Valve has extended the Steam privacy settings giving users more control over what’s visible to other Steam users.

The new settings allow users to lock-down a lot more in their profiles, especially when it comes to game details including specific game play time, total game play time, achievements, games that have been wishlisted and whether you can be seen as in-game.

Looking ahead, a new invisible mode is also coming which will allow you to appear offline but still carry out tasks such as viewing the friends list and sending and receiving messages. There are some welcome additions in this latest update but it is likely to affect SteamSpy which is not good news if you use the data site. It’s also worth noting that your data is now hidden by default.

Update: It looks like it could now be the end of the road for SteamSpy which is not good news for developers that benefited from the data. It appears old data will be kept online but no new data will be made public as the margin of error would be too large based on data that is available.

The full update from Valve reads:

Today’s update expands on your Profile Privacy Settings Page, giving you more control over the privacy of your Steam account. With more detailed descriptions of what profile information is included in each category, you will be able to manage how you are viewed by your friends, or the wider Steam Community.

You can now select who can view your profile’s “game details”; which includes the list of games you have purchased or wishlisted, along with achievements and playtime. This setting also controls whether you’re seen as “in-game” and the title of the game you are playing.

Additionally, regardless of which setting you choose for your profile’s game details, you now have the option to keep your total game playtime private. You no longer need to nervously laugh it off as a bug when your friends notice the 4,000+ hours you’ve put into Ricochet.

Looking ahead a little, we are also working on a new “invisible” mode in addition to the already existing “online”, “away” and “offline” presence options. If you choose to set yourself to invisible, you’ll appear as offline, but you’ll still be able to view your friends list, send and receive messages. Sometimes you’re feeling social, and sometimes you’re not; this setting should help Steam users be social on their own terms. We hope to have this feature ready for beta release soon.

Like many Steam features, these privacy options come directly from user feedback. If you would like to join that conversation, as always, we welcome you to visit the Steam Discussions and add your feedback.

Paul Younger
Founder and Editor of PC Invasion. Founder of the world's first gaming cafe and Veteran PC gamer of over 22 years.

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