PC GAMING PLATFORM STEAM has adjusted its privacy settings allow users to hide information on the games they own.
If users are embarrassed about ploughing 1,000 hours into Farming Simulator or don't want to compromise their proclaimed prowess at shooters by revealing they have no achievements in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, then they can choose to hide those games and accompanying statistics from public view.
"You can now select who can view your profile's "game details"; which includes the list of games you have purchased or wishlisted, along with achievements and playtime. This setting also controls whether you're seen as "in-game" and the title of the game you are playing," said Steam owner Valve.
This will basically stop snooping on people's profiles to note that they've put literal days into near-addictive games like Dota 2.
However, this simple change also renders game stats site Stream Spy pretty much moot, as the data it will need to operate will be blocked off.
"Valve just made a change to their privacy settings, making games owned by Steam users hidden by default," explained the Steam Spy Twitter account. "Steam Spy relied on this information being visible by default and won't be able to operate anymore."
Valve just made a change to their privacy settings, making games owned by Steam users hidden by default.— Steam Spy (@Steam_Spy) April 11, 2018
Steam Spy relied on this information being visible by default and won't be able to operate anymore.https://t.co/0ejZgRQ6Kd
Users can reverse the new default settings, but we suspect people will probably not think to do that unless prompted, even though Steam Spy is a popular tool.
Valve is also making it easier for people to lurk on Stream without giving away their presence to friends and contacts hungry for some jolly co-operative gaming or fiercely competitive multiplayer action, thanks to the addition of an "invisible" mode in the options that show the status of a user's presence on the Steam platform.
"If you choose to set yourself to invisible, you'll appear as offline, but you'll still be able to view your friends list, send and receive messages. Sometimes you're feeling social, and sometimes you're not; this setting should help Steam users be social on their own terms. We hope to have this feature ready for beta release soon," explained Valve.
These privacy changes have apparently been fuelled by user feedback, but we suspect that the current furore surrounding Facebook's data privacy and the Cambridge Analytica scandal is prompting tech and online service companies to take a closer look at how they deal with privacy and data pertaining to their users. µ
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