Game Developers Can Now Ban Steam Users

Game Developers Can Now Ban Steam Users

In a move that's bound to yield some very interesting results, Valve just announced that it was changing the way it administers bans on its ridiculously popular gaming service Steam. Rather than adjudicating the entire process on its own, the company is effectively handing over power to individual game developers.

Here's how Valve explained the way things will work going forward in a small post (via MCV) on the Steam community. Pay close attention to how the statement describes Valve's role in the new banning process (emphasis added):

Because nobody likes playing with cheaters.

Playing games should be fun. In order to ensure the best possible online multiplayer experience, Valve allows developers to implement their own systems that detect and permanently ban any disruptive players, such as those using cheats.

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.

For more information about a game ban in a specific game, please contact the developer of that game.

Game developers are "solely responsible for the decisions to apply a game ban." So while Valve still has to apply the actual bans, the company's description makes it sound like doing so will be a completely automated process — i.e., not one that's subject to any review by Steam employees. They just follow the instructions put forth by the game developer.

That will likely be a good thing in cases where a game developer has a more intimate understanding of its community and the way ban-worthy players inside of it behave than Valve does. But will every game developer use its newfound permabanning powers responsibly?

Valve's statement on its developer-centred banning policy is so sparse that some important questions remain unanswered. Such as: whether or not this only applies to online multiplayer games, how players will be able to appeal bans, and what the extent of a permaban ban will be — i.e. for a specific game, or a gamer's entire Steam account and game library. Valve representatives weren't available for comment at press time.


    Oh good.. They can start with dayz and reign of kings.

    This won't at all backfire horribly the next time Jim Sterling gets under the skin of an Indy greenlight shovelware maker.

      They'd have to know his Steam ID first. I don't know if Sterling has publicly stated his but a lot of reviewers and Youtubers keep their ID secret to avoid getting spammed with friend requests and other fan exuberance.

      It won't. Firstly the ban would only be for online content in that indie's game, and if Jim appealed it for being unreasonable then Valve would look into it and if they agreed with Jim his ban would be lifted and the indie wouldn't be able to use bans in the future. At least according to Valve's support article, that's how it works. Seriously, it seems like a reasonable system. It's basically allowing developers to implement bans specifically for the online multiplayer portion of their games through Steam using a system consistent with, but separate to, VAC. A ban is specific to the banning developer's game(s) and if a developer abuses the ban system then Valve has the right to, well, ban the dev from banning people.

      Seriously, what's everyone's problem with this?

      Last edited 02/05/15 12:11 am

    What is Gabe doing. I am assuming he is talking about VAC here, and that's fairly serious.
    If i piss off a indie dev i can get VAC banned? And my account stained with it? And forced to look like a cheater?
    Because of a devs definition of disruptive...

      The wording suggests it's a game-level ban, it would only apply to that particular game.

        "Because nobody likes playing with cheaters.

        Playing games should be fun. In order to ensure the best possible online multiplayer experience,"
        That is basicaly the word on word description about VAC. Hence why i'm concerned.

          Sure, but I'm pretty sure that's boilerplate. The words "game ban" were mentioned three times, and it's on a Steam page titled "What is a game ban?" Pretty sure it's separate to VAC.

            'Game ban' is the repeated terminology that's making me think it's game-specific only.

            After all, it'd be pretty fucking crazy to put the power to rob someone of their entire Steam account in the hands of hundreds of developers, some of which are of dubious integrity.

              In fact, according to the "Banned by Game Developer (Game Ban)" support article, it is only for the multiplayer component or other online related components of a particular game. A dev can only ban you from their games, and even then they can't ban you from offline play. Essentially, all they can do is stop you from interacting with other players in their game(s).

      Na not indie. Probably games like modern warfare. The game is roaming with cheaters

        If it's games like COD, then coolio, because i don't play it.
        I just hope it isn't VAC at all.

    That's pretty much the first thing I thought of when I saw this

    Yet another way for shitty devs to censor reviews they don't like

    2 dumb new policies in as many weeks! Man, Valve is on a roll here!

    I presume games could already do this on the multiplayer side (or I don't see why not). Won't make much difference

    I'd be interested to see how I go with Payday 2 since they've really started to go hard on tackling cheaters. Since their big animation overhaul patch last month, the game's become pretty much unplayable for me as the screen shakes violently, making me pretty nauseous when firing automatic weapons now (previously, it barely shook, like most FPSs). So I started using a trainer that kills the screen recoil effect, though it doesn't give me a specific recoil/aiming advantage because the game's weapons' accuracy and stability ratings are still in affect, meaning I still have bullet spread and inhibited accuracy when firing in full auto or when moving. Things is, using anything like this should permanently brand me as a cheater (though I'm pretty sure I was branded one with the Infamy achievement glitch when they first implemented Infamy) based on their anti-cheat updates at the start of the year, but this has hardly affected me since I only play SP or MP with specific friends only because I can't stand playing with randoms (the Payday community is pretty toxic and has a high proportion of douchebags, much like popular FPS communities, like CoD). So I'm not exactly the specific 'disruptive player' target they're aiming for, I'm curious to see how Payday 2 devs, Overkill, will play this...

    It would be good if Valve also demanded of developers that their requirements for bans must be clearly defined, with an appropriate appeals process. Otherwise, this sounds like a good move forward. Everyone has been complaining about Valve support. If this lightens the load enough that they can focus on other areas of support, brilliant!

    They really need to fix Steam Support before implementing this. I have had a ticket open for over a month without a response. Their support is the worst and if you ever get banned from a game wrongly. maybe your trying to mod it out for singleplayer you will basically be banned forever cause Steam support doesn't give a shit!

      This is actually probably how they go about fixing Steam support. By putting investigation of cheating, decisions to ban, and appeals against bans onto developers, they would cut out a LOT of work for their support team.

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