Steam Spy may die as Valve rolls out new privacy policy

Aurich Lawson

Also, they can choose to stop broadcasting what game they are now playing. Thanks to a series of user privacy settings brought into motion by Steam, the very fabric of the game streaming platform that SteamSpy utilized to harvest its valuable data has been obliterated. Steam users now have the option of selecting who can view their profile's "game details", including the list of games purchased or wishlisted, along with achievements and playtime.

Galyonkin also clarified that making everyone's game library private by default is separate from the changes Valve discussed in its blog post.

In the Game details section, you can make it so people can't see your total playtimes for games even if you allow them to see your game details.

"You no longer need to nervously laugh it off as a bug when your friends notice the 4,000+ hours you've put into Ricochet", Valve noted.

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According to Steam Spy, this isn't a particularly great move for the company as the tracking site is effectively useless without the information being available by default.

It's possible that Valve has made these changes to the platform based on Facebook's recent legal run-in where the firm has come under severe criticism for not doing enough to protect user data.

These are not the only privacy changes coming, such as the addition of an Invisible mode alongside Online, Away, and Offline. Its reports serve as a way to monitor whether a game is becoming more or less popular, or to track the impact of reduced prices on sales figures. In response to a Twitter inquiry as to whether Steam Spy will keep its existing data up, Steam Spy creator Sergey Galyonkin replied: "Yes, pretty much". PCGamesN spoke to other devs about the changes; the apparently near-universal opinion was that the loss of the service will impact them as well. This has huge repercussions for Steam Spy.

Of course, one criticism of Steam Spy is that Valve's Steam API was never meant to be used to generate sales data.

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