Valve Apologise For VAC Goof

Free Left 4 Dead 2 for people who got banned, eh? That sounds okay. You can read Gabe’s letter of apology to banned people below.


Recently, your Steam account was erroneously banned from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

This was our mistake, and I apologize for any frustration or angst it may have caused you.

The problem was that Steam would fail a signature check between the disk version of a DLL and a latent memory version. This was caused by a combination of conditions occurring while Steam was updating the disk image of a game. This wasn’t a game-specific mistake. Steam allows us to manage and reverse these erroneous bans (about 12,000 erroneous bans over two weeks).

We have reversed the ban, restoring your access to the game. In addition, we have given you a free copy of Left 4 Dead 2 to give as a gift on Steam, plus a free copy for yourself if you didn’t already own the game.

To share your extra copy of Left 4 Dead 2 with a friend, you can ‘Manage Gifts and Guest Passes’ from the ‘Games’ Menu in Steam, or visit this article on the Steam Support site for detailed instructions:

To access your own copy of Left 4 Dead 2, visit your library of games in Steam. If you didn’t already own the game, it will now be listed among your others there, and is available for download immediately.

Gabe Newell
President, Valve


  1. P7uen says:

    Can’t beat them.

  2. terry says:

    Now apologize for that enormous Kane and Lynch 2 banner >:O

    • Warduke says:

      Apologize and remove, yikes was that an unpleasant surprise

  3. SquareWheel says:

    “Just don’t play it that way”.

    • Richard Beer says:

      Who would win in a fight between Gabe Newell and Steve Jobs?

      I think Steve Jobs would be more vicious and underhand but, assuming Jobs’ cult minions didn’t rush instinctively to his defense, Gabe could just hug him to death.

    • John Peat says:

      Jobs vs Newell – Jobs would win because he’d tell you the concept of winning was to be hugged by someone larger than yourself AND that he’d invented the hug and that it was magical.

      10s of 1000s of people would then ask their partners if they’d like an iHug and, strangly, a high percentage of the people asked would be the same sex…

      and wearing sandals…

    • Cerebrium says:

      Gabe has the weight behind him. His punch would be like getting hit by 6 trucks at once.

    • Bindibadgi says:

      Depends who the force is stronger with at the time. Gabe “Sorry, our bad, Free L4D2” obviously fights with light and Steve “Everyone’s phone is worse, you’re holding it wrong, OK we’ll give you a free rubber band” Jobs is evidently dark.

    • BAReFOOt says:

      Jobs vs Newell? Well, who bleeds faster, when the other one throws cotton balls at him? Because that’s all that king of gaylors and douches Jobs will ever do. And Newell will of course instantly join in.
      Yes, I would not only definitely, but specifically prefer to say that in front of Jobs. His friends Zuckerberg and Hitler can join right in.

  4. BaronWR says:

    Damn Valve: just when they’ve done something that’s out and out objectionable, they go and spoil it all by apologising and giving away presents. How am I supposed to sustain my angry-internet-man rage in the face of such absurd reasonableness? I HATE YOU VALVE.

    • Wilson says:

      @BaronWR – Easy! Become outraged instead that some other people got given a free game. Because it’s JUST NOT FAIR!

    • Rinox says:

      At least they haven’t given them exclusive TF2 wrenches or hats.

      The entire internet would have been on fire.

    • Lars Westergren says:

      Your idea is evil and funny…. I like it!

      Like a sadist gleefully denying a machosist punishment.

    • archonsod says:

      It’s enforced boycott – breakage, that’s what it is!

  5. Wilson says:

    Hmm, interesting. How long were people banned for? Giving away a free copy of a game or two seems pretty generous.

    • Pandaemonius says:

      Wilson: Not that generous. It costs Valve absolutely £0.00 to give one of their own games away free, and it’s pretty good PR. There’s the small chance of a few lost sales but, realistically, anyone with MW2 without L4D2 already probably wasn’t going to buy it any time soon…

    • megalomania says:

      They still got a game out of it. I don’t think you’re supposed to measure how generous a gift is by how much it hurts the giver, Mr. Contrarypants.

    • Wilson says:

      I know it doesn’t cost them anything in that sense, but it is still potential future customers lost because they got the game for free. Of course Valve will have done the calculations (and they assumedly know which of these people have L4D2 or not), but it’s still a fair number of free games to give away.

