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12 April 2018, 09:42 | Jodi Jackson
Steam profile privacy settings get expanded, an invisible mode is also in the works
Steam Spy, one of the most valuable tools for analyzing product performance on Steam, is ceasing operation following an update to Steam's privacy settings. Steam Spy is an integral tool to finding out analytical information about Steam and its various game information tidbits. 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. Steam justified them by saying: "With more detailed descriptions of what profile information is included in each category, you will be able to manage how you are viewed by your friends, or the wider Steam Community".
On Twitter, Galyonkin also suggested that if Valve really wanted to protect their users' privacy they would have hidden the profiles' information first and foremost, but that's still public for now.
Valve has gone through with a massive change for user privacy settings on Steam. Using publically available data, Steam Spy can more or less tell us how many people own a specific game. Also, they can choose to stop broadcasting what game they are now playing. "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 is also making it easier for people to lurk on Stream without giving away their presence to friends and contacts hungry for some jolly co-operative gaming or fiercely competitive multiplayer action, thanks to the addition of an "invisible" mode in the options that show the status of a user's presence on the Steam platform.
Other third-party tracking sites such as AStats are also affected, unable to reach core data needed to calculate statistics. 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.
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.
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