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Valve introduces permanent game bans, defers decisions to developers

Online gaming can be incredibly fun, but it doesn’t take much for that fun to be ruined. Rude players, server issues, and numerous other problems can keep players from having a good time, but there is something else that ruins many a gamer’s day as well: cheating.

Cheaters, or those who engage in “disruptive” behavior, on Valve’s Steam service will need to be very wary from now on, as the firm is now enabling game developers to permanently ban players from their games, a Steam support page revealed.

It’s important to note that this is completely separate from Valve’s own measures against cheating, namely its Valve Anti-Cheat system (VAC). Here, the company is simply allowing developers to ban players from their games, not banning them on its own.

Related: Valve pulls the plug on paid mod program, says it ‘missed the mark pretty badly’

The new ban system was introduced “because nobody likes playing with cheaters,” Valve says. “Game developers inform Valve when a disruptive player has been detected in their game, and Valve applies the game ban to the account. The game developer is solely responsible for the decision to apply a game ban. Valve only enforces the game ban as instructed by the game developer.”

While some members of the Steam community welcome the new system, many of them are worried about being permanently locked out of game’s they paid for. Browsing the Steam forums, many users have mentioned erroneous VAC bans and the possibility of similar issues with the new Game Bans. Others are concerned about the vague language used, and wonder what a “disruptive player” is defined as.

We can only speculate, but this can’t have been a fun few weeks for Valve’s customer support staff. First the company had to deal with the large backlog it saw when it introduced (and then quickly recalled) support for paid mods last week, and it is sure to receive some amount of heat from this decision as well.

For more information, see the Steam Support FAQ on Game Bans.