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Newell: Valve may have been doing “something stupid” with bans

Wednesday, 22 February 2012 01:15 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Asked about a high-profile Steam ban, Valve boss Gabe Newell said the company is still looking into the case, and constantly re-evaluating its policies.

The PA Report asked the Valve founder about a ban highlighted by Rock Paper Shotgun, in which a Russian user lost his entire Steam account; after press interest blossom, the account was restored.

“I think we’re actually checking to find out what was going on with our Russian customer, I got mail from people saying ‘what’s the deal with this?’ So I actually haven’t heard back yet,” Newell said.

“But on its face it seems kind of broken and those are the sorts of things we’re happy to fix. If you’re asking me to render a legal opinion then I’m just not the super useful person to render a legal opinion. I’m actually waiting to hear what the result of that specific instance was. At first blush it sounded like we were doing something stupid and then we’ll get it fixed.”

Newell said Valve has lawyers constantly exploring the troubling question of digital games ownership; many user agreements grant providers the right to withdraw paid-for products without warning or explanation, but the legality of this has never been fully challenged.

“It’s sort of like this kind of messy issue, and it doesn’t really matter a whole lot what the legal issues are, the real thing is that you have to make your customers happy at the end of the day,” Newell said.

“If you’re not doing that it doesn’t really matter what you think about various supreme court decisions or EU decisions. If you’re not making your customers happy you’re doing something stupid and we certainly always want to make our customers happy. And I think we have a track record of having done that.”

In later comments, Newell seemed to be implying that users can trust Steam to treat them fairly whatever the legal situation turns out to be – just as it proved itself a reliable provider, launching at a time when digital game sales were uncommon.

“People were worried when we started using Steam initially because, ‘oh my gosh, if I don’t have my discs what happens when I get a new machine?’” he said.

“And after they’ve done this a couple times they’re like ‘oh my god, this is so much better, I’m so much more likely to lose my discs than I am to have any problem with my Steam account, that seems way better than having a physical token that I use to access my content.’”

Thanks, Shack.

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16 Comments

  1. Talkar

    I still don’t trust Valve with the whole being able to lock you out of 100-500 games or more, just like that :/

    #1 3 years ago
  2. alterecho

    Yup. Though I like steam, there’s nothing like owning a boxed copy with a reasonable, self contained DRM. Something like Bad Company 2.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. DSB

    I don’t lose a wink of sleep worrying about this sort of thing. Valve have absolutely no reason to keep people from their games. None.

    Paranoia is just a waste of time and energy.

    I’m not going to cry foul because a guy who’s gifting games for money gets a ban, although they do need to communicate very carefully in those situations.

    I’m a lot more concerned about VACS and systems like that. On the one hand people shouldn’t be able to cheat, they should be fucked if they do, but on the other hand you never ever want someone to get banned without a really good reason.

    Valve already screwed up on that once, and it seems to be nearly impossible to get right. Punkbuster is useless as well.

    #3 3 years ago
  4. blackdreamhunk

    honestly I really like steam however you payed for the game you should be able to them not rent the games. I think that ” many user agreements grant providers the right to withdraw paid-for products without warning or explanation” and can be potential be abused.

    That being said that could affect consumers buying from your retail service in the long run.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. noherczeg

    Lose my 60USD disk they mean or what? If I’d lose that worth of an item I’d punch myself in the face intentionaly a few times

    OR

    DL a CloneDVD version and everything’s fixed..

    http://t.qkme.me/35llt4.jpg

    It’s still WAY FASTER to install any Dual layer sized game from disk even if you add the searching that it takes to find ones disk.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. El_MUERkO

    You’d think the Valve bods would be able to lock someone out of buying any future games for that account & block them from using the community features. That way the naughty person would still have access to their games but be unable to game the system or cheat further.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. silkvg247

    I think banning any player from games they’ve paid for is wrong.

    Even if they cheat.

    What I do think would be fun, is if instead there were permenanent labels, badges, or something to recognise said cheaters. To shame them and make them identifiable to the community is surely just as good, perhaps even better than a ban, and prevents the legal qualms of game ownership.

    I don’t think the tag shnould be permanent – say 3 months for a first time offender, scaling up to 6 months, a year, two years, doubling each time.

