Indie game Geneshift, by developer Nik Nak Studios, took the 10th spot on Steam’s most played games when bots pushed the player count to 216k.
An Indie Developer named Nik Nak Studios developed a tiny GTA2-inspired shooter called Geneshift. The game recently took the 10th spot on the Steam’s most played games list.
Ben, the Nik Nak Studios developer, has been working on ‘Geneshift’ for 9 years. It was recently when he saw a popularity spike in battle royale games that he decided to develop a version of it for his game and for promotion he decided to give it away on Steam. After some convincing, Valve eventually allowed him to conduct a giveaway on their platform. He further shared the game for free in a Reddit post on /r/gaming with this gif.
This Reddit post eventually made it to the front page of Reddit and suddenly the indie game was booming with a 9000% increase in traffic. But it wasn’t just Redditors playing the game but a large number of bots too. Geneshift normally costs 10$ on the Steam store, so it was possible for players to farm trading cards on the game. This isn’t possible on the free to play games on Steam but because of the giveaway and the publicity on Reddit, Geneshift caught the attention of a bot network. These bots are specifically designed to idle in games and farm thousands of trading cards across multiple accounts. The farmed cards are then sold for a few cents for a profit.
While the giveaway was active, Valve noticed the fiasco and manually disabled trading cards for Geneshift. This was Valve’s attempt to stop the bots and it worked. After disabling trading cards the player base on the game plummeted by a significant number. But not before the game reached a peak player count of around 213k concurrent players. The same was done with the Sins of a Solar Empire who were running a giveaway at the same time. However, as soon as this happened there was a spike in negative reviews on Geneshift since players were confused as to why they had lost their cards and assumed it was done by the game developer.