Valve has made improvements to the privacy of users and those same users are currently losing their minds at the changes.

To speak frankly for a moment – the changes are good.

From today users will find their game library and hours played are no longer accessible to everybody by default. Simply put, if you want to show off the size of your game library or the hours you’ve ploughed into a game, you’re going to have to switch your privacy settings to public.

“You can now select who can view your profile’s ‘game details’; which includes the list of games you have purchased or wishlisted, along with achievements and playtime. This setting also controls whether you’re seen as “in-game” and the title of the game you are playing,” Valve explained in a blog post.

The new Steam privacy controls. We have set our account to public.

So why is the Steam user base losing its mind? Well because that data wasn’t private by default. it allowed those with the know-how to scrape Steam for data about how many people were playing a game within a margin of error.

One such service is Steam Spy which explained that the update means it will no longer be able to operate.

Many folks used Steam Spy as a measure of how a game was really performing post-release. Given how publishers might not be forthcoming about how badly a game is doing, Steam Spy gave users a better idea of how games were performing.

This change means that Steam Spy would have less data to scrape and the figures it releases would be no good to anybody.

Since the news was released Steam users have descended on Valve in the typical angry fashion.

“Valve, to kill Steamspy [sic] is an awful idea. You are ruining many devs by doing that. This info was very useful to take many decisions. Like other ‘recent’ changes it will negatively affect average sales of indie games on Steam,” said one user.

Some users however, appear to understand why the change might be a good thing.

“Privacy by default is a good thing. Those who complain about the default being private are like thieves who would complain about someone else’s door getting locked by default after being slammed,” said one users.

What confuses us is how many users seem to be forgetting that you can still make that information public. Keep in mind though that doing that means you agree to the terms

Simply head to your profile on Steam, click Edit Profile and then navigate to My Privacy Settings.

Sure, we’ll miss Steam Spy but if its a choice between privacy by default or helping somebody profit off of the scraping of data we chose privacy every time.


Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.