Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Good Corporate Choices in Gaming: VAC vs. Cheaters

Lessons from Valve are always valuable.

Recently, Gabe Newell posted on reddit about some bans that happened because of their anti-cheat system, called VAC. When I read this post, I hadn't even heard about the 570 cheaters banned for linking their accounts to cheat servers. So that tells you how fast they replied, since gaming news is about the only news I follow. This should be lesson number one learned from Steam and Valve consecutively. Know your policies, and act on them quickly. 

Gabe knows his policies and seemingly so does his company. They've always been very consistent about providing the best possible gaming environment for their fans, and the increasing popularity of Steam just shows that it's working. Putting another feather in their cap here just makes their many plumed business plan shine that much more.

Basically what they're saying is that cheaters aren't tolerated, and at the same time, they are given many chances to right themselves. The avenues that VAC uses to determine cheating are none too short, and very fair as Gabe explains in his lengthy post. Honestly, I didn't lack faith in Valve, but if anyone did this post should squash that distrust with fervor. 

This type of exposition is a breath of fresh air. From the convoluted press releases that I'm used to seeing from EA, and the lack of information from other developers, a divide from developer to consumer has formed. It's uncomfortable and unnecessary. Most of their audience who is concerned with this type of news can easily decipher subtext from context. So telling it how it is, with specific references to cache and parsing is probably the smart thing to do, as Valve has promptly demonstrated.

I wish more companies would stop trying to fool themselves into thinking they can pull the wool over the eyes of their public. The public they serve are the tech savvy, the IT gurus, the hardware hackers,  that inevitably will find the truth no matter how much you try to hide it. So the next time a large corporation finds itself in a dilemma, maybe the best thing to do is just to tell the truth, and trust the public you have invested so much time and money into. If you can't trust that, then maybe you should re-evaluate what you're doing.

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