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Recently, Steam Spy made the decision to change their policy regarding removing games at developer request. This happened as a consequence of Techland (Dying LightDead Island) requesting that their games be removed, becoming the second “large” company to do so after Paradox Interactive did earlier this year. Feeling that it was not in the best interest of users and the industry as a whole, Steam Spy creator Sergey Galyonkin made a decision to end the removal of games from Steam Spy and reversed his decision on previous games he had removed. 

The decision, while widely reported on, appeared to largely go without much in the way of controversy overall. That was until this morning when Game Informer’s Mike Futter began a discussion on Twitter with the following tweet:

The discussion continued from there with Sergey mentioning that advertising that fact could also put them in danger, if the visibility did indeed put them in danger, as Squad has indicated before that they feared their safety and prompted the request. Sergey confirmed in our interview that was indeed what Squad had told him.

Most of the discussion can basically be summed up in the following tweets:

UMG’s Kevin Dent chimed in around this time, discussing some of the financial implications of posting the numbers, and the fact that posting numbers of publicly trading companies (such as Paradox) can have particular rules and disclosure requirements. Sergey reiterated that Steam Spy is not a financial data tool and has no financial data in it. Steam Spy doesn’t report on purchases, nor at the price they are made, which makes any attempt to use it for financial data a case of guesswork that has to be done using other sources and a high margin of error.

One thing that got a lot of interest from people following the situation was Sergey’s comment that TechLand and Paradox had abused the system. There was also discussion here if there had been conditions of being removed, particularly inquired by Kevin Dent. As for why Sergey felt it was abuse, I inquired further about that in our interview below.

All of this was surrounded by other people talking and brought a lot of questions up: should Steam Spy honor removal requests, what changed Sergey’s mind about the situation, and what did he think about this latest “controversy”? To find out more, we reached out to Sergey to talk about the situation, as well as some of the statistics and methodology Steam Spy uses.

If you want to find the talk Sergey mentioned in the video, there is a written version using the same ideas over on his medium blog entitled “Understanding your game through data.” The podcast referenced, which is in Russian and thus incomprehensible to me, is available here.

What do you think of this situation? Do you think Sergey was right to restore games or did he put developers at risk? Do you use Steam Spy, and if so, what for? Share your thoughts in the comments below!


Don Parsons

News Editor

I've been a gamer for years of various types starting with the Sega Genesis and Shining Force when I was young. If I'm not playing video games, I'm often roleplaying, reading, writing, or pondering things brought up by speculative fiction.



  • DynastyStar

    holy crap! the link to the article was actually linked!

  • Heavily Augmented

    I feel like I’m either missing some sort of context or these journalists are acting like idiots. Seriously, what the hell’s the issue with giving sales data of games?

  • IIRC, the context is that the Kerbal Space Program devs are headquartered in Mexico. The success of the game means they have a good bit of money. The argument is that if people know how much money they’ve made it would make them vulnerable to extortion, kidnapping, etc.

    I kinda find it ridiculous overall, TBH. Steam Spy shows ownership, not sales data. If you got KSP for $10 on sale or in a bundle it’s still shown as 1 owner. Hypothetically, 100 copies at $10 each doesn’t mean the dev has made $1,000. It just means that 100 people own the game, roughly.

    Personally, I’d think if there was a serious enough concern about this they should consider taking some of the massive pile of cash they’re sitting on and moving somewhere where this isn’t an issue.

  • c4ptchunk

    Would somebody please think of the children?! Oh, I mean developers. If the developers are that successful and fear for their lives because of their success, they should move. These journalists are a joke for attacking steamspy.

  • coboney

    Huh?

  • DynastyStar

    I’m so used to the youtube video not having the link to the article in the description that its a surprise to see it there for once xD Otherwise I have to go to the website, try to find which article it was used for, perhaps by doing a search.

    Edit: Although, looking back through previous videos, it appears that the articles are linked. Maybe I just get to them too quickly and the video has to be uploaded before the article is posted. Could that be it?

  • coboney

    I try to when I can – I put in the link after we got it up there

  • DynastyStar

    cool 🙂

  • Toastrider

    In defense, Mexico really is a shitty place at this point. They should seriously consider moving somewhere else.

  • Hat

    Wouldn’t Mexicans know that they were successful by the fact that their game is extremely popular on Steam? This all seems silly.

  • Sarusig Musicman

    No no see, it’s game journalists trying to pathetically reclaim ethics. That’s ethics. The real ethics. You know, hiding data so that only they can have access to it through their connections, and use it in “exclusive” articles. That’s true ethics.

  • Schiller

    Why does Film stuidos have to report a box office but video game studios don’t have to report anything?

  • I’m Mexican. Kidnapping for ransom is a real thing, but these usually happen to company or store owners who have a heeeeeeeeell of a lot of money. Compared to them, Squad doesn’t really make that much (due to all the taxes, salaries, Steam fees, etc. they have to pay.)

    Unless they’re going around flaunting the fact that they have a lot of money by doing stupid stuff like buying new cars or bragging about it on the internet, they’re safe. Very few kidnappers are actually interested in the tech sector, especially when it comes to computers and games. They know very well that they don’t make that much money. They target people who make REAL money, like factory and business owners, store managers, bank executives, politicians, and so on.

    So that tweet by Mike Futter will bring more attention to Squad than anything SteamSpy could ever do. Because SteamSpy is a site used mostly by enthusiasts, while Mike Futter is a journalist who will be quoted and repeated by lots and lots of news sources, including Mexican ones.

    He done fucked up baaaaaaaaaaad.

  • Juan

    Kerbal devs have money, so just move from the SHITHOLE called Mexico and done!

  • #AYYTEAMLMAO

    that’s what i though
    a lot of people just fled the country after 2014 into warm places where government helped them instead of harassing

  • #AYYTEAMLMAO

    what else would you expect from “journalists” who never graduated and in fact just glorified humanities bloggers working in pizzerias?

    journalists hi-ed includes courses on ethics and laws

  • #AYYTEAMLMAO

    vote hillary it’s the only ethical thing to do! just ask “journalists”

  • #AYYTEAMLMAO

    transparency is always good

  • JackZFlipper

    That and they developers living style being better.

    All that moronic tweet did was bring more attention to them. Now the Mexican Cartels will most likely hear about this.

  • Android App

    He is dead right, people should have a place to go that shows us past all the hype and waffle.