A common refrain from gamers caught cheating online is that they've been falsely convicted of a crime they didn't commit. It's hard to know who's telling the truth and who's just lying, because of course you'd lie if you were caught cheating. When we're lucky, the lies are exposed in a dramatic, extremely funny fashion. But sometimes the accused are telling the truth, and so it is that Bungie is now forking over 5,000 Silver to "a small number" of Destiny 2 players who were banned from the game for cheating, even though they weren't.
"Along with a small number of other players, your account was inadvertently flagged as having tampered with game client functionality," Bungie said in a message sent to impacted players that was shared on Twitter by The Verge senior editor Tom Warren. "While the overwhelming majority of these detections are accurate, we discovered that in extremely rare cases this detection may be triggered through no fault of the player. This error was determined as part of our auditing process and we acted as quickly as possible to validate the issue and rescind the small number of inadvertent flags."
Bungie didn't share specifics on what was tripping the false alarm or specifically how many players were impacted, but it did say that it's updated Destiny 2's anti-cheat systems to keep it from happening again. It also told Kotaku that the false positive didn't arise from an ongoing issue, but occurred "during a recent ban wave, [and] was isolated to this specific ban wave."
The studio also apologized to the players for the trouble, and as a way of saying "sorry for the mess" it's giving everyone who was falsely banned 5,000 Silver, Destiny 2's premium currency, to spend in the in-game Eververse store. In real-money terms, that's about $45: A 5,000 Silver bundle sells for $50 but includes a "bonus" 1,000 Silver, so it's actually 6,000 for $50 and you can work the math out from there.
Some players were happy to see Bungie copping to the mistake and paying up, but there's clear frustration with its processes in the replies to Warren's tweet, where numerous players are complaining about a lack of transparency in Bungie's ban system and slow response to appeals. That's easily understandable: False positive bans may be rare but as this incident demonstrates, they do happen. And while there are practical reasons for slow responses—sifting through 100 "it wasn't me" complaints to dig out the one that's legitimate naturally takes a certain amount of time—being booted out of a game you love for days or weeks because of something that really wasn't your fault is not a pleasant experience.
This isn't the first time Bungie has mistakenly dropped the banhammer on Destiny 2 players who didn't deserve it. In 2017, it admitted banning an unspecified number of players "in error," and in 2022 it happened again. In those cases, though, I don't think anyone got any free money out of it, which meant we had to wait until now for this: