A confluence of curious circumstances has vaulted Capcom Arcade Stadium, a nominally free-to-play anthology that launched in May, to the top of Steam’s charts — rivaling the likes of Apex Legends, Grand Theft Auto 5, and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.
It isn’t because fans have renewed thirst for 32-year-old 1943: The Battle of Midway, the lone free game available with Arcade Stadium. Instead, bots are idling in the game to mine Steam trading cards, which can be sold for store credit on the Steam Community Market. At least, that’s the view from Pavel Djundik, the creator of SteamDB.
The explanation is as good as any other, considering the game involved. Also, Capcom Arcade Stadium started supporting trading cards with a patch on Nov. 11, which is why the bots are now flooding the game. Indeed, SteamCharts shows Capcom Arcade Stadium flatlining from release to 481,000 at 9 a.m. EST on Tuesday.
PC Gamer noticed the strange trend around that time, and the fact that other games have seen popularity spikes under similar conditions.
Capcom Arcade Stadium offers 32 arcade games published by Capcom between 1984 and 2001. Thirty of them are available in groups of 10, broken up by era; in October, Capcom started offering the games individually, so if you only want Commando or Strider, they’re $1.99 each.