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Old 04-15-2018, 09:58 AM   #1
Emabulator
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SteamSpy shutdown shows how reliant PC market is on single, uncommunicative, platform


MCV has the story.

Quote:
"I don't know why they did it." said SteamSpy creator Sergey Galyonkin today, in an interview with Eurogamer, after Valve had changed default user settings to effectively kill the three-year old analytics tool.

SteamSpy was an essential tool for many in the industry, and those of us who report upon it. It provided data on the ownership of Steam titles that gave developers and publishers some idea of what games were big, what genres were growing, and a rough idea of how much a certain game might sell.

Without it, the biggest PC platform in the world goes largely dark, much like the console-specific digital stores and Amazon, in terms of the information that most in the industry can glean from it.

Valve is largely unresponsive these days, preferring to maintain near total silence, barring a few blog posts. The main blog post that accompanied the changes which effectively shut down SteamSpy made no specific reference to the key change in default privacy settings.

Galyonkin said that Steam didn't contact him beforehand: "Valve never informs anyone of any changes, so it's not surprising really. What they did was post it in their blog post, while rolling out their privacy changes. They made users' game libraries hidden by default and that's what makes SteamSpy operate. SteamSpy uses user libraries to understand what users have and then extrapolate data based on that. I don't know why they did it."

In fact, in three years Galyonkin has only received a single email from Valve about SteamSpy. Despite it being the most-widely quoted dataset in PC gaming market analysis.

He posited it might be a first move to come in line with upcoming GDPR restrictions, but then notes that seems unlikely as so much personal information is still available: "The user's real name, twitter handles and all this stuff. It's all exposed by default."
Read on.
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Old 04-15-2018, 10:25 AM   #2
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Valve is largely unresponsive these days, preferring to maintain near total silence
Valve has changed for the worse as they have grown larger and more powerful. Their sales suck, their communication sucks, their service has degraded.

Any large corporation, public or private, eventually succumbs to institutional gravity due to size and arrogance. IBM was once top dog. MySpace was huge. AOL was THE online portal to the Internet. Now it's companies like Facebook, Google, Apple. Their day will come too, lol, as will Valve's.
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Old 04-15-2018, 10:38 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Emabulator View Post
They made users' game libraries hidden by default and that's what makes SteamSpy operate.
SteamSpy uses user libraries to understand what users have and then extrapolate data based on that.
I like it being my decision
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Old 04-15-2018, 11:18 AM   #4
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I like it being my decision
This. Sorry steamspy but I really don't care that you can't see my shit.
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Old 04-15-2018, 11:54 AM   #5
HillTribe
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How would this be bad news? Some of our data is no longer publicly accessible by default? Sounds good to me.

If anything, they need to take it a step further.
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Old 04-15-2018, 12:07 PM   #6
MusicToEat
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I'd be willing to bet this is a lead up to Valve selling a similar service to developers.
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Old 04-15-2018, 12:14 PM   #7
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I'd be willing to bet this is a lead up to Valve selling a similar service to developers.
Yeah, I doubt protecting customer data was their main objective here, but with the recent wave of criticism of social media giants like Google and Facebook they do have a reasonable claim it was.

If they don't release an API and license it I'll be really surprised.
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Old 04-15-2018, 12:53 PM   #8
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The service was useful, but it also encouraged indie developers to clone the most popular games by looking at the trending sale charts rather than coming up with more original ideas. Maybe now people will have to rely on more intuition.
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Old 04-15-2018, 01:58 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Emabulator View Post
" I don't know why they did it."
Seriously? With all the flak certain other companies have been getting around privacy, they don't know why Valve increased the level of privacy of their service?

While I don't think Valve is entirely benevolent, I also don't think they make money from selling my data, so putting more controls in place, is a good thing.
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Old 04-15-2018, 04:19 PM   #10
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To be clear, Mr. Newell, should you be reading this, I will happily assist you developing a full portal complete with telematics, analytics, IOT and and customer metadata on your hybrid cloud.

Let's call it, http://dev.steampowered.com
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Old 04-15-2018, 06:27 PM   #11
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The service was useful, but it also encouraged indie developers to clone the most popular games by looking at the trending sale charts rather than coming up with more original ideas. Maybe now people will have to rely on more intuition.
This absolutely.

If the article isn't clear about it, the reason why this is a big deal for developers is because developers would look at what games and what features were selling well in order to plot how best to make their next game.

I personally used SteamSpy in order to tell how much King's Quest was selling. It was an amazing game and I wanted to see it succeed. But the idea that games are being made based on sales speculation is gross.
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Old 04-15-2018, 07:46 PM   #12
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But the idea that games are being made based on sales speculation is gross.
Do you understand capitalism? Do any of you? LOL! Companies take what sells and try to add their own improvements and value to it. That's how we progress toward better, cheaper products and services, through ruthless market competition. It's also how games have made such leaps and bounds in the past decades. Or, we can try it your way and have them emulate failure rather than success. Because...it wouldn't be gross then. :facepalm:

What I find disappointing about Steam is that they've just gotten fat and lazy. Their service hasn't tried to get my gaming dollars like it used to. Let's have another competitor come along and copy their best features, add their own, and beat them!

