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I'm watching a live stream where a guy is playing Fortnite, and there is some kind of hash or checksum vaguely visible in the top left corner (circled in red):

enter image description here

Here is a close up (sorry it's not the best resolution):

enter image description here

A quick google search for what this is yields me nothing.

I can also remember this code showing up in videos of other people playing Fortnite (for instance in this video). So this seems to be a feature of Fortnite. I don't actually play the game myself, so I've only run into this when watching other people.

I guess this is some kind of security feature? But what exactly is it, and what is it used for?

I've known about games using checksums before, but I can't think of a reason why it would need to be on screen the whole time.

  • Perhaps its used for reporting bugs/players. I think the number is unique to each game, and for a bug/player report they might be able to use this number for tracking purposes and looking at session data. PUBG has a similiar number (although it is much smaller) at the bottom of the screen that is probably used in a similar manner. – Timmy Jim Feb 20 '18 at 19:51
  • @TimmyJim I've also notice the value changing from time to time (probably from match to match?), and also remember seeing it bouncing around the screen while someone was in the lobby (couldn't find a source for that though), so I guess it's important that it is visible. – Jorn Vernee Feb 20 '18 at 20:02
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From what I understand, these watermarks generally show up in Alpha/Beta/Early Access games.

Generally, they all have a similar format, consisting of some sort of unique identifying number; often along with the game name, the beta version, and your username.

There can be multiple uses for this.

Bugs/Information - The watermark can provide build information, and perhaps other information about what program version is running. This can make troubleshooting a lot easier when provided with a screenshot of an issue.

NDA/Privacy - Some games initially release under non-disclosure agreements and have very strict rules about sharing game information outside of approved channels. By including watermarks; you can mitigate the ability for people to leak content that you don't want released. It becomes easier to track down who released it (they might have more subtle ways too, but this lets the user know they can find you).

Based on the fact that most full-release games I've seen opt to not include this, I would think these are the two primary reasons.

I considered it as advertising the game and watermarking screenshots to be a third reason; but anyone who wants to steal your content could easily cut that part of the image out. I think that's a fairly unlikely motivation.

  • I think build information can be ruled out in this case, since the number changes between matches. The second reason is more likely, but the game has been out since late July 2017 (about half a year ago). I guess the people I linked could be playing on a beta branch. – Jorn Vernee Feb 20 '18 at 20:08
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    @JornVernee Fortnite is still just a paid early access title. It's set for release sometime this year. I think the Battle Royale component (very popular right now) would be even earlier in it's beta. As far as build information goes; I'm not sure what kind of data that could be capturing; but it could even vary based on a lot of factors like what server your on, etc. – JMac Feb 20 '18 at 20:12
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It's the match ID.

Every player in a match will have the same match ID.

If you and a friend end up in a match with the same ID, that means that you'll be able to interact with each other (ie. same match ID in Solo means your friend will be able to see you and interact with you as an enemy, as opposed in Duos/Squads/Team Rumble where they will be a teammate if they joined your party.)

I presume this is used by Epic Games to help identify cheaters as the ID is in every screenshot and as a result, they will be able to trace back in which specific match a certain screenshot happened (and subsequently verify the situation).

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