    • Baboonanza says:

      In theory it may actually make them money. Anyone who doesn’t have L4D2 by now is fairly unlikely to buy it, but they might buy the next one after playing their free copy.

    • P7uen says:

      You mean the next one that’s coming out within the next few months?


    • Nallen says:

      “Hey remember I got banned from MW2 for no reason?”
      “Yeah that sucked, what happened with that?”
      “Well they fessed up to the mistake and I got unbanned, also I got a free game I can give away, it’s the zombie shooter I was telling you about, now we can play together!”
      “OMG a free game wow! I have immediately and permanently forgotten why we were even upset in the first place. How do I get it?”
      “It’s easy. You just need to sign up with Steam…”

      And lo, 12,000 new steam accounts are created.

    • Billy says:

      Bandwidth cost is non-negligible, as well as future sales. Just because ‘most people’ who wanted L4D2 bought it already doesn’t mean that the remaining customer base is suddenly tiny. People still buy L4D and that’s essentially discontinued.

      They buggered up and they’re apologising for it in a pretty generous way, although it’s entirely subjective as to whether the free game makes up for denying people the ability to play a game they paid for because of external forces they had nothing to do with, but that’s the price you pay for having the benefits of VAC, so it’s all rather moot.

      Valve can tell if VAC bans are in error because it gives them information on the detection that takes place, it depends on what’s causing the false positive as to whether it’ll only become apparent that it’s false after reaching a critical mass of bans/complaints. It’s not like they just unbanned everyone who was banned over that period or anything.

  6. Cael says:

    omg I wish I was vac banned for this

  7. Rinox says:

    Valve are love.

  8. Aemony says:

    Just another reason as to why I love Valve! But damn, this makes me wish I had played and gotten banned as well ;P

  9. Freud says:

    Pfffft. If they weren’t cheating I am sure they were thinking about it. Why reward them for that?

    • Mashakosha says:

      Contrary to popular belief, not everyone who plays MW2 is a complete dickwad. My friends and I play together almost daily and, assuming the other team aren’t dicks (most of the time) then it ends with exchanges of GG and suchlike. Similarly, not everyone who plays it has a burning desire to cheat. Yes, they exist, but grouping everyone under that banner is like an alien looking at politicians bickering and summarising that all humans are like that.

    • Devenger says:

      Mash: I’m totally with the alien on this one, just sayin’.

  10. Wednesday says:

    PROOF! That Valve don’t give a damn, that all they care about is ruthless profiteering!

    That they are the scourge of…, wait.

  11. Tuco says:

    Valve rocks, as usual.

  12. Jerricho says:

    Valve win at P.R. … and probably the internet.

  13. Demon Beaver says:

    Damn you Valve for not banning me! I wanted to get one of the L4D’s for my girlfriend, now I’ll have to pay for it )):

  14. kikito says:

    BONK! These guys are awesome.

    Iphones look like hospitals for fruit.

  15. Diziet says:

    Anyone got a ‘gift’ copy of L4D2 for me? :P

  16. Irish Al says:

    Gabe would win because he has the weight advantage and he’s not a messianic control freak.

  17. Squizz says:

    Wow, this is huge for Valve and VAC.

  18. MD says:

    Chances are a few of those affected were L4D2 boycotters. Now they’ll just be even more pissed off!

  19. tome says:

    Your header image cracked me up.

  20. Mythar says:


  21. Oddity says:

    Wow. I was really hoping this would happen. It was scary seeing how many were willing to blindly assume that Valve makes no mistakes and that all the people claiming innocence were liars.

    If I was one of the people falsely accused of cheating, I’d be demanding apologies from a lot of people right now.

    • MD says:

      Yeah. Hive fives to Valve for doing the right thing, and giant raberries at those who arrogantly leapt to judgment.

    • MD says:

      I am a giant raberry! Raaaaaa

    • Duoae says:

      Yeah, frankly i’m sick of all the people who blindly support companies like Valve and Blizzard no matter what they do.

      I’d love for all the people who were hating on those wrongly banned in the Steam forums and elsewhere to receive bans for their behaviour. Won’t happen but then jerks rarely get their comeuppance.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Except that the people that were whining before were apparently convinced that Gabe Newell is Satan and Valve is run by hell-demons.

