Two months ago Ben There, Dan That developer Size Five Games released its competitive one-on-one platforming shooter Gun Monkeys, but it ran into one problem: the game wasn't selling well enough to keep the servers full of players. As such, people would log in to play with a stranger only to find there was no one to play with. How sad.
So to combat this problem, Size Five is doing the only thing it can do: giving out free steam codes to players who have to wait more than a few minutes to find a game.
"As of the most recent update, if you're sitting on an empty server for a few minutes, and no one comes along to play against, the game will now fling you a free Steam key for you to gift to a chum," the developer explained in its announcement.
"It's a unique solution to a frustrating situation", said Size Five founder Dan Marshall. "Despite universally positive reviews, Gun Monkeys just hasn't sold enough to keep servers perpetually-buzzing with players. It's infuriating, but the important thing to do now is to make sure the people who have bought the game can enjoy it as intended."
"The most frequent comment in my inbox ant the moment is 'this game is amazing, why aren't more people playing it?' Well, hopefully this move will bring in new interested players too, since they'll always be able to play friends when servers are quiet."
It's a very audacious solution, and it doesn't mean that players can take advantage of it by purposefully logging in at off hours to rack up keys, as the free codes will be capped per account. "Free keys are limited per player, and it won't generate free copies forever, but for now it's a fun and unusual way to combat the Curse of the Indie Multiplayer Game," Marshall concluded. "Let's see how it goes."
Gun Monkeys is about power companies sending monkeys into the future to gather energy. Naturally, they're all doing this, leading to some post-apocalyptic primate vs primate action. It's available for PC and Mac on Steam for £3.99.