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Punkbuster false positives leading to Battlefield 3 bans; EA is investigating

Punkbuster , for those just joining the eternal online fray, is software that detects cheaters—punks—and then deals with them appropriately via "busting." It's widely used, although its popularity has waned in recent years. It's also automated, which means things can occasionally go wrong. And it appears that things have gone very wrong recently for some Battlefield 3 players, who have been locked out of the game they love through no fault of their own.

Electronic Arts issued a statement over the weekend saying that it is looking into reports that Punkbuster bans have been "incorrectly applied to some of our players." Unfortunately, and presumably also at least in part because of that automation thing, EA's "game advisors" can't just flip a switch and reverse the ban. If you were improperly slapped with one, in other words, you'll have to go through the standard appeals process, detailed here , in order to have it overturned.

"We're working with our partners at Even Balance to get this resolved as quickly as possible," EA wrote. "Please stay tuned for updates on this issue, and we're very sorry for the inconvenience this has caused."

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.