As ‘Banana’ Tops 400,000 Concurrent Players, Will Steam Step In?

If you’ve been paying attention to the most-played games on Steam lately, you have no doubt seen a strange one. That would be “Banana” a game where you…click a banana. And that’s it. That’s all it is.

But now Banana has crossed 420,000 concurrent players as of an hour ago and things are spiraling a bit, given the reason players are playing, and who is actually playing it. Namely, a zillion bots.

The game is a money printer. After enough clicking you will earn banana “skins” in the game, and because of the ability to sell those a-la-Counterstrike, you can earn actual money just from those clicks. While most skins might sell for three cents, some prices have increased to dozens or even hundreds of dollars. The record right now appears to be $1,345.

The problem is that the vast majority of those playing are bots, something developer team member Hery admitted to Polygon:

“Unfortunately we are currently facing some problems around botting, since the game takes basically 1% to no resources of your PC, people are abusing up to 1000 alternative accounts in order to get Rarer drops or atleast drops in bulk.”

By last count, only a third of players were “real” and the rest were bots. That was back when the game had instead 141,000 players, and now that ratio may have increased. Hery says they’ve reached out to Valve for help in stopping it, but I wonder if Valve may do more than that.

Hery admits the game is set up as a “legal infinite money glitch.” Players play the most basic game on earth for free, find skins to sell for cash. I mean, it’s a market. People are paying for these skins for one reason or another, even the expensive ones. But I wonder if Valve may step in to make some new rules about games like this, lest the service be suddenly flooded with them. This game is printing money for Valve, players and the developer, which I mean, you probably don’t need more than one person or a skeleton team to make/run a game like this, but this just…can’t go on, right? A bot-farmed banana game being on top of Steam at all times?

So far, there seems to be no end to the bots and nothing from Valve’s end, though they’re notoriously silent most of the time as we well know. I really don’t think this can last forever, but if not, I am wondering how it ends and what the justification might be.

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