Valve's anti-cheat system booted 600k players in December, mostly from CS:GO

Valve's anti-cheat system booted 600k players in December, mostly from CS:GO

The Valve Anti-Cheat (VAC) system banned 600,000 players during the month of December, an all-time high for the initiative.

That's according to CS:GO guru Nors3, who posted on Twitter (below) that 609,373 users were banned last month. SteamDB pegs the figure at 611,492. The bulk of this number, regardless of the exact count, is reportedly from Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

December saw several waves of players being kicked in increasing numbers, suggesting that there have been incremental improvements to the VAC system.

This will no doubt also be tied to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive going free-to-play in December, a shift which saw 20m people play the 2012 tactical online shooter for the month.

Ahead of going free-to-play, Valve's shooter returned to the SuperData digital revenue Top Ten on PC. No doubt we'll be seeing the game in this chart much more going forward with the change in business model. 

Oh, and if you were curious how Valve was detecting cheating in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, the firm said last year that it has, um, 1,700 CPUs tasked with this matter, with a total of 3,400 at its disposal. The rise in bans might indicate that the PC giant has started employing more of this resource. The firm is also looking into machine learning as a means of halting cheating, something that Blizzard is also investigating with the long-term aim of being able to spot "toxic gameplay" in titles like Overwatch as well as toxic language

Microsoft is another firm turning to this AI tech to stop cheating, per a patent filing from May 2017.  

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.