Wednesday, 23 January, 2019

Steam Profile Privacy Settings Get New Options

Steam Spy shutting down Steam Profile Privacy Settings Get New Options
Sherri Watson | 12 April, 2018, 06:41

Mark Zuckerberg is now in his second day of Congressional testimony related to the Cambridge Analytica scandal and new European Union privacy laws are set to take effect next month.

Today, perhaps prompted by ongoing concerns about data privacy online, Valve announced a new privacy update for Steam. But it looks as though Steam Spy has become an unlucky recipient of collateral damage as the world has belatedly realised how the web giants' apparently "free" services are in reality a means of mining users' personal data.

As explained over on the Steam blog, users can now determine who can see the "game details" on their profiles, a phrase which encompasses everything listed above. Speaking of future plans, Steam also mentioned that they're working on a new "invisible mode" so that they can appear offline but still view their friends list, as well as send and receive messages. 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. Such changes are a welcome adjustment to overall user privacy, but there's a price to be paid for them.

Steam Spy has been a tremendously helpful tool over the years, offering estimates on how individual games are selling and how many people are actively playing them, among other insights.

Note that following this update, all Steam profiles" game details option is set to "friends-only' by default, and this has not bode well for third-party websites that make use of this information to track various stats.

Information is hidden by default.


The dissolution of Steam Spy leaves few options for analyzing the largest PC gaming storefront, and none as encompassing and accessible. Sergey Galyonkin, who founded Steam Spy in 2015 and is now Director of Publishing Strategy at Epic Games, has said the changes leave him no choice but to stop collecting data.

Steam Spy will be archived, according to creator Sergey Galyonkin. Its figures aren't always a great mechanism for judging sales, and a Valve-provided service could do the job better - if Valve had even the slightest amount of interest in providing one.