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Steam's New Privacy Settings Update Causes Steam Spy To Shut Down

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Valve makes some changes to the profile privacy settings of Steam users, which could mean the end of the data tracking website, Steam Spy.

Steam's New Profile Privacy Policy

Valve announced on Tuesday, April 10, that it had updated the privacy settings of Steam users by giving them control over how their information is displayed on the digital distribution platform.

According to Valve, the new update allows gamers to decide who can view their game details on their profile. Game details essentially include the game titles that players have purchased or added to their wishlist in addition to other information such as achievements.

Steam users also have the option to keep their gaming hours hidden from public view. The new settings enable users to decide whether or not they want others to see if they are in-game or what game they are 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 noted.

Valve also announced a forthcoming privacy change: a new invisible mode that lets users appear offline but still allows them to view their friends' list and exchange messages with them. The option will be made available to users in beta soon.

Steam Spy Says It's Shutting Down Operations

Hours after Valve's announcement, Steam Spy announced that it is hanging up its data tracking boots as it relied on the information obtained from profiles of Steam users. The new privacy settings will consequently render the website useless.

The website, founded by game developer Sergey Galyonkin in 2015 as an experiment, used data from publicly viewable Steam profiles to estimate game sales and other statistics on the platform. Although it has not always been 100 percent accurate, PC gamers considered it as a useful tool to check if a Steam game title was worth the purchase.

"Valve just made a change to their privacy settings, making games owned by Steam users hidden by default," the Steam Spy Twitter account tweeted. "Steam Spy relied on this information being visible by default and won't be able to operate anymore."

The company's Twitter account later clarified that the reason behind their decision to shut down is not Steam's new privacy policy. It's because Steam made everyone's gaming library hidden by default, which Valve failed to mention in its announcement.

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