SteamSpy, a service used by professionals and gamers alike to view detailed stats about Steam sales, has announced today that it will no longer be able to continue operating in the wake of the most recent Steam privacy update.
The new update was discussed in a recent Valve blog post, and allows users to choose who can see details of their past purchases, wish lists, and hours played on games. The blog post did not mention the fact that by default all user data will be automatically set to hide all three of these details, meaning unless users specifically change the settings they will remain this way.
Valve just made a change to their privacy settings, making games owned by Steam users hidden by default.
Steam Spy relied on this information being visible by default and won't be able to operate anymore.https://t.co/0ejZgRQ6Kd
— Steam Spy (@Steam_Spy) April 11, 2018
Head of SteamSpy, Sergey Galyonkin, told fans that all data will remain on the website in the form of an archive. He also told fans that getting users to opt-in for the data sharing so that the service could continue wouldn’t give enough of an accurate picture of what Steam sales were. Even developer’s hands are tied since Steam contracts prohibit them from sharing sales data with third parties.
Some of the data for sale can still be estimated by using concurrent users data, Galyonkin posted on Twitter. However this is a much more manual process and will take a lot longer to produce, especially since the service can’t be automated.
SteamSpy data has proven useful for developers in knowing which games are proving to be most popular based on price point, but also other factors within the Steam storefront itself. For example, the site showed that 0.5 percent of the available titles in Steam in 2017 accounted for 50 percent of the $4.3 billion revenue, the top 100 games list.
Galyonkin believes Valve are unlikely to remove this change, meaning there will be little to no indicators of what games are selling well digitally in the future. This information is becoming more and more important and consumers opt to buy their games digitally over physical retail purchases. Steam was the only insight the industry had into these sales, since neither Microsoft nor Sony share details of digital sales from their online marketplaces. Now it seems as though the only guide we will have to which games are selling best digitally is the Steam storefront.