    Also if the tag was recognisable by punkbuster, there could be a PB setting to autokick or prevent join. That in itself would be an optional setting by a server admin.

    #7 3 years ago
  8. DSB

    @7 Wouldn’t that require a conscience? Cheaters are usually spotted within seconds of a round, they’re not exactly subtle, and they know they’re going to be named and shamed for the better part of a match.

    The only “100%” fair solution I could think of would be to put identified cheaters on special servers or special lobbies. Leave them with their own. They only have fun cheating because everybody else is actually trying to play the game fairly, so it would be poetic justice to lock them out of the game proper and leave them with their own kind.

    The only problem is that it costs money to keep up servers or make a seperate cheater matchmaking system, so that’s not publisher-friendly.

    Sadly I think this is very low on the list of priorities for publishers, but it really does take a lot of the fun out of games like Battlefield or CoD.

    #8 3 years ago
  9. silkvg247

    @8 Some might get shamed, some not – it’s not the only purpose. A label visible on their steam profile would mean server admins could identify, confirm and kick. Right now we’re never quite sure if someone is cheating or just very, very good – obvious cheating aside that is. We also don’t commit to memory the name of every person we suspect of cheating.

    The special servers idea is a good one, and sort of what I was getting at with the punkbuster thing. If PB could check and autoban, then they’d have no choice but to go onto non PB or cheater friendly servers anyway.

    Taking the idea further, if a game could hook into the steam API (which we know it can) and check a user “is a cheater” flag, all sorts of things could be conditioned in a multiplayer game, from an outright ban on joining servers to spectator only, to special server only as discussed.

    #9 3 years ago
  10. DSB

    I really don’t trust Punkbuster :P To play Bad Company 2 I had to manually close down the Steam overlay, because apparently Punkbuster hadn’t safelisted it.

    Good point about the labels though. I’m not too antsy about losing to people who are just better, so maybe I’ve missed a few cheaters along the way. But in something like CoD it’s usually very obvious from the killcam whether you’re looking at assists or human reflex. The assist glues itself to the target and doesn’t deviate even a little.

    In BF3 it’s usually the guy who’s constantly headshotting with something like an M249 straight across the map. It can’t be done consistently without help.

    It’s just really really hard to identify cheaters. Relying on reports is all well and good, but I used to be so good at MW2 that I got called a cheater in every other round. I wouldn’t like to be fucked for being good.

    #10 3 years ago
  11. silkvg247

    That’s my point, the label would only be given to people who have been proven beyond reasonable doubt of cheating, via bot detection or whatnot – there are tools out there that can identify when a person is running hacks. I don’t like PB much either, was just using it as an example. I’d rather steam + specific games have control over what to do with cheaters.

    All we have right now is suspicion, and it’s entirely possible to cheat and be subtle about it. I know, because as a purely experimental thing (honest!), I wallhacked the original CS. Was ridiculously easy to do, too. I’d know when someone was coming, wait til they were in LOS, and shoot them. Of course once I got bored of the experiment, I renamed myself to “IAmAWallhacker” and blatantly shot everyone through walls – the amount of people who couldn’t beleive the hack really existed, who were asking me about it and if it was real, were higher than you’d think. A lot of naive folk out there..

    #11 3 years ago
  12. freedoms_stain

    @10, or the guy who headshots you from the Russian Base on Noshahr Canals with a G18 pistol half way across the map twice without moving several minutes apart in the same match.

    That’s the only definitive cheater I’ve seen in BF3. What a prick.

    #12 3 years ago
  13. nsignific

    I used to get accused of cheating in Counter-Strike: Source. That was the higher form of praise you could get – even if the guy giving it had no idea (they thought you were cheating).

    #13 2 years ago
  14. noamlol2

    that’s why DRM blows in general

    you don’t own the game,you’re just privliged to use the service

    valve doesn’t see games a product, they see that as a service

    that’s why if i buy a PC game i always buy on gog.com or on hard disk

    cause i believe games to be a product, not a service

    #14 2 years ago
  15. CodenameD

    The real problem with Valve and it’s Steam service?

    Because the client is pretty shitty and broken. And heck, to think I can’t play any of my games without it.

    Ok so you wanna update? GREAT! Do it! In the background! And let me freakkin PLAY! Don’t start over if you can’t communicate with your servers!

