Valve have just announced a major change to Steam’s privacy policies, and the reaction from users has been mixed with a slight trend to negative. While many have welcomed Steam’s new position – defaulting to hide more of your profile data – others are concerned about the impact on third-party services and transparency in the marketplace.
If you’re ready for more controversy, here’s a person arguing that the privacy changes are a good thing.
Steam Spy, a third-party site that tracks user library data across Valve’s platform, has announced that it will collapse as a result of this change. That topic hasleapt to the top of the Steam subreddit,whilethreads bemoaning other aspects of the change are much further down the board.
This suggests many users will feel the loss of Steam Spy keenly – the top-voted comment says “it was always nice to see which games had been thriving,” but “on the other hand, I’m sure a lot of developers/publishers will be happy. I bet they hated having their sales numbers revealed, especially for flops like Lawbreakers or that recent game Where the Water Tastes Like Wine.” A reply says “I would also feel ripped off if I bought these games and could not find anyone to play with.”
Commenting on the announcement itself, Moonlight616 says “not really happy with this change. The new option is really good but it shouldn’t be set to ‘friends only’ by default.” That’s a sentiment we’ve seen echoed widely across the comments section and Reddit – the fact that ‘friends only’ has become the default setting is the key change that will kill Steam Spy.
There is also widespread concern that limiting profile information will further compound consumers’ ability to navigate Steam’s crowded games market. An upvoted comment on Reddit says Steam Spy helped them separate obscure but high-quality indies from exploitative shovelware. (Though it’s worth noting that user reviews should be unaffected by the change – here’s a cool site that pulls from those to help you find hidden gems.)
However, plenty of users are welcoming the move – we spotted several stories of harrassment based on profile information and playtime: Lusae Naturae says “finally something to make stalkers bugger off for once.”
And if you have bad friends, Baltasar says “Holy cow! It’s safe to add business partners, coworkers and bosses in Steam now, no matter how much of a dick they are?”