The Counter Strike: Global Offensive community has been desperate for anti-cheating improvements since the dawn of the franchise 20 years ago. Valve has now issued 500,000 account bans in May alone to help combat the prevalence of cheating in the game.
The Valve Anti-Cheat system that has been present on the platform for years, and was recently made able to recognise a few popular free-to-use cheating softwares that have led to an increase in bans. Since January 2019, the system has issued nearly four million individual bans.
Cheaters have long been common in CSGO. With the game going free-to-play in December 2018, it has become easier for players to make throwaway accounts and this has likely contributed to the increasing scale of the problem, and by extension, the number of bans being distributed. Avoiding hackers is one of the main theoretical incentives in players signing up for third party services like ESEA and Faceit.
Cheating in CSGO can include the use of aim assistance, wall hacking, and other popular but unfair tactics.
VAC detects the presence of familiar cheating programs on a player’s device, whether they are actively in use or not. This means that simply signing into Steam from a cheating friend’s PC could result in a permanent and non-negotiable account ban, and this has become one of the most frequent excuses for players who are banned but deny any wrongdoing. VAC is not only present in Counter Strike, but also in other notable games that utilize the system, including Dota 2, Left for Dead, Rust, and other major titles.
CSGO has never seen an influx of bans like this one and 2019 is already on its way to be a record year for Steam bans, potentially beating a 2018 year in which a single month saw over 1.5 million game bans were issued across the platform.
While the problem is far from fixed, the continuing bans do show that Valve remains dedicated to persistently combating it cheating in its games.