    And I don’t use steam for multiplay so I guess I have no reason to fear VAC.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. noamlol2

    as much as steam is the PC savior

    it’s still a DRM
    a DRM that will not let you rent or sell your games back

    and that my friends is another reason i only buy from either GOG.com or by disks without a DRM (old games mostly) or with a self contained DRM like Dark Souls have (for online play)

    #16 2 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    PlayStation 4 firmware update version 2.50 has started rolling out. Reports are coming in saying that Yukimura, PlayStation 4′s firmware 2.50 has been made available to download. The update is clocking in at just 245mb, so get downloading. 2.50 brings with it many new additions, including the suspend/resume feature, backup and restore, accessibility options and […]

  • Harley Quinn DLC for Batman: Arkham Knight is a prequel

    Batman: Arkham Knight’s Harley Quinn pre-order DLC is set before the events of the main game, according to Amazon’s description. Today we learned a few details about the pre-order DLC for Batman: Arkham Knight, namely the Harley Quinn one. According to the description on Amazon, the DLC takes place in the lead-up to the events […]

  • Bloodborne Vicar Amelia summon mystery solved

    Bloodborne players unable to summon near Vicar Amelia: here’s your solution. Bloodborne’s secrets are unfolding by the hour as clever players piece together From Software’s cunning design. Yesterday we reported problems summoning in the Cathedral Ward, before the Vicar Amelia boss fight. It turns out this isn’t a bug – or if it is, it’s […]

  • Steven Spielberg will direct film adaption of Ready Player One

    Steven Spielberg will direct the film adaption of the sci-fi, virtual world, video game themed novel Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Warner Bros. bought the rights to the film in June 2010 and hired screenwriter Zak Penn to rewrite the previous draft written by Eric Eason, according to Deadline. The book takes place in […]

  • Bloodborne players with PS4 headsets shouldn’t forget about the custom audio

    Here’s a friendly reminder for Bloodborne players with PS4 headsets: be sure to download the Headset Companion App from the PlayStation store if you haven’t already. As previously reported, the game supports a custom Bloodborne audio mode which can be uploaded. It contains custom audio created by developers specifically tuned to enhance the audio. This […]

  • EA explains why FIFA Ultimate Team transfer prices are now platform specific

    EA has posted a blog entry explaining its FIFA Ultimate Team transfer market price ranges which now include platform-specific pricing in order to best the coin sellers. EA said it has implemented the changes to FUT over the last several weeks because it should be “fair and fun for every player,” ultimately coming to the […]

  • Game of Thrones: Episode 3 – The Sword in the Darkness now available

    In case you forgot, Game of Thrones: Episode 3 – The Sword in the Darkness was released today. It is available on Mac, PC, PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. The third episode releases on iOS devices and Android tomorrow, March 26. The Sword in the Darkness finds Asher Forrester heading to Mereen […]

  • Bloodborne players are already documenting their crazy antics

    Bloodborne has been available for almost two days now in North America, and already players are posting interesting clips and character customization choices for the game. Below are interesting takes on creating a character and videos of a frustrating death and another full of blood coming from a very painful place – monster or not. […]

  • FIFA Ultimate Team celebrates sixth year in existence with giveaways

    FIFA Ultimate Team is celebrating its sixth year in existence with special events running from today until March 29. According to EA, every FUT fan will be handed one free pack every day, and those who play at least one match in the FUT Birthday Cup will have a chance to win rare “tradable In-Forms” […]

  • Halo Online is a F2P PC game in development exclusively for Russia – video

    Halo Online is a free-to-play game which will launch this spring in Russia, and is in development with Saber Interactive. According the reveal event attended by IGN Russia, the game was designed to run well on lower-end PCs and runs on a modified Halo 3 engine. The game is set on a secret UNSC space […]

  • SteamWorld Dig Xbox One release expected in late May

    SteamWorld Dig is coming to Xbox One, developer Image & Form has announced. A firm release date hasn’t been announced, but the studio expects the title to arrive on the system in late May. “We’re preparing quite an elaborate Easter egg for the Xbox One version – a gaming thing that we really wanted to […]

