Steam Spy is done for – unless Valve reverses course

No, you can't be quite this evil.

Did you like having a clue how well games were really doing in terms of population on Steam? That might be coming to an end. Valve announced new privacy-oriented changes to the popular gaming platform yesterday that are good for the individual; by default, your list of owned games and status with them will be hidden instead of public, and you can fine-tune who can see what. There will also eventually be a new “invisible” mode.

But the downside of hiding everyone is that trackers like the Patreon-funded Steam Spy can no longer scrape play data, aggregate them, and turn them into something useful on a per-game basis for the entire community to see.

“Steam Spy relied on this information being visible by default and won’t be able to operate anymore,” Steam Spy boss Sergey Galyonkin posted on Twitter. “To reiterate – it’s not because of the new privacy settings. It’s because Steam just made everyone’s gaming library hidden by default (this wasn’t in their blog post).”

It’s not clear yet whether Valve will eventually release the data itself or work with Galyonkin, whose work the company has repeatedly praised.

Source: Valve, Twitter
Update: In a Eurogamer interview this morning, Galyonkinย says while he always expected this, he didn’t have any warning but doesn’t believe Steam Spy was being specifically targetted. He also doesn’t expect communication with Valve, as Valve has been almost entirely nonresponsive on queries about the platform and Steam Spy in the recent past. Fortunately for Galyonkin, he also works for Epic Games and will likely close down the Patreon supporting the platform.

“I’m trying to figure out what would be my next best step. It seems like I have several options, relying on different methods of gathering information. […] I also have something called Twitch Spy, which is pretty much a database with no front end. It allows me to check on people’s streaming, the games that are being streamed, who’s rising and who’s not. How subscriber counts and follower counts are influenced by the games they play.”


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