Steam has confirmed the removal of Okalo Union’s title Abstractism as it was secretly farming cryptocurrency behind the scenes. But it wasn’t brought to light by fans of the game, but rather, famed YouTuber SidAlpha that revealed the devious scheme that was well underway.
When it comes to using Steam, you may be rather used to the flood of indie titles that release on a weekly basis. Game development isn’t exactly a triple “A” affair in the modern day in age. Steam isn’t a stranger to this by any means. They’re used to seeing more than 20+ indie games release a week and somewhere between 200 and 300 titles in a single month.
However, it’s hard to keep track of exactly what features the games have, what is going on behind the scenes, and what exactly developers are doing with their background processes. This issue was brought to light by popular YouTuber SidAlpha who begun to dig through one specific title that seemed a little off based on user reports. The reports came forth after users claimed that developer Okalo Union was ripping a user off by disguising a single game item as a rarer drop versus being openly available for users to obtain.
But it wasn’t until that very report that things began to really blow up and SidAlpha began to really tear into what was going on. You can find SidAlpha’s video here, but be warned, there is are dumb and uncalled for homophobic jokes by developer Okalo Union in the video. However, for those of you not wanting to watch the video, let’s break it down for you.
The developer decided to set up an elaborate scheme with their game, which involved dropping items at a rather frequent rate, usually around seven items per week, each of them would scale in rarity based on how long the game had been running over the course of the week.
This encouraged players to keep the game running in the background on a consistent basis so that they could earn as rare as items as possible before selling them on the Steam marketplace. SidAlpha even points out that the game wasn’t just running itself, but rather, it was also running more services than needed in order for it to work. Ultimately, this makes a great argument that the game is/was mining for cryptocurrency behind the scenes.
After SidAlpha and others made the report and brought these problems to light, Valve has come into agreement with the community and has since removed the game from the store and banned Okalo Union from Steam altogether. This removal comes shortly after Valve clarified their Steam content policies, which revealed they would be a lot more hands-off than ever before and would allow anything on Steam unless it was illegal and or trolling by any manner.
However, these new policies make things a bit harder to really understand what is and is not allowed on Steam. If you were to go by Steam’s latest guidelines, Okalo Union didn’t break Steam’s content guidelines, which leaves them completely in the clear. While Okalo Union was completely morally and ethically wrong as well as completely fraudulent, they really didn’t break the rules according to Valve’s latest guidelines for titles released on Steam.
Ever since the release of their latest policies, Valve has had to remove several games after user complaints, meaning that no one besides Valve, or Valve, actually has any clue to what their current content policy is and who it is set to protect. This approach only makes things tougher on Valve themselves as users will have to now be more vigilante about downloading games like Abstractism or any game of the sort.
Sadly, many may be in agreement with SidAlpha who believes this new method of recursive drops and crypto-mining will be the new age of asset flips as a money-making scheme on Steam. If so, this isn’t the first game we’ll see taking this approach and it certainly won’t be the last. The only downside to this all? Users will now need to be more proactive about the games they do and do not purchase.
When it comes to the safety of our readers, we always urge you to pay attention to what the terms and services for a game have. We also urge that you always look at the developer’s history. If they release a lot of games on Steam rather rapidly, it may not be obvious, but sometimes, just sometimes, that’s how incidents like this arise. We always urge you to keep your anti-virus and computer protection software up to date.
bout the Writer(s):
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter or Facebook.