Valve Corporation, the company behind the gaming website Steam, recently pulled a game from their store called Abstractism. Many customers have been complaining about the game’s performance and compared its metrics with other, more heavy games that would require the use of such resources. Apparently, Abstractism was mining monero from gamers.
Abstractism is a simple game in which you control a bunch of pixels and try to carry it successfully to the other end of the level. In this case, you are managing a square in a black and white environment. So all you had to do, is make sure that the black square would jump from one wall to the other. The game was simple, cheap, and entertaining enough to attract a huge number of people. Just like Flappy birds, except people needed to buy Abstractism to play it.
The game was retailing at $0.99 which is definitely cheap and on top of that, there was a 51% special promotion going on until 2nd August. But because of the monero mining issue, the game has been pulled from the store, and Steam also went as far as to ban the game publishers as well, Okalu Union and dead.team.
The interesting thing is that even though people were only able to confirm that the game publishers were mining monero through Abstractism, there is very little reason why people should believe that there aren’t any hidden mining software in their other games. And why I say this, is because there are still some of their apps available on the Google Play Store.
When I tried to do some research for this article, I couldn’t find any official websites of Okalu Union. I was able to find the official website of dead.team, however, it was clear that they chose not to put a lot of effort into the website. It is a very minimal website and their official page only has two entries, both of which were made all the way back in 2017.
Players first noticed that something was up with the game when they started noticing that the game was using enormous amounts of CPU and GPU resources. This is a huge red flag that we all have grown used to spot by now. And obviously, one of the customers to it to the developers to ask why that was the case, while others accused them of crypto jacking.
The company replied to those customer questions with a joke saying that “Bitcoin is outdated, we currently use Abstractism to mine only Monero coins.
Abstractism does not mine any of cryptocurrency. Probably, you are playing on high graphics settings, because they take a bit of CPU and GPU power, required for post-processing effects rendering.”
But the customers still weren’t satisfied with that response.
The last straw came when Abstractism started selling game items that resembled rare artifacts in other games. Several players bought some of these rare items only to find out that they cannot be used in Abstractism, nor can they be used in other games. I think this was just another opportunity that the developer saw to make a quick buck besides mining Monero.