Valve has given new powers to Steam games developers. From now on games developers can ban users from individual games. A so called Game Ban is "enforced by Valve, but is enacted at the developer’s request and discretion," explains VG247. As with some previous recent announcements by Valve/Steam, this one seems to have been made with good intentions but might turn around and cause controversy.
The new Game Ban system has been introduced simply "because nobody likes playing with cheaters," says an official explanatory post on the Steam site. As many PC gamers will know, Steam already implemented the Valve Anti-Cheat (VAC) system in many games, which would ban users from accessing a wide range of online multiplayer games within Steam. At least the new system should result in bans of misbehaving users from only the games where they are seen to be causing problems. Also some games outside the VAC system may be made more playable thanks to developer instigated individual Game Bans.
Another suggested benefit of the new Game Ban system is that the developer probably is more likely to find the resources to 'police' their own games to make them as cheat-free, appealing and fun for as many users as possible. Those interested in what this new ban system means to the individual games they play are asked to check out the developer's pages devoted to the games in question.
Some may worry about abuses of Game Bans by unscrupulous developers. It is not beyond the realms of possibility that some developers could try and ban gamers who have been outspoken about a game's development issues, bugs or features. It will be interesting to hear from some of the first folk punished by a Game Ban and what they have to say about the system.
Below I have reproduced the entire short official explanation of the Game Ban system:
"Banned by Game Developer (Game Ban)
Because nobody likes playing with cheaters.
Playing games should be fun. In order to ensure the best possible online multiplayer experience, Valve allows developers to implement their own systems that detect and permanently ban any disruptive players, such as those using cheats.
Game developers inform Valve when a disruptive player has been detected in their game, and Valve applies the game ban to the account. The game developer is solely responsible for the decision to apply a game ban. Valve only enforces the game ban as instructed by the game developer.
For more information about a game ban in a specific game, please contact the developer of that game."