Grab your old schoolbooks, dear readers: it’s time for a maths problem! It’ll be an easy one, I promise. Question 1. Capcom are a video game company. They have developed a game, Capcom Arcade Stadium, and are selling it on the popular platform Steam. It averages 20 players a month, and has been out for 6 months. Using these figures, explain how the game has reached 477,000 active users at its peak, making it the third-most-played title on Steam. You must show your working.
Doesn’t really make much sense, does it? No matter how you run the math, it’s an impossible figure to square. Well, worry not, all you folks despairing and thinking your GCSE knowledge has well and truly left you – it was a trick question. Ain’t I a stinker? For you see, the answer to this particular conundrum has nothing to do with mathematics. It has everything to do with the online phenomenon known as card bots.
Capcom Arcade Stadium and the unruly bots (A backstory)
As PCGamer reports, Capcom Arcade Stadium – a fairly rudimentary emulator which plays a handful of retro Capcom classics – has indeed shot up the ranks to become one of Steam’s most-played games. It’s coming dangerously close to eclipsing DOTA 2, which, last I checked, has multiplied itself several times over in my library. I’ve yet to encounter anyone on Steam who doesn’t own at least a copy or two of that. It’s a famously well-distributed game, so these Capcom numbers are impressive.
The culprit here, as opposed (sadly) to there being a sudden resurgence of interest in arcade shmups, are bots and programs. Users are employing these bots to hop into games and idly accrue Steam trading cards. As Arcade Stadium is a free-to-play title, and has recently added support for trading cards, it’s become a prime target for these avaricious, award-accumulating automatons to do their thing. “That explains,” adds the report, “why Life is Strange 2 Episode 1 suddenly saw a similar popularity surge when it went free in September 2020.”
See, in my day we had to wrestle people in the playground and haggle over bits of chewing gum and sweets to build a decent trading card collection. How times change.
Are you amused by these stats? Have you ever played Capcom Arcade Stadium? Let us know!
Support Capcom Arcade Stadium by purchasing it here.