  • SMITE celebrating first anniversary with a sale on skins, Ultimate God Pack

    Hi-Rez Studios is celebrating the first anniversary of SMITE with a sale. From today through Friday, March 27, the Ultimate God Pack, which includes all current and future Gods, will run you $19.99. Alll individual pre-launch skins are 50% off, and all Gem Packs will award bonus gems. In addition, from March 27-29, all SMITE […]

  • Borderlands 2 has sold around 12 million copies, says Gearbox

    Speaking with Microsoft’s Major Nelson in his podcast, Gearbox Software boss Randy Pitchford stated Borderlands 2 has sold somewhere around the 12 million mark. As of August 2014, it was announced by Take-Two in its financial report the 2012 game had sold-in 10 million units. Pitchford noted in the podcast he learned of the figures […]

  • Broken Age releasing on PS4 and Vita same day as Act 2 on PC

    Double Fine Productions has announced it will release Broken Age on the PlayStation Store next month. Act 2 will also be released on PC. The full Broken Age adventure will release on PlayStation 4 and Vita on April 28 in North America and April 29 in Europe. It features cross-buy and cross-save. Broken Age Act […]

  • Star Citizen earned another $1 million within two weeks – total hits $76 million

    Star Citizen continues its funding streak with backers pumping another $1 million into the game’s development in the last two weeks. The total earned for the space sim has now reached $76 million ($76,015,532 to be exact) with 851,395 backers contributing to the staggering figure. Star Citizen’s latest update was version 1.1 which included two […]

  • Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, Resident Evil Revelations 2 and Battlefield: Hardline top Media Create charts

    Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, Resident Evil Revelations 2 and Battlefield: Hardline were the big ticket debuts during the March 16-2 period in Japan, with each game claiming the top three slots on the Media Create charts, respectively. Final Fantasy Type-0 HD moved 92,094 on PlayStation 4, while Resident Evil Revelations 2 moved 73,373 units on […]

  • You can now learn English or Spanish on Xbox One with the Rosetta App

    Want to learn English or Spanish? Rosetta Stone has an App for that on Xbox One. According to the language teaching firm, Rosetta Stone’s Discover Languages, the new application teaches English and Spanish by way of immersive simulation. Users will virtually travel to learn vocabulary and grammar “necessary for real-world interactions.” Here’s how it works: […]

  • PayDay 2 and PayDay: The Heist have sold over 9 million units combined

    The PayDay franchise is a lucrative IP for Starbreeze and Overkill, as both games combined have sold over 9 million copies as of November 2014. The company has also sold over 8 million paid DLC packages since PayDay 2 was released in 2013 (via NeoGAF). In its Q2 half year report issued in February, net […]

  • Nintendo wants to “surprise” customers with NX, not expand upon existing hardware

    Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has firm wants to “surprise” players with its new NX system. Speaking in an interview with Nikkei, translated by Kotaku, Iwata wouldn’t go into details on the new system, but stated expanding on a current gaming system would be “dull.” “In the past few years, the idea of what [encompasses] a […]

  • Kojima Station show suspended

    In another episode in the the ongoing kerfuffle between Hideo Kojima and Konami, the publisher has suspended the Kojima Station web show. Recent tweets from the newly created Japanese Metal Gear Solid account confirm that Kojima Station will not be broadcast tomorrow, but would not provide a date for the next episode. The Tweets were […]

  • Watch Battle Royale for free this weekend on Xbox Live

    Square Enix is celebrating the launch of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD by offering Xbox Live members in the UK a free rental of Battle Royale. Starting Saturday, March 28 and through Sunday, March 29, Xbox Live members in the UK will be able to rent Battle Royale through the Xbox Video Store, for free. The […]

  • Bloodborne journal, part 1: managing anxiety on the path to the Cleric Beast

    Bloodborne is both like and unlike the Souls games. Brenna descends into Yharnam with reluctance and trepidation. Need help succeeding in Bloodborne? You need our Bloodborne walkthrough and boss guide. Bloodborne isn’t Demon’s Souls or Dark Souls. Let’s get that out of the way right off. I enjoyed both Dark Souls games, but it was […]

