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Valve gives developers power to ban players

In an effort to clamp down on cheaters, Valve is allowing developers to notify the company when an individual ban should be enforced

In an interesting move today, Valve has announced to the Steam community that it's enabling developers to decide when to ban cheaters from games.

"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," the company said.

"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."

Cheating is inevitable in just about any online gaming community, but with a platform as massive as Steam it's nearly impossible for Valve to police everything. By giving developers complete oversight and responsibility to weed out the cheaters from their own titles, the goal is ultimately to have a more effective and fair system. What this means is that developers can institute a game ban on players in specific games, even if they aren't enforced with Valve's existing VAC and Overwatch system.

The downside is the potential for misuse or abuse. Will certain developers get too aggressive with bans or ban a player because he/she said something negative about the game in a review? Do players have any recourse to appeal a developer decision with Valve itself? While most developers will likely make the right decisions, Valve's absolving itself of all responsibility may be going too far in another direction. What do you think? Feel free to comment below.

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Latest comments (6)

Barrie Tingle Live Producer, Maxis2 years ago
This can't end well, with the likes of what we see with some indie devs getting Total Biscuit, Angry Joe and Jim Sterling videos taken down on YouTube and those game developers censoring comments about their game etc. this is just asking for abuse to get their Steam accounts flagged as cheaters and banned.
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Craig Page El Presidente, Awesome Enterprises2 years ago
I wonder who would cause more negative PR for a game. Regular players complaining about cheaters, or cheaters complaining about being "unfairly" banned.
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Dan Wood Visual Effects Artist 2 years ago
@Barrie Tingle - This was my first thought too. It's potentially a great idea for most responsible devs, but it's certainly been proved time and again that not *all* devs on Steam can be trusted, and some are outright malicious.

It could potentially lead to some very real fear on the part of users to speak up and call out those few borderline-fraudulent devs that have been managing to con their way onto the store recently, which in turn would lead to their being able to get away with it longer, and probably an even greater influx of horrible dross that'll end up drowning out the good stuff. A bit like the Android marketplace :-)

At least if they go through with this, they should also give users the ability to ban devs too... it's only fair :-)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Dan Wood on 1st May 2015 5:33am

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Show all comments (6)
Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 2 years ago
I think the fear is a little misplaced? The PR for the dev if proven to have banned because of a negative review would be astronomically bad. But the other thing is that Valve have been known in the past to remove Steamworks Partner status from devs who are abusive and censorious. It's not been done often, but it has happened. So the two things together should provide enough of a deterrent to devs who might consider abusing the system. And if it doesn't, I'm sure Valve will make an example of the dev in question. :)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 1st May 2015 6:44am

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Derek Smart Software Developer/Engineer, 3000AD, Inc2 years ago
I agree. This is much ado about nothing really. All this does is go back to the old days when the power to ban people for your game, rested with you - the developer or publisher.

These rules are no more different than the already established forum rules. And of course, even so, the Steam forums are still, by and large, a cesspit of malcontent. Not to mention the review bombers whoo get to do the same crap over there when they get banned in forums or in a game.

The bigger issue is that the Steam community is rife with anti-social misfits because the moderators are out-gunned and mis-matched against the sheer onslaught of anti-social behavior that goes on. To the extent that, despite Valve's own rules, only the most egregious of offenses are punished. Which is precisely why, us devs with forum banning abilities, make use of it whenever possible. If other devs were proactive as most of us, the Steam communities would be all the better for it.

Yes - it does have the potential to be abused, but think about this, who does it hurt? If you get banned from a dev's game for no plausible reason, here's a clue: stop buying and playing their games. Simple.
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Shane Sweeney Academic 2 years ago
The less power the platform has as judge jury and executioner the better. Devs/Publishers should be given enough rope....
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