Steam Spy announced that it will be shutting down. This decision comes as a result of Steam’s new Profile Privacy Settings. The result is that Steam Spy will no longer be able to obtain the information it needs to keep going.
Ars Techinca reported that Steam Spy was a sales-estimate service, born from an Ars data project. The service launched in 2015, nearly a year to the day that Ars senior gaming editor Kyle Orland published his extensive, data-sampling “Steam Gauge” feature. That feature measured game ownership and playtime estimates based on the huge sampling size afforded by Steam’s default privacy settings.
Valve recently updated Steam’s Profile Privacy Settings. The update expanded upon user’s Profile Privacy Settings page, and is intended to give user’s more control over the privacy of their Steam account.
You can now select who can view your profile’s “game details”, which includes the list of games you have purchased or whitelisted, along with achievements and playtime. This setting also controls whether you’re seen as “in-game” and the title of the game you are playing.
Additionally, regardless of which setting you choose for your profile’s game details, you now have the option to keep your total game playtime private.
The Steam Spy Twitter account (which is run by Sergey Galyonkin) posted a tweet in response to Steam’s Profile Privacy Settings update. The tweet said “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.”
A follow up tweet provide some clarification. “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).”