Beyond that, an independent option to hide total playtime for games regardless of other privacy settings has also been made available. These cards are like a virtual currency and can be used to customise Steam avatars, background profile and unlock new emoticons which can then be used during in-game chats.
Like many Steam features, these privacy options come directly from user feedback.
Sergey Galyonkin's Steam Spy, a site which scrapes data from Steam in order to display generalised statistics including sales volume and play time, has discovered an issue Valve failed to mention in its announcement, however: The new default is to hide game ownership information from public view until and unless the user chooses otherwise. Unfortunately, one side effect of these changes means the end of the Steam Spy service.
All that's changed with an expanded selection of profile privacy settings, which switches the Steam ecosystem's default preference from public to private for all of its 150 million user accounts worldwide. That way you can buy games and play them without anyone knowing, if you so wish.
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. In Valve's own words, this is so that "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". Now we won't be able to get the same kind of detailed information we were previously able to. Thanks to a series of user privacy settings brought into motion by Steam, the very fabric of the game streaming platform that SteamSpy utilized to harvest its valuable data has been obliterated.
The post adds: "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". But with Valve's newly announced adjustments to Steam profile privacy settings, what games are in your library will now be hidden by default. Sometimes you're feeling social, and sometimes you're not; this setting should help Steam users be social on their own terms. In the future, invisible will let you appear offline, but still access friends list features.