Valve has decided to update the Steam traffic tracking system for game developers after reviewing privacy issues with Google Analytics, the most widely used tool for accessing such data. Instead, developers looking to monitor their games’ statistics will have to use Steam‘s own built-in traffic reporting tools.
In a blog post on Steam, Valve addresses the future of traffic reporting on Steam, starting off by stating that new Steamworks tools are underway to help developers better understand their store traffic. It cites conflict of user privacy as their reason for the built-in tools.
Writing that its features are all “built with player privacy in mind” and that “Steam will continue to not share personally identifiable information,” Valve goes on to specify its problem with Google’s tracking solutions. It states that they “don’t align well with our approach to customer privacy.” but provides no further information on what the specific privacy issues are.
Instead, Valve opts to discuss its own systems. It confirms that Steam will continue to not gather demographic details from users, whether these have to do with “age, gender, or race.” Steam’s built-in tracking will also face various updates, from increased tracking percentages to geographic breakdowns showing page visitor location.
Steam’s support of Google Analytics will officially end on July 1, when Google itself is replacing their old Universal Analytics service with a newer system dubbed Google Analytics 4. Valve confirms the date, writing, “with the migration to GA4 we’ve made the decision to end our support of Google’s analytics systems on Steam.”
While Google’s migration was not specified as the motivating factor, there are likely changes involved that counter Valve’s privacy policies. Steam has always stayed true to these, which is likely why it has chosen to move away from Google Analytics and focus on its own tracking system.
We will update developers on any future updates from Valve on the matter. If you are an avid Steam user yourself, be sure to check out some our timeline of upcoming Steam sales or a breakdown of the Steam Sports Fest for some sporty deals.