  • PS Store Easter sale discounts MGS: Ground Zeroes, Far Cry 4, more

    The Easter Sale is live on the EU PS Store, with Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes for less than £10, FIFA 15 Deluxe Edition for £30 and other savings. Some of the PlayStation 3, PS4 and Vita discounts are valid through April 8, other through April 15. PlayStation Plus members can also take an […]

  • Bloodborne video: how to unlock the first shortcut in Old Yharnam

    Here’s a video for Bloodborne players showing a quick way to unlock the first shortcut in Old Yharnam. It also provides a look at things you may have missed in Central Yharnam and The Sewers, courtesy of VaatiVidya. Don’t forget, we have guides posted for the game with more updates coming soon. Bloodborne released in […]

  • Bloodborne issue prevents summons at Vicar Amelia fight

    A Bloodborne bug has prevented players calling on help to take on one of the nasty early bosses. Bloodborne bosses are significantly easier to take down in co-op. Unfortunately, at least one of them is proving difficult to find help for – and not just because not many players have obtained the Small Resonant Bell […]

  • Mass Effect 3 on sale on EU PSN, but not free

    Mass Effect 3 is discounted on the European PSN, but it’s not free. Update 2: The option to add to cart now lets you choose between the free trial or full version. The full version is on sale for £6.49 or £5.84 for PlayStation Plus members. The free trial is of course is still available, […]

  • Elite: Dangerous Race to Elite winners announced, one player makes £10,000

    The winners of Elite: Dangerous’ Race To Elite competition have been announced, with one player receiving the grand prize of £10,000. Back when Elite: Dangerous launched, developer Frontier announced a competition that would award players to first reach Elite rank in trading, exploration, or combat, a prize of £1,000 each. The grand prize – £10,000 […]

  • GTA 5 Online Heists guide: How to make the most money with Special Bonuses and Elite Challenges

    You’re not hitting heists for the good of your health. Here’s how to max cash rewards. Money. GTA Online players love it. Greenbacks are the core of the entire experience, allowing you to buy the best weapons, vehicles and stupid haircuts. Heists, as promised, gives more opportunities than ever to earn serious cash, but once […]

  • PlayStation 4 firmware update 2.50 coming tomorrow

    PlayStation 4 firmware 2.50, codenamed Yukimura, is due for release tomorrow, March 26. Firmware update 2.50 for PlayStation 4 will be launching tomorrow, March 26, Sony has announced. Codenamed Yukimura, the system update is promised to bring suspend/resume feature, trophy sync improvements, accessibility options, and much more. 2.50 has been in beta testing a while […]

  • GTA 5 Online Heists guide: adversary modes, daily objectives, free roam challenges and more

    Heists aren’t the only addition in GTA Online’s latest DLC – there’s a lot of content that can earn you big RP and cash payouts. GTA 5 Online Heists guide: adversary modes, daily objectives, free roam challenges While heists are the talking point and big payoff after more than a year of waiting, there’s a […]

  • Battlefield Hardline: what’s the best Police sniper rifle?

    What’s the best bolt-action, Police sniper rifle for the Professional class in Battlefield Hardline? Let us help you answer that question. As you’re probably aware, Battlefield Hardline weapons are class specific and faction specific. This makes deciding on a good weapon and loadout much harder than it was in Battlefield 4. Which is where Westie […]

  • Evolve 1.3 patch nerfs Wraith, adjusts Kraken

    Evolve is receiving a new patch that aims to put an end to the Wraith’s dominance. Evolve developer Turtle Rock outlined a few of the changes coming in patch 1.3. The patch brings balance changes to the monsters – mainly the Wraith – as well as other various changes to Hunters’ tools based on player […]

  • Bloodborne: watch the opening 40 minutes

    The opening minutes of Bloodborne really do set the stage for what’s to come. They’ll also help you decide if this game is for you. Arekkz Gaming has captured the first 40 minutes of Bloodborne. Complete with the opening cutscene, and the first few obstacles you’ll face. The video is commentary free, so wear headphones […]

  • YouTube will relaunch livestreaming service with focus on eSports and gaming – report

    According to industry sources, Google is preparing to relaunch YouTube’s livestreaming service with a focus on eSports and gaming. According to anonymous sources speaking to TheDailyDot, Google is planning to bring back YouTube’s livestreaming service. The company is said to have started recruiting around 50 engineers with experience in the field, “a pretty big statement […]