Steam's new privacy update will apparently ruin Steam Spy

Valve has updated Steam's Profile Privacy Settings page, with a new range of control options for how users' information is displayed in the Steam client. Now you can choose who can see which games you've purchased or wishlisted, as well as other information like achievements and playtime. In Valve's words "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".

But according to Steam Spy operator Sergey Galyonkin, one new change to Steam's privacy settings has rendered the popular stats tracking site useless. "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."

Of course, if all Steam users were to make their owned games viewable by default, the site would be functional again. But... that's unlikely to happen en masse. The site has been a popular tool since it launched in 2015, and has thrown up some interesting insights. During a GDC talk last month Galyonkin said that Steam's top 100 games made 50% of the platform's total money last year. 

Meanwhile, it appears that AStats, another third-party stats site which gathers Steam data, is currently unable to reach user information such as owned games  – presumably because all of that user data is now, by default, viewable only by friends. 

As for other Steam privacy changes, a new "invisible" mode is forthcoming. "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," the blogpost promises. The feature will be in beta soon.

We've reached out to Valve about the changes' effect on Steam Spy, and will update if we hear back.

Shaun Prescott

Shaun Prescott is the Australian editor of PC Gamer. With over ten years experience covering the games industry, his work has appeared on GamesRadar+, TechRadar, The Guardian, PLAY Magazine, the Sydney Morning Herald, and more. Specific interests include indie games, obscure Metroidvanias, speedrunning, experimental games and FPSs. He thinks Lulu by Metallica and Lou Reed is an all-time classic that will receive its due critical reappraisal one day.