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Steam’s most popular game right now is an idle clicker starring a banana

Over the past few days, you may have noticed a mysterious new game topping the Steam charts. The clicker game ‘Banana' has been rapidly gaining players, rocketing up to almost 850,000 concurrent players over the weekend. Why is everyone seemingly obsessed with a new game where all you do is click a Banana? Well, that ties back to the Steam marketplace. 

The Steam Marketplace can be both a gift and a curse. Many will remember the period of time when ‘early access' first became an option for developers looking to publish on Steam. This in turn led to a wave of ‘asset flips', low quality games pieced together in Unity or Unreal Engine using pre-made assets and frameworks. These games were often sold at cheap prices, with the goal of making money via the Steam Marketplace through the sale of things like trading cards.

When an item is sold on the Steam marketplace, the player selling their item gets a cut, Valve gets a cut and the developer also gets a cut. Banana is being utilised by some real players to acquire marketplace item drops, but the vast majority of the player base is filled with bots, programmed to click the banana on screen constantly to horde marketplace items. This in turn allows the bot farms holding all the stock to also somewhat dictate the going rate for skins too. In turn, the game is being used as a legal money printer.

Bots will click the banana millions of times, acquire skins and trading cards, then carefully put those up on the Steam marketplace in a way that ensures steady revenue, or they will flood the marketplace to crash prices and cash out.

Valve has not yet commented publicly on Banana, but the developers behind the game have said that they are looking to tackle the bot problem. It is a complete mystery why this particular clicker game garnered so much traction so quickly, as there are hundreds of other clicker games available, like Cookie Clicker, one of the more popular games in this realm.

KitGuru Says: The weird thing here is that Valve has little incentive to stop any of this, as they'll be earning money from this too. Still, having the top game on the biggest PC gaming platform being a bot farm isn't the best PR look and could draw the eyes of regulators, which have been paying more attention to the video game market in recent years due to the rise of in-game gambling mechanics like loot boxes. 

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