Steam has long sought to strike the right balance between convenience, community, and private refuge. Until recently, sharing your gaming history was either public, exclusive to your friends, or turned off entirely. A screenshot from a noted Steam watcher suggests that a “Mark as Private” option could be coming for individual games that you’re not keen on anyone, including friends, knowing you’ve put some time into.
Posting on X (formerly Twitter), Pavel Djundik, creator of the Steam insight tool SteamDB, shows options on the three-dot menu to the right of a game, with the last being “Mark as Private.” A tooltip on the option reads, “Mark this game as private and hide it from my friends.” Djundik’s example is Counter-Strike 2, which, perhaps in some circles, is a game worth hiding.
Some folks may be concerned to show the massive hour counts they’ve put into certain games. Others might be concerned about certain obsessive or ignoble achievements in games standing out in their timeline. More likely, of course, are the kinds of adult and fetish games with which Steam has a highly confusing relationship. The replies to Djundik’s tweet suggest that people get this, though they also have some suggestions about other refinements, like finer-grained friend management tools.
At the moment, the “Privacy Settings” for Steam profiles let you choose between three levels that affect all the games you play: Public, Friends Only, and Private. You can set your profile, game details, friends list, “inventory” (those strange playing cards), comments, and screenshots to each of these settings. But soon, it seems, you can share most of your gaming life with friends, or the whole web, while certain games are just for you. It would be beneficial if you could set the privacy in place straight from the purchase page, as adding a game to your inventory is another thing Steam often broadcasts.
“Private” settings on Steam have previously had some problems, as Ars reported in 2013. Over time, Valve shifted to a “private by default” stance, incidentally eliminating sales and playtime data tools like Steam Spy. It’s unclear whether a private setting for games will affect statistics-keeping tools like SteamDB or sales of adult-minded games, generally.