Steam now hides your game library by default


Steam’s privacy policy has been updated. Valve say this will give you more control over the information you make available to the world, but one notable change is that the games in your library are no longer visible by default, which means certain third-party sites which rely on this – notably SteamSpy – are no longer able to operate.

What do developers and publishers really think of SteamSpy? Here’s our investigation from last year.

You’ll now be able to choose who can view your library, your wishlist, your in-game achievements, and your playtime. You can also keep your total playtime private, in case you’re embarrassed about “the 4,000+ hours you’ve put into Ricochet” (that’s Valve’s joke, Ricochet was awesome).

Valve are also working on a new ‘invisible’ presence setting, which will cause you to appear offline to others, while still enabling you to view your friends list and send and receive messages. Valve are aiming for a beta release “soon”.

Here’s the news in full from Valve, who say these new features are driven by community feedback. And while giving users more control over the information they present to others is generally a good thing, these changes have far-reaching consequences, as SteamSpy founder Sergey Galyonkin tweeted earlier:

SteamSpy pulls and arranges user data from Steam, enabling anyone to sift it for all sorts of interesting details – ownership numbers, which give a rough idea of a game’s sales performance, are just one important example.

So for all its limitations, SteamSpy has been immensely useful to journalists, developers, and many others who analyse the games industry, and there are many who will be sad to see it go, alongside other third-party sites such as SteamDB. On the other hand, Valve would probably argue that their first obligation must be to their users and to protecting your data (we’ve reached out to them for comment).

And on that note, do let us know what you think of these changes in the comments below.