With the current increased emphasis on data protection in the tech industry, gaming companies have not been left behind.
Notably, in early April 2018, Valve Corporation, the company which is behind Steam, announced major updates to its privacy settings, a move which was projected to affect services that rely on such data, like Steam Spy.
However, although the changes were initially thought to be detrimental to Steam Spy, it seems the service has reinvented itself and is now scaling even higher heights.
That’s one of the latest wonders in game development!
Could this be the blessing-in-disguise Steam Spy was waiting for?
Steam’s latest updates
Valve changed Steam’s profile privacy settings with the intention of allowing users to have more control over their publicly available information.
The update allows users to control how the public can access their information, such as the number of hours played, the games purchased, and achievements.
You can choose to make this information visible only to friends, keep it private, or keep it public.
The update also made users libraries hidden by default, something which industry-tracking services depended on heavily.
Furthermore, Valve also updated the settings of Steam’s Store API, rendering it useless. Store API was used for keeping gamers basic details such as prices and genres.
Effect on Steam Spy
Although the updates enabled Steam’s privacy settings to be aligned with the techniques employed by game console companies, it also affected third-party services, such as Steam Spy.
Steam Spy, which was created by Sergey Galyonkin, is a stats website that tracks the performance of PC games.
The service automatically collects data from players at Steam, analyzes it, and delivers it beautifully and simply, which allows indie developers to make use of the information to make important decisions.
Steam Spy is based on Steam’s Web API, which it utilizes to make various estimations concerning games available on the platform.
Therefore, it means that when Steam’s private settings were revamped, it could have profound consequences to the operations of the service.
In fact, several people predicted the fall of Steam Spy after Valve made the announcement.
Steam Spy defied the changes
Despite the changes, Steam Spy has risen from the ashes. Instead of hanging up Steam Spy’s data tracking boots, Galyonkin has made efforts to ensure the continuity of the popular service.
Galyonkin’s request to allow Steam Spy to run on the old algorithm, without revealing gamers personal information, was declined.
Consequently, he has been redeveloping the service to use machine learning algorithms to predict the performance of the PC games.
Although everything is not working as before, Galyonkin is slowing bringing back the website to life.
His decision to continue working on the site was largely driven by the success stories of several developers who had used Steam Spy before.
Nonetheless, the new Steam Spy is still very effective. For example, Galyonkin gathered data of about 70 games, and for 90% of them, the new service reported accurate predictions and was within 10% margin of error.
Additionally, Galyonkin has recorded increased donations from Patreon backers. Before Steam’s privacy changes, he was making about $7,000 per month.
Currently, he is making about $11K per month.
So, did the latest Steam update unconsciously increased the popularity of Steam Spy?
In the coming months, the answer to this question will be clearer.
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