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Activision has been quietly banning — and unbanning — Call of Duty players

Over the past several days, several Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Call of Duty Warzone users have been permanently banned, and then unbanned, from online multiplayer.

Earlier this week, game forums, Twitch chats, and Twitter were abuzz with gamers around the world who said Activision’s Infinity Ward permanently shuttered their Call of Duty accounts. While Infinity Ward didn’t provide details on the bans, the move came just days after Twitch streamers shared videos of players cheating in-game. One player even streamed their cheating on Twitch, prompting viewer backlash in the chat.

Oddly enough, some of the players who were banned earlier this week discovered Thursday that their accounts were restored. Again, Infinity Ward failed to say why. Those players said they hadn’t cheated in the first place and were confused as to why their accounts were turned off. It’s possible, they postulated on Reddit, that Infinity Ward mistakenly included non-cheaters in its clampdown.

Cheating has been a widespread problem in Call of Duty‘s online multiplayer since the game launched last year. Infinity Ward acknowledged the problem in a blog post in April, saying cheaters are “not welcomed in Call of Duty Warzone.” At the time, Infinity Ward said it had banned 70,000 people worldwide.

The company has banned more accounts since then, but it hasn’t said how many.

Because Infinity Ward hasn’t commented on its latest moves and didn’t respond to a Digital Trends request for comment, it’s unclear what spawned them.

While cheating needs to be addressed in Call of Duty‘s online multiplayer, Infinity Ward also said last month that it would crack down on racially insensitive and offensive Gamertags. The company added that it would expand its monitoring and make it easier for players to notify moderators if they are harassed.

It’s possible, though unconfirmed, that at least some of the accounts jettisoned this week may have run afoul of those revised rules.

Whatever the case, a “permaban” is a tough pill for players to swallow. Activision’s policy says players cannot dispute the bans, try to have them reversed, or even receive a refund on any previous purchases. All progress in battle passes and in-game challenges is also lost.

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