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Valve says it will offer new tools to replace Steam Spy

Valve promises better data two months after privacy changes gutted the games-tracking site

Steam Universe logo on blue background Valve
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Steam Spy, the API-scraping website that measured a game’s ownership across the PC platform’s installation base, was gutted in April after Valve adjusted its user privacy settings, obscuring a lot of the data Steam Spy relied upon. Valve now says that it is working on a new set of tools that will deliver the same kind of information to developers as Steam Spy once did, but more accurately and more immediately.

Jan-Peter Ewert, the head of business development for Valve, said the company would soon be opening up the Steam marketplace’s data pipeline to deliver measurements more reliable than the ones Steam Spy reported from 2015 to present day. Ewert, at the White Nights conference for video games in St. Petersburg, Russia on Thursday and Friday, said Valve will soon make data and features similar to Steam Spy’s available to publishers.

Ewert said Steam Spy “had a broad variance in how accurate it was. It was very accurate for some games, it was very inaccurate for some others.” The figures Valve will soon proivide should “be more accurate and more useful than what Steam Spy previously offered you,” Ewert said.

Steam Spy was modeled primarily on a game-ownership basis, assuming that the majority of those players had bought the game. In late March, changes to Valve’s privacy policy meant users’ libraries were no longer part of the database tracking game ownership, concurrent users and other trends that Steam Spy monitored. The privacy changes didn’t shut down Steam Spy, but they did hinder its ability to take an accurate temperature of games’ popularity, at least on PC.

Sergey Galyinkin, Steam Spy’s creator, mentioned on Twitter that he was looking forward to Valve’s new efforts and accurate marketplace data being publicly available.