Oh...gross!
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Old 04-15-2018, 07:56 PM   #13
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Do you understand capitalism? Do any of you? LOL! Companies take what sells and try to add their own improvements and value to it. That's how we progress toward better, cheaper products and services, through ruthless market competition. It's also how games have made such leaps and bounds in the past decades. Or, we can try it your way and have them emulate failure rather than success. Because...it wouldn't be gross then. :facepalm:

What I find disappointing about Steam is that they've just gotten fat and lazy. Their service hasn't tried to get my gaming dollars like it used to. Let's have another competitor come along and copy their best features, add their own, and beat them!

Oh...gross!
Oh I absolutely understand capitalism. And I fully understand how. It often leads to things becoming worse.

This conversation regarding battlefield 2 is exactly that. Case in point.
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Old 04-15-2018, 11:48 PM   #14
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Hard for me to feel bad the tool which allows for market research without my permission is now busticated. Of course Steam still gets the info and it wouldn't surprise me if they started selling the info as a service. That's just what I expect from Valve, they're a business and they need to make their money.

I also agree they haven't tried hard to get me to buy things any more. The sales are anemic at best, they don't offer good value from their front page for me. It's just not my go-to anymore and I don't ever expect them to do anything with my best interest at heart. And woe be to those who do; they are in for disappointment.
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Old 04-16-2018, 02:42 AM   #15
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Oh I absolutely understand capitalism. And I fully understand how. It often leads to things becoming worse.

This conversation regarding battlefield 2 is exactly that. Case in point.
BF II is a case in point of capitalism working. A company thought they were big enough and/or had a property hot enough that they could do anything they wanted. The consumers roundly rejected that, and now EA is doing a course correction.

That's capitalism.
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Old 04-16-2018, 03:45 AM   #16
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BF II is a case in point of capitalism working. A company thought they were big enough and/or had a property hot enough that they could do anything they wanted. The consumers roundly rejected that, and now EA is doing a course correction.

That's capitalism.
The course correction is lip service. This is the same stuff that EA has been doing for decades. It’s the exact same reason why Dragon Age has sucked since the first game, why Mass Effect changed genres after the first game and sucked after the second game, and why EA has left behind a graveyard of classic franchises from Deadspace to Ultima to Dungeon Keeper.

I mean, feel free to think that this means EA has “learned their lesson”. But if they haven’t in 15 years, I can’t inagine why they would now. The “we’re sorry we changed everything people love about the series in order to make a few extra dollars” apology is basically a form letter for them now. Just insert the title of the new game.
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Old 04-16-2018, 03:50 AM   #17
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I would be shocked if Steam sells such a service to anyone. It just wouldn't be worth it for them to engage in such a low revenue venture.

On a side note before steamspy came out I made a much more accurate version of it that queried a random sample of like 10 million users a day and extrapolated how much money every game made every day and then we used it to buy like 40 underperforming indie games.

It was actually really hard to get sql to handle that many writes per second and I ended up building a server just to do it.

I even looked at selling my system and took some meetings with data firms and it just doesn't have enough value. I'm sure valve already knows that it isn't worth much.
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Old 04-16-2018, 04:33 AM   #18
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Hard for me to feel bad the tool which allows for market research without my permission is now busticated.
I'm not sure I follow this argument. You could always set your profile to private, couldn't you? I'm fairly sure I did that when I first set up my Steam account. The point is: Many people nowadays simply don't care about their privacy or even WANT the world to see what they're doing. These are the customers you can rely on, and their anonymous info helped many, many people in the games industry.

I miss SteamSpy already. I'm working for a games publisher in acquisition and especially evaluation, and SteamSpy was such a great, widely respected tool. It really cut down on crappy pitches when you could point to the sales numbers of comparable games and tell an indie dev: "Look, we like your game, it's cute and colorful. But games X and Y only sold around 50,000 units at 20 to 10 dollars, despite re-defining the genre your title falls into. Both games had free week-ends, which is why only half of their 'owners' actually played them. Therefore, we wish you the best of luck, but 2 million dollars is just too much to ask, even if they're Canadian."
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Old 04-16-2018, 09:58 AM   #19
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My view of Valve is a bunch of millionaire employees sitting around watching Steam profits roll in, never having to answer to shareholders or anyone, playing foosball all day at the office, if they even show up. Probably got scared at the Facebook thing and someone decided to protect the cash cow.
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Old 04-17-2018, 02:54 AM   #20
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Steam is an online store, why does Valve have to do anything for you all other than show you shelf space?
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