Valve’s effort to make Counter-Strike: Global Offensive free-to-play gave the game a much-needed boost after months of decline, helping to attain the biggest number ever recorded in the series. Not-so-coincidentally, the number of Valve Anti-Cheat (VAC) bans has seen a noticeable surge, with over 600,000 accounts hit with the developer’s hammer throughout December, 2018.
Valve Anti-Cheat is a system used by many to detect foreign, prohibited software that interferes with a game. As noted by enthusiast Nors3, the same person to draw attention to CS:GO’s monumental 20,535,709 unique accounts since going free-to-play, VAC bans throughout December were six times that of the previous month.
609,373 VAC bans on December, biggest number in a month ever. There were like 5 VAC waves in the month.
Vast majority of this VAC bans are for CS:GO, it's more difficult to know the origin of the Game bans. pic.twitter.com/BhDTOrITkg
— Nors3 (@Nors3) January 6, 2019
The staggering jump from the usual 103,744 VAC bans in November to the 609,373 ousted from the game in December has been blamed on CS:GO removing its paywall, despite many games utilising VAC-protected servers including Team Fortress 2 and Dota 2. Without financial commitment as the price of being caught, an influx of cheaters is hardly surprising, but it seems as though Valve was right to remain confident in its own system.
When Valve implemented the move and ushered in a unique battle royale mode, dubbed Danger Zone, the game found itself under scrutiny from players that were worried about exactly this. While some continue to complain of cheaters, feedback seems to slowly be turning positive once again, with many praising the new game mode.
KitGuru Says: Given the dwindling numbers in the months leading up to Valve’s change, I can see why CS:GO has been made free-to-play. Although more progress needs to be made on ensuring the latest cheat technology is accounted for, it’s nice to see that Valve is mostly on top of things. How do you feel about the current state of CS:GO?