Valve doled out nearly six months' worth of bans after CS:GO went free to play

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive had one of its best ever months after going free to play, and a record number of VAC bans were doled out on Steam as a consequence. Over 600,000 accounts received VAC bans in December, with the first wave of bans happening days after CS:GO shed its price. 

Spotted by Nors3 on Twitter, five waves crushed naughty players throughout the month. Hundreds of games use Valve’s anti-cheat system, which ostensibly (if not always in reality) detects cheats and automatically bans the account in question from playing on VAC protected servers, but after CS:GO went free to play, the number of bans sky-rocketed. 

In November, only 103,743 accounts were banned, according to SteamDB. That’s around six times fewer than December, and it was a pretty standard month. The number of bans in a month has never broken 200,000 in 15 years, so it’s a significant leap to get past 600,000.

The move to free to play and the addition of a battle royale mode drew the ire of some existing players, who then review-bombed the game. Things have settled down since the initial reaction, however, with recent positive reviews outweighing the negative ones. 

Cheers, PCGamesN.

Fraser is the sole inhabitant of PC Gamer's mythical Scottish office, conveniently located in his flat. He spends most of his time wrangling the news, but sometimes he sneaks off to write lots of words about strategy games.