Valve working on “more accurate” replacement for Steam Spy’s sales data

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(credit: Sam Machkovech)

In April, Valve rolled out a privacy policy change that effectively hobbled Steam Spy in its Ars Technica-inspired method for estimating game sales data based on public user profile information. Now, Valve Head of Business Development Jan-Peter Ewert says the company is "working on new tools and new ways of getting data out of Steam" that the company hopes will be "more accurate and more useful than what Steam Spy previously offered."
In a Q&A session following a presentation at St. Petersburg's White Nights games business conference (as captured by Oleg Chumakov on Twitter), Ewert said that Steam's general position is to "provide open APIs so that when we don't offer the amount of tools that we should, the community can step in." In Steam Spy's case, however, randomly sampling user data from that API to extrapolate sales data led to "a broad variance in how accurate it was. It was very accurate for some things but very inaccurate for others."
That said, Ewert explained that he felt Steam's game makers need "something better than Steam Spy" to help them track sales and popularity trends in the Steam marketplace. "To be clear, we don't have a business selling iPhones," Ewert said in apparent contrast to Apple's model of App Store downloads supporting hardware sales. "The only way we make money is if you make good decisions in bringing the right games to the platform and finding your audience."

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