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Valve working on something "better than Steam Spy"

"The only way that we can make money is if you make good decisions"

Whether or not Steam's Web API shift weakening SteamSpy's sales data was intentional or not, Valve seems like they intend to capitalize on it. At White Nights 18 in St. Petersburg, Valve business development head Jan-Peter Ewert said the company was working on a "better" version of Steam Spy.

Steam Spy is a website that, until recently, offered fairly accurate data on game sales, installs, and audiences that it pulled directly from Steam. This information was useful for developers and publishers, who could gauge where audience interest was at a given time and use it to make good decisions about what to develop and how. However, in April, an update to Steam's Web API caused the service to shut down, as it was no longer able to pull its data accurately from the platform. Shortly after, creator Sergey Galyonkin was able to bring back the service in a limited capacity, but its ultimate future at the mercy of Valve was uncertain.

At the talk, Ewert was asked by head of business development for HeroCraft Michael Kuzmin if Valve had any plans or ideas for providing developers with the sales analytics tools that Steam Spy is known for. Ewert acknowledged that Valve did not currently offer the sales data tools that it could, but also criticized SteamSpy for inaccuracies. Kuzmin stopped him briefly, noting that developers understood the inaccuracies but found the predictions helpful.

Ewert replied, "I'm essentially trying to explain why we think you need something better than Steam Spy. So, to be clear, we don't have a business selling iPhones. The only way we make money is if you make good decisions in bringing the right games to the platform, and finding your audience. So, yes, 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."

Slides from the presentation shared by Steam Spy also revealed some interesting tidbits about the Steam Direct program, which was shown to be up to 180 game releases per week compared to Greenlight's 70. In addition to all these new developers, Steam is also bringing in lots of new players--the platform saw 13.5 million first-time Steam purchasers from January to April this year.

The celebrations of numbers may have also included a nod to recent controversies about what games Steam will and won't allow on its platform. While noting that "Great games find their audience" and that Steam does not "pick winners and losers" as reasons for up and coming developers to put their games on Steam, one bullet point also mentioned that Steam is "not the taste police."

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Rebekah Valentine avatar
Rebekah Valentine: Rebekah arrived at GamesIndustry in 2018 after four years of freelance writing and editing across multiple gaming and tech sites. When she's not recreating video game foods in a real life kitchen, she's happily imagining herself as an Animal Crossing character.
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