Valve grants developers full control over game bans

By Shawn Knight
Apr 30, 2015
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  1. steam valve gaming bans developers controversial games game bans vac valve anti-cheat system

    It’s one thing to use a cheat code while in a single player game – perhaps you simply want to explore unimpeded or simply can’t defeat a particular boss on your own. It’s quite another to gain an unfair advantage during multiplayer sessions but unfortunately, that’s often the norm.

    Valve is addressing the matter head-on with a new system that puts the power of the ban hammer in the hands of developers. If you think that sounds a bit controversial, it is (and controversy is the last thing Valve needs right now).

    As per the Steam Community announcement, Valve is now allowing developers to implement their own systems to detect and permanently ban disruptive players (which includes cheats).

    When a developer discovers a user is cheating in their game, they will pass along the information to Valve who will apply the game ban to the account. Here’s where it gets interesting – the developer is solely responsible for the decision to apply the ban as Valve only enforces it as instructed by the developer.

    Valve instructs players to contact the developer of a particular game for bans specific to that game.

    So basically, the developer has full and unimpeded control over who gets banned. With no policing from Valve, there’s essentially nothing stopping a developer from banning a player over something as trivial as a simple dispute.

    How do you feel about Valve’s new policy? On one hand, it takes some of the burden off Valve (their VAC is still in effect, however) but at the same time, it gives devs a lot of power.

    Image via Reddit

    Permalink to story.

  2. ikesmasher

    ikesmasher TS Evangelist Posts: 2,525   +828

    I dont know, on one hand I hate this, but on the other hand it forces the developers to be careful as their reputation could be smeared VERY quickly if they are too banhappy.
  3. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,430   +2,822

  4. If you cheat during multiplayer games I feel no pity if you get banned. I see little difference who does the banning. I would guess the large majority of devs will not choose to exercise the ability. Policing of online games requires a pretty hefty commitment of resources.
  5. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,550   +594

    I have no problem with efforts made to stem cheating. In fact, I wish they'd do more. It's been the scourge of gaming ever since multiplayer games were available.
    Auth3ntic0 likes this.
  6. Firstly it looks like the "I'm not a robot" captcha check isn't the best....

    But on topic, this I can imagine to be a nightmare. Abuse from those greenlight games. Something I think was a good idea, but in reality not so fab. So many reviews of games out their complaining of people making a game, then bailing on it cause the developer gave up, couldn't be bothered, lazy, spilt his coffee on his keyboard. And then people go to the forums, to complain and ask questions, and they get... banned. Childish developers who can't take criticism, advice, or random comments.

    Now they can ban people ? Frankly I think Steam, need to just stop. They only need games, and sales, and if they wanna do an o/s whatever, but this green light games, and the mods fiasco.
    SuperVeloce likes this.
  7. As long as they got the personnel to verify cheating but banning for being a **** would not be acceptable.
  8. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,370   +2,164

    I'll have to wait and see how this plays out. At face value it makes sense. As stated earlier in the thread, it is probably not in the best interests of a developer to adopt poor ban practices. However, as the recent controversy with Killing Floor 2 demonstrated, reputation risk doesn't always function as insurance against bad policies.
  9. I was under the impression that this is how it already worked. Of course VAC working on most games, while game developers could still ban people from their game. It only makes sense to allow the game developer to include their own form of anti-cheat, while also having VAC as a backup. I see no problem here.

    I know even VAC has had false positives, that is going to happen, but it is rare, and hopefully it can be sorted out through support.
  10. ikesmasher

    ikesmasher TS Evangelist Posts: 2,525   +828

    I dont think anyone has a problem with developers banning people from online in their own game for valid reasons, the problem is when developers are able to ban people for publicly trashing their game or complaining or etc.
    SuperVeloce likes this.
  11. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 1,803   +483

    They really need to make the rules much stricter and add a good way of detecting those cheats. There are just too many cheaters to enjoy some multiplayer games.
  12. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 6,335   +1,937

    Well It's never going to affect me simply because I'll never play multiplayer/online games but I have had experience with cheaters before so I know how the legit player feels. I thinks the dev's should also be empowered to hand down a light sentence to the cheaters as well, like the death penalty.
  13. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,136   +480

    I haven't see what you are talking about, but I'm assuming it's the latest one from Google which does a lot in the background to figure out if you are a bot or not.

    On topic, yea it's a 50/50 kind of thing. It all depends on the personality of the developer.
  14. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,430   +2,822

    They were referring to a spammer that was racking a post count in several threads. The spam was later removed and the spammer banned. It has been happening frequently this last month.
  15. This makes perfect sense

    valve may get requests to deal with negative behaviour and not understanding the impact of that behaviour ... may refuse to get involved but the developer knows the game intimately and therefore how the negative actions of an individual will spoil the game for others - 'they' should be the one to decide whether or not to impose a ban.
  16. This might not be a bad thing. If game developers are allowed to police their own games they MIGHT just come up with more effective ways to keep cheaters off their online multiplayer games. To me that's better than having to play a game right when it comes out before everyone hacks it to hell....
  17. I gave up playing online-vs-multiplayer games. I still enjoy a good coop game like borderlands, but I mostly stick to single player. Online vs is too damn frustrating and is anything but fair or competitive regardless if there are hackers and cheaters. Ban away I say!
  18. BlueDrake

    BlueDrake TS Evangelist Posts: 344   +101

    What the ban basically does is blacklists the key, sure it's in your library but you can no longer access the game. It's effectively an unplayable game, but to the extent that it can't be launched. I could be mistaken but this was taken from someone, who was testing with a dev to see how the system works. That is some serious power in the hands of a developer.

    I'm all for protecting against cheaters and the like, but they can abuse this power for any reason at all. Doesn't have to be related to playing the game, that it could likely be invoked since Valve doesn't check anything. It's up to disputing with the dev over the ban, leading to some seriously hurt devs blacklisting anyone.

    Does nothing obviously except give the developer a bad reputation, so obviously many can take to the customer reviews and cripple the game that way in return. It might be a lot more power in their hands but in return, they have to be careful where they swing that hammer. That would just lead to more negative PR for the team, and unlikely people will trust them for anything in the future.
  19. I worry about this decision. I've played several games in which the 'mods' all work for the developer and dish out bans and punishments for finding flaws in game. Even if you don't report it, asking over the pub channel "Hey I'm stuck here, can anyone help?" has resulted in bans for "Disparaging the game designers." or "Making a nuisance to staff." With valve taking hands off the reigns, we can see people being banned for simply not knowing how bad a game really is. Who is to say the devs can't ban you based on a poor review?
    SuperVeloce likes this.

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