      MW2 is still shit.

  22. mod the world says:

    I wonder how many other VAC errors that caused false positives happened in the past, where only a few people were wrongly banned and nobody wanted to listen to them.

  23. Freud says:

    I think there is an interesting debate to be had if a full Steam ban is a reasonable punishment for cheating in a single game. What in the world has my World of Goo to do with using aimbots in MW2.

    Of course one could argue that the punishment has a moral purpose. To smite the wicked so that he learns the error of his ways. On the other hand, it is also a customer that has paid a lot of money for the other games and him having access to those other games seems reasonable, even if he did cheat in MW2. In the back of my mind I can’t shake the thought that Valve figures that banning someones Steam account might lead to future sales when that person has to buy the stuff again.

    Furthermore, when the integrity of the process of bans can be questioned it makes Steam a less desirable option than the other DD services. They don’t have as invasive punishments, even if you use an aimbot in MW2.

    • Squizz says:

      I don’t think it’s a Steam account ban, it’s an engine ban AFAIK so just MW2 multiplayer would be effected.

    • CMaster says:

      Yeah, a VAC ban is not a Steam ban. It merely prevents you from playing games of the same engine on VAC secured servers on that Steam account. In the case of MW2, all servers are VAC secured. No singleplayer games are effected.

    • drewski says:

      You should at least bother to read up on a story before pontificating. VAC can’t ban you from Steam entirely; all it does is stop you playing multiplayer on VAC enabled servers for a particular game engine.

      As MW2 has no dedicated servers, this would obviously mean VAC would stop you playing MW2 multiplayer at all, but that’s it. Anyone banned by VAC from MW2 multiplayer will still have access to their entire Steam library, including MW2 single player.

    • Freud says:

      @ Squizz

      Thanks. That seems more reasonable. I figured they did a Steamban because I heard those that were banned complain about them having to get a new Steam account. I guess those cheaters just meant they needed a new Steam account to play the same game they had been banned from playing.

  24. bobince says:

    All Internet Talking Mans who immediately jumped to the conclusion that everyone involved was a cheat and a liar, and deserved everything handed down to them by a capricious and arbitrary automated arbiter: you have issues with deference to authority that you should probably get looked at.

    • MD says:

      I reckon we’re at risk of a wave of head-explosions as some of those you speak of confront the paradox of an infallible entity admitting a mistake.

    • Tiktaalik says:

      It wasn’t so much deference to authority as being willing to believe anything about people who play MW2. That makes it better right?!

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      It’s easy to believe they have poor taste in games.

      Also, every ad on this website is for Starcraft 2 with that trailer but they’re not playing at the same time. The side one starts right after the top one creating this weird sense of deja vu.

  25. Risingson says:

    Hello. The guys that said that it was the cheater’s fault and the people always cheated, where are you?

    Great work, Valve. Now please control the manners of the forum moderators.

    • Hallgrim says:

      Right here. Given zero provable facts, I thought it was more likely that the VAC bans were appropriate. Just because the unlikely turned out to be true doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with the logic :)

    • P7uen says:

      ‘Given zero provable facts I chose an outcome!’

      Awesome, yes. Logical, no.

    • Hallgrim says:

      @P7: Assuming Valve knows more than I do in the absence of any other reliable information is illogical?

      I think you’re confusing me with someone you were having an argument with :)

    • D says:

      Unless you’re a technical expert on VAC, there is no reason to think that mass VAC bans cannot be the cause of technical glitches. There’s no argument either way for believing that the people were cheaters or not.

  26. Risingson says:

    BTW, I accept the extra copy in case someone is interested :D

  27. ChaK_ says:

    valve > universe

  28. Psychopomp says:

    Valve wins at PR forever.

  29. Tom says:

    So much win crammed into so few words…

  30. Mark says:

    That was fast.

  31. Collic says:

    Once again my faith in Valve is justified :)

  32. Wulf says:

    And they continue to impress me, like the few favorite companies I have tend to do, it is their wont. I was quietly hoping they’d do something like this, and make the naysayers feel even sillier than usual, I mean, there must’ve been celebration in the Valve-hate crowd about this, and now I get to point and laugh at the aforementioned naysayers.

