Steam Game Abstractism Pulled for Scamming Marketplace Buyers, Cryptocurrency Mining

Steam Game Abstractism Pulled for Scamming Marketplace Buyers, Cryptocurrency Mining

Steam pulled a platformer game by the name of Abstractism from the marketplace yesterday after some worrying allegations. Not only has the game been selling fake Team Fortress 2 items, it also supposedly is a cryptocurreny miner.

Nothing abstract about the legality of scams.

Abstractism is a video game that billed itself as a “relaxing” platformer with a minimalist design. However, a few months after it’s March release, someone reported that they were scammed by Abstractism. They explained how they, admittedly not paying their full attention, bought what they thought was the Team Fortress 2 weapon called the ‘Strange Australium Rocket’. The original is a rare item that can sell for over $100. What the user bought was a visually identical but different item from Abstraction.

Even more questionable is how the game gives out items. The supposedly dynamic method, according to a July 23 post by Okalo Union, the game’s developers, is as follows:

You need 15 minutes to receive the first drop, 30 minutes for the second drop, 60 minutes for the third drop and so on. You receive more rare items if your playtime is long (’60 minutes’ item drops are better than ’15 minutes’ drops) … Drops limit resets on Friday and you should be in game to allow Abstractism reset it.

Computer savvy players got especially concerned when noticed the game’s high CPU usage for “steamservice.exe”. The developers claimed it was because of the game’s “high graphics settings”. However, the game clearly doesn’t look like something that should take up that much CPU. Some time after forum posts and other chatter started to spread (including the below video by SidAlpha which breaks down the evidence), Steam removed Abstractism and marked its items as untradeable. According to Steamed, a sub-branch of Kotaku, Steam said it “removed Abstractism and banned its developer from Steam for shipping unauthorized code, trolling, and scamming customers with deceptive in-game items”.

While it’s good news that the game is no longer on the marketplace, it again raises concerns over Valve’s “anything goes” policy.

Update (8/1)

Steam has made a post to their official subreddit in response to the removals. The post details some new security measures made to help prevent these kinds of scams. Steam users will now receive multiple warning pop-ups for confirmation when trading for an item in a game they don’t own or has been recently released. Valve developer Tony Paloma said more measures are on their way:

We also started requiring approval for app name changes, and have more planned to address this sort of problem that we couldn’t get done in one day. We are hopeful that having to dismiss two warning dialogs will be sufficient to make people think twice about trades containing forged items, but this is not the end of our response, and we’ll continue to monitor, of course.

In addition, anyone who traded away an item for a scam before the warnings were added will get their item back.