Statistics for December 2018 show that Valve have banned a record number of accounts for having cheats installed on their systems to be used in some of Steam’s most popular games.
Valve’s Anti-Cheat System, commonly known as VAC, is an automated system created by Valve that detects cheats installed on players’ computers, such as aimbots or x-ray vision. If a user connects to a VAC-Secured server with cheats installed on their system, they will be banned from playing the game.
VAC is used across multiple Valve titles, including games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, DOTA 2 and legendary shooter Team Fortress 2.
It seems that the system was working overtime during December, with over 500,000 Steam accounts issued with VAC bans over the course of the month, setting a new record for bans in a one month period.
Before December, the record for most VAC bans in a month was set in July 2018, when 193,000 bans were handed out.
Interestingly, it appears that the amount of game bans this month sat just slightly higher than VAC bans, with just 700,000 game bans compared to April 2018 which saw 1.6 million.
While VAC bans are most strongly associated with Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, it’s unlikely that all of these bans are linked to the title, with a large chunk perhaps attributed to DOTA 2, TF2 and other games that use the VAC system.
Valve are yet to comment on what caused so many accounts to get banned in December, but many CS:GO fans believe that it’s probably connected to the game becoming free-to-play, as it may encourage people to use cheats, safe in the knowledge that they won’t have to pay to play the game again.