Steam Spy has restored sales data that it had previously removed due to developer request.
Steam Spy is a service that gathers certain data from the Steam API and organizes it in an easy-to-read fashion. At the most basic level it lists the number of owners and players based on its interpretation of that data along with a margin of error. Each game has a more detailed page of stats such as this one for Metrico+ (a game recently reviewed by TechRaptor). The service anonymously gathers data once per minute from Steam user accounts and extrapolates ownership from there. The calculations require at least three days to make a good estimate and so the numbers are especially inaccurate for recently released games. Steam Spy is still in beta and the about page stipulates that the data “isn’t 100% correct” and provides further information on methodology.
Previously, Steam Spy developer Sergey Galyonkin would remove data from a game if a developer requested that they do so. Squad (developers of Kerbal Space Program) and Paradox Interactive (publishers of games such as Cities: Skylines and Stellaris) had data on their games removed. However, recent tweets from the official Steam Spy account have indicated a change in course. After receiving a request from Techland (developers of Dead Island and Dying Light) to remove their games Mr. Galyonkin has decided to restore all previously removed data and no longer honor removal requests in the future.
Sergei Galyonkin made it clear on Twitter that Steam Spy’s data is simply an estimate:
Steam Spy estimates data like polls estimate the number of people that would vote for a candidate. It’s not legally binding to anyone.
Users don’t seem to be terribly upset by the change. Steam Spy usually processes around 2 million requests per day and the recently greater-than-expected load caused the site to go offline for a short time. It has returned to normal operation at the time of writing.
As for any concerns of potential damage to the industry, the following tweet from the official account nicely summarizes Mr. Galyonkin’s perspective on the matter:
The fact that movie industry hasn't collapsed despite releasing box office numbers gives me faith that games industry will survive as well )
— Steam Spy (@Steam_Spy) August 25, 2016
What do you think of Steam Spy as a tool? Should they remove their sales data estimates upon developer request as they have done previously or should they ignore said requests? Let us know in the comments below!