    Really, if Valve ever do anything really wrong, I’ll be the first to kick up a stink, but that they so consistently do things right gives me no reason to. And that free copy of Left 4 Dead 2 is pretty nice, though unfortunately those owning MW2 will probably have Left4Dead 2 all ready. My advice to fellow RPS gamers: If you don’t have Left4Dead 2, hang around the Modern Warfare 2 Steam forums, there are probably going to be more than a few people who’ll be feeling moderately generous.

    • Duoae says:

      So of course, because the system is opaque we have no idea whether there have been instances in the past where people were wrongly banned and Valve missed it. Clearly because a company made good on one mistake they admitted to because a lot of people made a stink about it they are always right and good and that people who question this are illogical haters…

    • Collic says:

      There are very good reasons why the system isn’t transparent. Those who don’t ‘get it’ never will. I wrote a long explanation of why this is in the other thread, as did others.

    • Duoae says:

      People understand that the VAC system isn’t transparent. It’s not that that most of us have issue with. It’s the transparency of Valve’s support system. You’ve no way to prove whether someone has been rightly or wrongly banned. Similarly, Valve might never have caught on to this false positive for MW2 and people would have been banned indefinitely.

      But since you find no issue with the whole process maybe it’s you who do not ‘get it’.

    • D says:

      Valve has shown with this that if some technical problems repeatedly causes unfair bans, it will be found and the bans will be rescinded. Of course there have been instances in the past where a single person has been unfairly banned, due to some technical fiddle outside his control. But it’s collateral in a war on cheating (because cheating ruins games for _many_ people), and as long as the occurances of errors are small, it’s an acceptable risk for a very large benefit. You could simply not have the same benefit if you opened up the system.

    • Duoae says:

      The problem with that is that the collateral worth is quite high because it’s not on a game-basis but an engine-basis. So you could (if this was theoretically Quake 3 engine-based game) lose all games from id, Raven, CoD, Jedi Knight 2 onwards… etc. etc. Same with the very popular Unreal engines… Then of course, there’s the label on your steam account for all to see and to ridicule and possibly further ban from other games because of that label.

      There’s a simple way these ‘collateral’ (a very cold and uncaring word if ever there was one in this case) instances could be reduced is if Valve actually had a support system worth a damn. Let people question bans via support tickets… hell, if you are worried about costs then make the person pay £20 for an appeal process. If the person ends up being falsely labelled then they get it that money back. After all, what’s £20 when your steam account may have hundreds of pounds-worth of items on it?

    • Duoae says:

      Also, i should note, D, that you and I have no idea whether the error rate is small. We simply [i]do not know[/i]. So while you’re assuming it is, i’m suggesting improving the system as a whole* which is a different matter.

      *because if you’ve ever had an issue with Steam or whatever you’ll usually see that they do not respond very quickly – and yes they have a big install base…. my answer: hire more people!! You don’t get BT support calls for the whole country supported by 100 people…

    • D says:

      Assuming Valve has already examined the data available to them, how is anyone then going to go about proving their innocence? The only argument that doesn’t sound like a cheaters excuse, is “Look at all these other people! The problem must be technical” – which Valve handles gracefully. I can understand the desire for a review-process, but if the review has already happened, and no excuse you say will help, then what is it for?
      (Aside from that devils advocacy, I can see no reasons that bans should be cross-game)

    • Collic says:


      The transparency of their support system, and VAC itself is one and the same. Your assertion that Valve should hire more staff just so they can individuality vet each and every contested VAC ban isn’t one I will ever agree with. It just isn’t practically possible, or needed in my opinion – and I said as much in the other thread.

      In the rare cases where bans are overturned Valve can see that a problem has arose, in all other cases a supposed hacker could never really prove their innocence anyway, as D says.

      As I said, you don’t get it.

    • Duoae says:

      @ Collic, i’d love to continue having this conversation with you but am not going to bother because you’re taking anything i say to an illogical extension and dismissing my points with “you don’t get it”…. which is highly insulting and pointless since we’re never going to be talking about the same thing.

      Some things that are not what you say they are:

      – VAC and the support system are not one and the same. I don’t need to know how VAC works or what it’s banning to get an explanation/have a conversation with a support representative.

