servers so you can reattach the device to another machine with Razer Synapse 2.0, log in with your account (!) and use the device with the settings you’re comfortable with. There is however one significant problem I have with that.
Without an account, you cannot use the software, as confirmed by Razer themselves. What you are presented with is this:
“To use the Services, you have to register for and maintain a Razer account in a form as required by us (“Account”). You agree to provide accurate information when you register.” – Razer Synapse 2.0 terms of service
On top of that, a lot of new Razer devices don’t come with their regular older software anymore. So you’re forced to use Synapse 2.0 if you want to properly use the devices. Plus, there is lots of luring you in going on right now. I have for instance signed up with Synapse 2.0 (on their website, I have not actually installed the software) to get some Razer cockpit dice for [Mechwarrior Online] (which I think is otherwise a cool game) for free. So you might actually get caught in that trap just for a pair of furry dice like these:
And frankly, the dice don’t even move around that nicely, where is my PhysX? Or Havok? Or whatever CryEngine 3 uses, probably its own physics engine. And if you do install the Razer Synapse 2.0 “trojan” on your system just for that or some of the other ingame bonuses Razer gives away… oh well. You just sold yourself out.
So frankly, I do not know what kind of stuff Synapse 2.0 really spies on. But the terms of service would indicate that it might spy on pretty much anything and sell out the profiling data plus your email address to whoever pays enough. And there I was, wondering where all those waves of spam came from recently. A new kind of spam syntactically, and in greater volume than before. I haven’t linked it to the Synapse 2.0 registration at first, but the timing is almost perfect!