Steam's updated privacy settings make it easier for gamers to lurk unseen

Steam Spy shutting down

Valve has gone through with a massive change for user privacy settings on Steam. That change will help protect Steam users' privacy, but it also effectively broke Steam Spy, a popular analytics tool that relies on that data. But because user game libraries are now hidden by default, there's no longer any way for services like Steam Spy to build a third-party profile of which people own which games. Also, they can choose to stop broadcasting what game they are now playing. Settings have better descriptions, you can keep your total game playtime hours private, it is possible to choose who sees your game details like achievements and playtime, and you can tell if you can be seen "in-game" in a title or not.

PC GAMING PLATFORM STEAM has adjusted its privacy settings allow users to hide information on the games they own.

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In addition to all the previously available options such as profile and inventory visibility, the settings page is now home to the "Game details" category.

However, this simple change also renders game stats site Stream Spy pretty much moot, as the data it will need to operate will be blocked off.

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The public game library data was the crux of Steam Spy's operation, and such creator Sergey Galyonkin made the announcement via Twitter that, as such, it wouldn't be able to work anymore without that crucial data. If you choose to set yourself to invisible, you'll appear as offline, but you'll still be able to view your friends list, send and receive messages. (For our purposes, we've lumped this decision in with "privacy settings", because Valve is changing a default setting that affects user privacy.) The goals are the same-protecting Steam users' privacy-but changing the default settings for game libraries has the side effect of blocking Steam Spy. Valve doesn't give a timeline for the release of invisible mode, but says that it hopes to launch it in beta soon. Developers apparently used Steam Spy data to gauge how well titles that catered to specific niches performed over time.

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