Following the seeming demise of SteamSpy, many in the industry are trying to figure out just how to estimate how well games are doing and briefly it looked like we had a solution.
The End is Nigh developer Tyler Glaiel posted on Medium on June 29th a method by which he was able to fairly accurately estimate sales for titles. This was inspired by barter.vg which was using the percentage of users who had obtained a certain achievement to figure out total sales data.
The indie dev goes into some pretty big detail to explain his working - and the full post can be read here. Glaiel even gave the code to SteamSpy creator Sergey Galyonkin who incorporated it into his site's data retrieval.
But - and you saw this one coming - as of today (Wednesday, July 7th, Valve appears to have closed off this method by rounding up numbers in its API.
All of which points to Steam not wanting anyone else guessing how well particular games are doing. Previously, SteamSpy was forced to maybe shut down after Valve made changes to the way that profiles worked on its platform. Previously, the data firm had relied on being able to gleen sales data from public profiles.
That does now appear to be an excuse - something Glaiel himself has said on Twitter (below).
I'm not really surprised but it does kinda show that their GDPR excuse for killing off steamspy was just an excuse. and also their "steamspy wasn't accurate enough" statement recently.— Tyler Glaiel (@TylerGlaiel) July 4, 2018
they should just be forward about it and stop making us guess what they will and wont allow
Valve says it is working on a means of sharing sales data in a way that is better than SteamSpy, something this industry sorely needs.
When speaking about Valve's own data solution a biz dev rep said that the main concern about third-party solutions was that they were not accurate. By Galyonkin's own admission, SteamSpy was never accurate, but Valve does have a point; we need accurate sales info for - in particular - smaller developers to judge how games are doing.
If Valve is going to bring down the hammer on every single means of approximating sales, then it needs to bring out its own solution - and fast.
Oh, and while we're here, check out this savage burn from Vlambeer's Rami Ismail.
Based on how fast Valve shut down the method of estimating player numbers through achievement data, I suggest someone figure out a way to extrapolate sales data from toxic community forums on Steam.— Rami Ismail (@tha_rami) July 4, 2018