      – The number of support staff Valve has is not in proportion with the number of customers they have. The immediate analogy is of a large store, say Lewis’ or Target or Homebase having only one staff member to deal with all the queries/sales. Despite Steam being able to support so many users (and concurrent users) their support team is unable to deal with all their support tickets in what other industries would determine to be a satisfactory time or manner with a lot of their issues handed off to the publishers of the game in question or a reiteration of the FAQ.
      I never said that they have to manually review every single ban and, assuming they have good reporting software written into VAC (having worked in software support myself) then checking on the reason for a ban and the likelihood that it was a false positive or unfair would be minimal at best – we’re talking the time to type in the user’s name and read a bit of text here – before having to go further in depth (this would rule out the vast majority of cases needing in-depth analysis).

    • Deston says:

      @ Duoae: Can I ask what leads you to believe that VAC is unfairly banning a lot of people? I understand your argument that we don’t know the numbers, but that works both ways… I think reasonably we can only go by our own experiences and those of people we know; in that case I’m lead to believe this system works pretty well considering the breadth of it.

      There was a similar situation about 18 months – 2 years back involving a friend of mine. A whole host of people were VAC banned from Source because of a malware infection that intended to accomplish just that. My friend had his ban overturned in around 3 days without even having to request it. I’m not saying it’s perfect, but it is another reason why I don’t think the system is so terrible… especially considering its effectiveness in keeping swarms cheaters out of games I paid honest cash for.

      As for the compensation in this case, a full priced game for losing the ability to play MW2 for a couple of days does seem extremely generous to me. My ISP and electricity provider has failed to provide me service for that amount of time in the past without so much as an apology, and those are undoubtedly far more critical services.

    • Duoae says:

      @ Deston. I didn’t say or assume that there are lots of people getting banned unjustly. But the way the system works at the moment you can’t even question your banning. Yes, the instances where there’s lots of people banned in one go for the same reason will be easier to analyse and see if there’s a common element there…. but for smaller numbers of people there won’t be any such force to make Valve look at their complaint.

      I know that if i was suddenly banned and labelled a liar and cheat by both the system and all the people in my various gaming circles I wouldn’t be happy about having no option available to question the decision. Nor would i be happy about being just reinstated with a quick “Oops, my bad!” from Valve as they have done in the past. This time they gave out a free game – one i already own and all my friends already own…. It’s about as useful as the extra copy of HL2:DM sitting in my account or all those extra copies of HL2 swirling around steam from people who bough the Orange Box.

  33. Vivian says:

    citation needed

  34. Carra says:

    Being the cheapskate I am I’d have just given them a free copy of Alien Swarm.

  35. ks says:

    Yes fine re-instated, but I have set up a new steam account and re-purchased the game are they going to refund me. Initially they basically said tough your banned for good

    • somnolentsurfer says:

      This is a good point, and I doubt you’re alone. Did you get the e-mail from Gabe? Did you reply and ask about a refund?

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      I think even Gabe would be like, “Whoa, really? It was like two whole days. Just go play a better game.”

      I find your faith lacking.

  36. Lobotomist says:

    I boycott Valve for not giving me a reason to boycott them !

  37. nil says:

    Header image illustrates the bug nicely: race condition.

  38. wazups2x says:

    Heck, I wish I got banned!

    Although that would be kind of hard because I don’t own MW2.

  39. Urael says:

    I’d be quite happy to accept a free L4D2 if anyone’s got one to give. :)

    Well done, Valve, for showing consistently demonstrating how the gaming business *should* be approached.

    • itsallcrap says:

      Hey, yeah – I didn’t even think of that!

      Anyone who really has no use for their spare L4D2 licence, this is me here:

      link to

      I’ll even give you my spare HL2:Ep1 gift in exchange…

  40. itsallcrap says:

    Seriously, they are just the way and the light, aren’t they? I’m so immensely glad we have a company like that spearheading PC gaming.

    • Bhazor says:

      Spearheading it with their pioneeringly invasive DRM? If only more developers would follow their shining example.

    • itsallcrap says:

      Well now, that’s a little unfair, don’t you think? Surely you remember the awfulness caused by Ubisoft and EA’s DRM systems.

      I’ve never heard of Steam’s DRM reporting false positives – VAC, in case you didn’t actually read the blog post, is nothing to do with DRM – and you can play your games offline provided they actually have an offline mode.

