If you check Steam’s most played records, you won’t be shocked to see plenty of wildly popular titles. Topping the list is PUBG, shortly followed by Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
Get further down the list though, to number ten, you will find something rather more obscure, the GTA-inspired indie game Geneshift.
Geneshift is a top-down shooter created in the mold of Grand Theft Auto 2, devised and created by a single developer by the name of Ben Johnson. Johnson started work on his passion project while traveling abroad and the game slowly took shape over nine years of work.
Yesterday, Johnson added a battle royale mode to the game, and unleashed his creation on Reddit, making the game free for a limited time. The post exploded, earning a whopping 65.8K upvotes and hitting the front page of r/gaming.
Johnson was stunned to see just how many players had dropped into his game and it wasn’t long before his servers were crashing under the weight of all the new players. The game now sits at tenth on Steam’s most played games, boasting a peak of 213,182 players (just below For Honor’s 216,499), but perhaps not for the reasons he hoped.
It turns out, that Geneshift would still allow players to earn Steam Trading Cards, something which is not usually possible in free-to-play games. A bot network soon caught wind of the game and descended upon it, idling in the game to farm trading cards which could then be sold on for a few cents profit each.
It wasn’t long before Valve noticed the nefarious activity and disabled trading cards in Geneshift and Sins of a Solar Empire, which also running a giveaway at the time.
Naturally, some players were confused by this and have left negative reviews for Geneshift but this could be seen as a small price to pay for all the extra publicity Johnson’s shooter has gained as a result of the debacle.