A privacy update that hit Steam — the largest digital video gaming store and service in the world — on Tuesday hid everyone’s gaming libraries by default, also knocking out the ability for third-party websites and services to track gaming trends on the service.
The issue, as he notes, isn’t that Steam has added the new functionality, it’s that the service sets all users’ libraries of games and gameplay statistics private by default. Steam creator Valve did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Today’s update to Steam is designed to expand the profile privacy settings page for steam, “giving you more control over the privacy of your Steam account. With more detailed descriptions of what profile information is included in each category, you will be able to manage how you are viewed by your friends, or the wider Steam Community,” a blog post on Steam reads.
The new settings allow users to select who can view their profile’s “game details,” which includes the list of games a person has purchased or wish-listed, along with achievements and playtime. This setting also controls whether a player is seen as “in-game” and the title of the game they are playing. Players will also now have the option to keep their total game playtime private. Valve is also looking into a new “invisible” mode in addition to the already existing “online,” “away,” and “offline” presence options. Invisible will allow a user to appear as offline, but still be able to view friends’ lists and send and receive messages.
The new features, according to Valve, come directly from user feedback. It’s unclear what spurred the decision to make everyone’s gaming libraries hidden by default, instead of requiring a user to select that option.