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Valve’s automatic anti-cheat detection system has gone on a banning spree following the company’s most recent Summer Sale. According to the Steam Database, a third party tool that keeps track of the number of account bans on Steam per day — among other things — an estimated 40,411 accounts were shut down on July 5, one day after the sale ended.
That’s a huge spike over the usual 3,000 to 4,000 VAC bans per day and more than twice the previous record of 15,227 bans in a single day back in October 2016.
VAC bans prohibit accounts from connecting to Valve's servers, which render their in-game purchased skins and items useless. As Polygon explains, many cheaters take the opportunity of a Steam sale to stock up on cheap copies of games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Then they create multiple accounts in order to test which hacks are discovered by VAC, minimizing losses.
The massive number of bans suggests the VAC system is getting better at cracking down on cheaters. Once an account on Valve’s digital distribution platform and service has been banned by VAC, the decision is permanent, and supposedly non negotiable, though Valve does note on its Support page that if it finds you’ve been incorrectly flagged the decision will be reversed.
Aside from the VAC bans, an additional 4,972 were also banned on June 6 after players reported the cheaters in-game. The following days things settled back to more reasonable numbers.
According to another website, Vac-Ban, a total of $9,580 worth of digital items and skins were lost when the accounts were banned. That's not counting the cost of purchased games that the accounts lose access to, which will add up a few more thousand dollars.