      I far prefer having to load the Steam client than having to dig out a different DVD for each game I want to play.

    • Wulf says:


      A more benevolent form of DRM frankly than any other I’ve ever encountered anywhere else. The only thing that gets better than Valve’s DRM is DRM-Free. And here are a couple of important points about Steam (for me):

      – When Steam is set into offline mode, Steam DRM-only games are damn near DRM free, as there are no phone-home checks, no online activity, nothing of the sort, since Steam believes there’s no Internet connection and takes this at face value. Furthermore, I can stay in offline mode for weeks. This has been verified, evidence is on the ‘net if you care to find it.

      – Steam DRM has never impacted the performance of any game I’ve ever bought from Steam, in… well, ever, since the dawn of Steam.

      Now let’s compare this with SecuROM:

      – Does do phone-home checks, and there’s nothing you can really do to stop it transmitting usage data, which is surely collected and passed on to advertising agencies. Unlike Steam, where you can stop that nonsense simply by going into offline mode. Your Steam page stops updating, of course (dur) but that’s the trade-off. Which I think is perfectly fair. At least Steam provides the choice.

      – SecuROM can really butcher game performance, even recently, a couple of games I bought from Gamer’s Gate that had SecuROM protection had really poor performance, by using a crack these performance issues went away. I saw a constant 5FPS drop and general framerate lag in Ceville, and The Whispered World was totally unplayable, with endlessly looping dialogue that sounded like a stuck record. Yet the Steam versions were fine.

      If a game has only Steam DRM, then it’s going to be better than any other distributor anywhere, unless that distributor is offering a DRM-Free game. If a distributor offers DRM-Free and a better price than Steam, then sure, go for it! You’d be an idiot not to. In my experience though, this happens once in a blue moon. :p

      The end result is that Steam is more benign than any other digital distributor out there, but hey… let’s fly in the face of logic and rationale, let’s demonise it some more without any good reason to, just because we’re afraid it might become a big, evil monopoly (protip: Steam is all ready a monopoly, and Valve aren’t acting at all evil).

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Bhazor does have a point though, even if it’s erroneous.

      It IS still DRM, but with the ability to download my games to any machine, I think I’ll take that. It’s non invasive and is more than just DRM, making it more of a service. Sure, it could be done without, but it’s nice to have the friends list, built in messenger, etc.

      Of course, people with no friends at all would have no reason to want it.

    • Bhazor says:

      You’re comparing Steam to programs that were released years later. Nothing compared to Steam at the time of its release, hence the key word Pioneering.

      Also I’m happy you’ve never had a problem with Steam. Me? I’ve been banned for two weeks for canceling a payment, I get “Unable to access Steam Servers at this time. Please try later.” about 40% of the time, I’ve had 5 gigabyte downloads canceled due to “Unexpected connection error”s with no way to resume, I’ve had Steam download game breaking patches and I’ve had non Steam games crash because Steam had a strop in the background.

      I also feel the need to point out this apology cost exactly $0.00 and is in response to a problem they have previously dismissed with
      “We will not un-ban your account regardless of the reason. It doesn’t matter if someone else used your account, you didn’t know what you were doing was wrong, your brother or sister downloaded a cheat you didn’t know about, etc.

      Use of your Steam account is your responsibility.”
      From the Steam Vac Forums. (A forum which is publicly viewable unlike the more serious banned accounts section which is only accessible with a password).

  41. Navagon says:

    But this broaches a wider question: does Valve always know when VAC bans are given in error? Or is it only when it affects such a significantly large number of people?

    • Corrupt_Tiki says:

      ^^ Exactly.
      Which is why no matter how good valve are (and they are REALLY REALLY Good ie +1up on Jesus). People still have to question it.

      -Question Everything – (Cliche =D)

    • Tei says:

      “But this broaches a wider question: does Valve always know when VAC bans are given in error?”

      The idea don’t make sense. The judge never condemns people he think innocent. but false positives happends.
      If gamers and devs choose to live in a lalala world where these things are impossible. Is his problem.
      I think is a weird idea, but some people seems to need it, .. the idea that VAC can’t do wrong.

