A new update to Steam's privacy settings has effectively killed off third-party stat tracking tool, Steam Spy, by making it impossible to gather the data it needs to operate.
Valve's latest change to its Steam platform is one designed to enhance the privacy of its users, by making the public sharing of stats like games owned, wishlists, game purchases and playtimes private by default. It's now opt-in, to share it, rather than opt-out. That's great for privacy and for those who would rather not dig through menus to turn off the public sharing, but terrible for services like Steam Spy.
Steam Spy is a tool that's been around since 2015 and aggregates information about the number of game purchases, the types of games people, buy, new genre trends, playtimes and a whole lot more. That data will have to be largely historic moving forward though, as without easy access to game profiles, Steam Spy cannot operate as it once did. Although there will no doubt be some users who will opt-in to the sharing of information, that won't be a large enough sample size to draw form. Likewise, those who specifically choose to do so may have a profile of their own, which wouldn't make Steam Stats' statistics representative of the entire Steam user base.
Valve made the announcement in the early hours of this morning, alongside the promise of new, additional privacy measures coming in the future. Alongside the new hidden information, Valve is looking to introduce a new "invisible" mode, which will allow gamers to enjoy all of the benefits of online Steam usage, without having to appear online to friends and family. That way you can buy games and play them without anyone knowing, if you so wish.