Valve to Make Its Own “More Accurate” Steam Spy

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During this year’s White Nights conference, Valve hinted that they would be creating their own version of Steam Spy.

The original Steam Spy was started by Sergey Galyonkin- a Twitter account that used API data (application programming interface) to roughly calculate how many sales a game had on Steam. On April 11th 2018, Valve updated Steam so that the information of what games users owned was private- unless opted otherwise by the user.

This effectively killed the original method of how Steam Spy worked. Galyonkin announced on his Medium website that after an outcry of support from developers he created a new algorithm. However he was not happy with how accurate it was. “Not very accurate, to be honest. I have the data for around 70 games from different developers, and for 90% of them, the new Steam Spy is within 10% margin of error. But I also saw some crazy outliers, where the difference between the estimates and the real data could be fivefold.”

Valve presented at White Nights Game Business Conference for Games Industry on June 28th in St.Petersburg. When asked about Steam Spy during a Q & A segment, Valve’s head of business development Jan-Peter Ewert said:

“Our general approach has always been to provide open APIs so that when we don’t offer the amount of tools that we should, the community can step in. We are very much working on new tools and new ways of getting data out of Steam, and we hope that data can be more accurate and more useful than what Steam Spy previously offered you.”

Galyonkin tweeted his support for the move, stating “The reason I opened Steam Spy to everyone was to let smaller developers make informed decisions based on data and to remove some of the information asymmetry that is so pervasive in our industry. Naturally, I am excited by Valve’s decision to offer a better version of Steam Spy.”

What do you all think? Do you feel Valve’s own “spy” will be accurate, or do you trust a third party more? Sound off in the comment below.

Ryan Pearson

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Taking his first steps onto Route 1 and never stopping, Ryan has had a love of RPGs since a young age. Now he's learning to appreciate a wider pallet of genres and challenges.