      Also, math is against a system like this. Even a system that only fails a 0.1%, will still create 10 false positives in a game with 10.000 players. 0.01% or 0.001% error is too much. And these margins are beyond what machines, or machines combined with humans, can do.

    • Theory says:

      The chances of an MD5 hash collision are 1.47e-29. Written out in longhand, that’s 0.00000000000000000000000000000147%. Even if Valve are using the relatively weak CRC algorithm, the probability of a collision is 2.32e-10 or 0.0000000000232%.

      I’m happy with that.

    • Tei says:

      The md5 is only part of the equation. Or are you suggesting than this incident has ben spawend by a md5 collision? I doubt so. It seems the VAC system can be affected by other errors.

    • Theory says:

      (Those figures are for the possible range of values of course – the chances of collision when hashing increase with smaller data, down to a 50% chance of collision between values of one bit. I’ve no idea how to account for that.)

    • Theory says:

      You asked for the mathematics. What actually happened wasn’t a program error at all.

    • D says:

      Umm. Hash collision probabilities are usable for the cheaters only… Anyways, the point of the argument is more important than the math. Tei has the only correct approach to it, which is statistical, and the point is: A small amount of unfair bans is better than no bans at all.

  42. Corrupt_Tiki says:

    Well seems as how I own MW2, I should log on and see If I was banned..
    and then scour these forums to see who hates on MW2 Players/owners, and called everyone hax0rs =D

  43. Tei says:

    Valve, +1 the entire game industry, with good PR, awesome, and success.

  44. Demikaze says:

    I know it’s dangerous, that Valve are a business and not some cuddly-wuddly real life person I can interact with, but I really do adore them. They never seem to put a foot wrong, they’re often generous, but, even more importantly, they are RATIONAL in all that they do. That’s the most significant attribute, I think.

    A little part of me gets a bit scared though. What happens when, eventually, the current lot move on and new blood comes in. I hope the ethic always remains. I don’t think my belief system could ever take being hurt by Valve.

    Valve – the Pixar of the Game World.

  45. Jinny! says:

    Personally…I don’t think this is much compensation (it was on offer rather cheap recently if you remember). Especially if you already own the game, and all your friends own it.
    I wouldn’t be too happy if I was one of them at least…all I’m saying…At least they admitted it though.

  46. Dreamhacker says:

    See? See? That’s the Man being all nice and caring while he puts the masses to sleep!

    Valve is evil! VIVA LA RESISTANCE!

  47. Theory says:

    BTW, this isn’t the only VAC story recently. The times at which a golden wrench would drop in TF2 were leaked from Valve, and the guy who made wrote a script that crafted many many times at the right moment. He and his friends got their wrenches, but had them taken away and were manually VAC banned.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      That only happened because he was practically gloating.

      I’m still pissed about the Golden Wrenches crap especially since the only way to get them was to have cosmic knowledge to know that crafting all at once means you have practically no chance to get them unless that’s when it was supposed to drop. So, y’know, not random.

      I was hoping they’d give them to people with really high Wrench kills. Or top Heavy kills… with a wrench. Or other things that would guarantee that I’d get one. But justifiable stuff, at least.

    • Rinox says:

      hah, justifiable? That would only make it possible for the people who can spend 24/7 playing TF2 because they are on holiday or don’t have a family or job to get one.

      Since there was no way of knowing the exact times (unless you had access to the list, and they were banned) it was for all means and purposes ‘random’ to you or me in the sense that you had to craft and pray.

      I crafted away all my uniques (not my hats, lord no) just to have a shot at a wrench and didn’t get one, and it’s all good. The reality is that 99% of the people who get pissed off about the wrenches are just angry they couldn’t get them by a) grinding or b) spending every waking hour on the steam forum to watch for instructions on how to get the item. Two things that don’t exactly appeal to me personally. :-)

  48. Brian says:

    Call of Duty players? Angst? Never.

  49. Cat says:

    Wow, this is the correct reaction – nice one Valve, you never let us down :] (usually).

  50. tssk says:

    You know who loses here? Activision.

    “Hey you know how I was banned from Modern Warfare? They’ve said sorry! And they’ve given me two copies of this zombie game to play. Wanna try?”

    “Sure…I’m getting sick of COD anyway…worth a try…”

    Watch the number of players on Modern Warfare drop. Mwahahahahahahaha!