Valve Counter Strike 2 Ban Wave Obliterates Seemingly Innocent Accounts
Counter-Strike 2 has been out for a little while now, providing an updated and perhaps a more fun experience than the former Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. However, in the time since the game’s launch, some nefarious players have found way to cheats, which diminishes that experience in general. As such, Valve has had to ratchet up its bans for the game, but that comes with its own set of problems. It seems people who have not done anything shady have been banned, for things as simple as updating drivers and launching the game.
Back in October, only sixteen days after the initial Counter-Strike 2 launch, some gamers attempted to launch Counter-Strike 2 only to find a shiny Valve Anti-Cheat (VAC) ban on their accounts. This was due to an AMD driver update at the time and changes made to AMD’s Radeon Anti-Lag+, a competitor to NVIDIA’s Reflex technology. As it turned out, Anti-Lag+ was tampering with CS2 game engine function calls and redirecting them, triggering the anti-cheat system, leading to a ban. Now, it appears that something similar may be happening to NVIDIA graphics card owners, but we are still waiting for confirmation.
In the past twelve hours, we have seen a massive Valve ban wave ramp up. However, per differing reports cropping up on the Counter-Strike Steam forums, as well as Reddit and X, these bans are accidentally snagging legitimate users somehow. It is theorized that millions of dollars in CS2 skins have now been locked out due to these bans. Further, professional folks like Petar "Peca" Marković, who is the Counter-Strike General Manager for G2 Esports, received a game ban. The keen-eyed among you might notice that the ban is not a VAC ban, however, which is an important distinction to make.
In regard to CS2 bans, the one most people are familiar with is a proper VAC ban, which stems from the Valve Anti-Cheat system detecting actual cheats or unwanted modifications to the game. The bans that are going out right now seem to be “game bans,” which “are issued when a player attempts to circumvent or interfere with game systems to the detriment of others.” This might include cheating, rank manipulation, botting, or interfering with game servers or other players, and it is noted that these bans “cannot be appealed and are not removed from accounts.”
With this in mind, it was unclear why these game bans were taking place. Several now-banned CS2 players reported that they updated NVIDIA drivers overnight, but some people that either hadn't updated drivers or don't use NVIDIA GPUs at all have been banned as well. However, the CS2 team posted an update to X explaining that the bans were triggered by a CS2 update and are actively being rolled back. Hopefully, this will not take too long to fix, but we will have to see what happens over the next day or so. Stay tuned to HotHardware for updates on the developing situation.