Steam Game That Used Players’ Computers to Mine Cryptocurrency Removed
Abstractism, a simple indie platformer, has been removed from Steam following allegations that the game was infiltrating players’ computers by means of a crypto mining malware.
Originally marketed as a relaxing platformer, Abstractism began to generate controversy once YouTuber SidAlpha noticed that the game was tied to an item scam.
SidAlpha is known for having previously unraveled a scam involving cheaply made games by Silicon Echo Studios, which had been taking advantage of the Steam Direct program as a means of generating a quick profit from users. The titles were removed last September following verification that the developers manipulated the Steam Marketplace.
This time around, SidAlpha noticed that the Steam Marketplace was suddenly flooded with items from Abstractism that closely resembled those of other games, which sparked the initial concerns. The game was offering the sale of bogus items that were mistaken for rare items found in Team Fortress 2.
One player purchased what was marketed as a rare rocket launcher from Team Fortress 2 that featured an identical thumbnail and description as that of the official item. However, upon purchasing the falsified item for $100, the user found he had been scammed. When pressed on the issue, developer Okalo Union provided conflicting statements. Initially, the now deleted comment stated, “Bitcoin is outdated. We currently use Abstractism to mine only Monero coins.” A subsequent statement claimed, “Abstractism does not mine any cryptocurrency.”
Okalo Union encouraged players to keep the game running in the background of their other tasks at all times, which is an efficient method of giving hackers more time to mine. The game often utilized massive amounts of CPU and GPU power, which the Abstractism developers claim was due to the game’s “high graphics settings” that were uncharacteristic for a platformer that sports a simple design.
Valve removed Abstractism from Steam shortly following SidAlpha’s video without providing an official statement.