Unfortunately, it means that we'll have to rely on sales information from game publishers, and we know how loose they can be with the truth.
Valve's latest change to its Steam platform is one created to enhance the privacy of its users, by making the public sharing of stats like games owned, wishlists, game purchases and playtimes private by default. This setting also controls whether you're seen as "in-game" and the title of the game you are playing. What do you think of the privacy changes?
Users can now choose to decide which game screenshots uploaded by them can be viewed by the community, friends or are available only to them.
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Game developer, industry analyst and PR rep Sergey Galyonkin created Steam Spy in order to extrapolate system-wide insights into video game sales patterns and ownership. For example, gamers can now hide their "in-game" status, as well as their playtimes and achievements.
Additionally, regardless of which setting you choose for your profile's game details, you now have the option to keep your total game playtime private. In Valve's own words, this is so that "You no longer need to nervously laugh it off as a bug when your friends notice the 4,000+ hours you've put into Ricochet". That change will help protect Steam users' privacy, but it also effectively broke Steam Spy, a popular analytics tool that relies on that data. Now we won't be able to get the same kind of detailed information we were previously able to. But, if you're like most users, you probably didn't pay much attention to the privacy settings at the time. With Invisible selected, you will appear to others as though you are Offline, but still have access to your friends list and the ability to send and receive messages. Valve doesn't give a timeline for the release of invisible mode, but says that it hopes to launch it in beta soon.
It looks like Valve is working hard to putting more value on the privacy of their users on Steam, likely due to all the data collection issues arising from Facebook's controversial scandal recently.