Back in April, Valve made Steam accounts much more private and reduced the amount of data shared publicly, which in turn killed the popular Steam Spy service. But now Valve is set to replace Steam Spy with a new set of tools for developers.
Platforms holders like to control what data is seen publicly about the digital goods they are selling, and Steam is no exception to that rule. In 2015, Steam Spy, developed by Sergey Galyonkin, launched and gave us a much better idea of how well Steam games were selling. However, in April this year Valve made Steam accounts much more private and in the process Steam Spy ceased to function properly as its data set disappeared. Now Valve is replacing it with a new set of tools.
And here’s Valve answering a question about Steam Spy. In short: they don’t think it’s accurate enough, so they’ll create something better than Steam Spy on their own.
Really looking forward to it, tbh.https://t.co/94bpYy0bSm
— Steam Spy (@Steam_Spy) June 28, 2018
As PCGamesN reports, while the data Steam Spy relied upon is no longer publicly accessible, it still exists. Jan-Peter Ewert, head of business development at Valve, confirmed that work is underway to open up “Steam marketplace’s data pipeline” with a view to offering much more accurate information about individual games, stating, “we are very much working on new tools and new ways of getting data out of Steam, and we hope that data can be more accurate and more useful than what Steam Spy previously offered you.”
There’s an important difference here, though, beyond the accuracy of the data. Valve is creating tools and will offer information to developers and publishers. It’s very unlikely that same data will be made publicly available and I doubt many developers or publishers would appreciate it if Valve did by default. It certainly can be shared, but that’s up to whoever owns the game, not Valve.
Steam Spy continues to function using a different set of publicly available data. It is less accurate than the algorithm Galyonkin used with the Steam data, but still manages to give an indication of most games sales within 10 percent accuracy. It may be that when developers get their hands on the new tools from Valve, they could opt to share them with Steam Spy, but there’s no guarantee that will happen.