Global bans

Connor reports that a streamer claimed that he broke the NDA of an alpha state game of EA and in turn EA took all his titles. Connor rightfully says that this allegation can’t be proven.

But I don’t care. My point is “well done”. If you cheat in a casino, you are banned from all casinos. You default on one loan and your global credit score is damaged, other banks can see it and don’t give you loan. But if you cheat in a video game, or hack it and damage it or behave horribly in chat, the worst thing that happens to you is you are banned from that one game.

This is a bad approach from the developers, because this allows the cheaters to simply move another game. There they cause mayhem and they have no reason to ever reform because there is always another game.

I’m surprised that game companies let troublemakers keep on playing their own other titles. That’s just dumb. But I go further. Game companies should create shared anti-cheat, anti-hack and anti-asshattery systems, suspending players from all games if they misbehave in one. After all, breaking the real-world contract that you click OK on is not an in-game behavior, but a human behavior outside of the games. If you buy gold in WoW, you should get a one-month suspension not only from WoW, but also League of Legends, protecting that game from you buying account training. If you called your teammates racist slurs in LoL, you shouldn’t be playing World of Warships either, since we don’t want your slurs here.

Video games are bigger industry than casinos. So let’s take them seriously already and make some shared security services.

Before you’d mention the political censorship of Silicon Valley, I see no problem, because video games are not places for political speech. If someone annoys a WoW Looking For Raid group by quoting my own pro-Trump speech, I won’t care. He should be shooting the boss and try to outdamage the pet of the MM hunter instead of babbling about immigrants. This isn’t Twitter which is explicitly made to allow people share their views. It’s a video game!

Author: Gevlon

My blog:

41 thoughts on “Global bans”

  1. Monstrous. You’d hand over control of access to your hobby to a consortium of ever-consolidating companies. One over-promoted Falcon later and you’re banned from every game you “own”. No appeals. You know that’s where this idea would end.


  2. Confiscating a players game holdings isn’t the same as a casino banning you from future play. The casino doesn’t go to your home and take all your cards and dice.

    Or if you default on a car loan, that doesn’t give the bank the right to repossess your home (assuming you continue to make payments on the home loan).

    What your analogies seem to indicate: If you are banned from one game, game companies should stop selling you new games, which is a reasonable suggestion.


  3. @LazyE: Falcons can only exist in niche games. There is no “Falcon” in Blizzard and for a good reason. Also, if your dystopia happens, video games will be the least of our problems.

    @Sord: you aren’t banned from your single player games. You are banned from future cheating other players.

    @Stawek: sure, pro cheaters, botters will pass it. Hell, botters manage to bot the same game again and again in new accounts. But 99% of the cheaters, “hackers” (those who use purchased software) and chat abusers are just idiots who couldn’t mask their trails. If I can get rid of the 99, I take that.


  4. Too much power for the gaming companies cannot mean good things for the consumer. Although I am all in for banning cheaters, and mutting spergers.


  5. @Valorfist: gaming companies can never have any power, because gaming is a hobby. Being wrongfully denied gaming isn’t threatening your existence and rights. Ergo, they can’t hurt anything but themselves if they start to wrongfully ban people.


  6. @Gevlon for most yes gaming is a hobby, but what if you are a streamer/ytouber/blogger and you make a living, then the Falcon type could blackmail you into playing by the rules(ye never criticize the game) or bannhammer.


  7. “Video games are bigger industry than casinos.”
    Are you sure ? That’s highly not probable.

    Even if it is “true” with official numbers, casinos are intertwined with “politics”, “power persons” : they are often used for money laundry and other shaddy activities. That’s why this money is “sacred” there, and cheaters are banned (if not killed in some countries).

    But I like your comparison.
    We, gamers, to achieve what you suggest, have to gather into a “mafia” to enforce it : Ban the cheaters !


  8. @Maxim: of course no company should be forced to join the group enforcement. But selective enforcement (the company bans some global cheaters and not others) is a no-no, it’s Falcon land. They either ban everyone who is globally banned, or they don’t have the global ban sticker and the players will decide if they want to buy the game full of cheaters.

    @Valorfist: pro tip: get a real job.


  9. Game companies want to sell their product. Why they should ban players to ever buy their product? That seems not profitable.


  10. @Anon: for the same reason why casinos ban cheaters and banks ban defaulting clients. Because they cause trouble that costs money to the company. Game masters need to be paid to clean up the mess and paying customers can ragequit over their crap.


  11. You have been banned from Overwatch for “disruptive behaviour”. Does that mean that you should not be let in any multiplayer game ever again?


  12. The article that was linked indicates that it is currently all unconfirmed rumors, and yes, people who break NDAs set themselves up for a world of hurt. But a game account can represent a significant amount of money and disabling it without allowing recourse or appeal is a class action lawsuit waiting to happen. And game companies can put whatever crap in their EULA, at some point consumer protection laws will take precedence (and looking at a dysfunctional place like California I think that even there the lawyer lobby is stronger than the game company lobby).

    I have no issue with people getting banned for cheating or botting, but I also don’t want my entire account wiped because some SJW takes offense if I set my favorite music to “Baby, it is cold outside”.


  13. @Souldrinker: I got a 1-day and then a 3 days suspension in Overwatch and then quit. If this system would be global, that would have gotten a 1-day global ban and then immediately quit Overwatch to avoid more global bans. Which would have been much better for everyone.

    @Freddo: and such class action lawsuits would help creating a code of rules that binds both developers and players. Devs can’t ban at whim in fear of a won lawsuit while players can’t cheat in fear of global ban.


  14. Its not exactly the same to compare casinos and computer games. Cheating in casinos gives very direct source of income for a cheater – money. Cheating in games gives different benefits and is dependent on way cheat is applied. Mostly it gives other kind of unintended power to a player, game experience, gold, wallhack, aiming aid, fast travel etc. While in the long run it will lose customers, but in short term you gain paying accounts. Example banning botter from current game only gives botter a reason to buy one account more, so you can show higher player count, make it look in short term like people play that game more what gives more publicity to gain more customers. Speciel if a game is crap, this short term money pumping loopback, where cheater is usually game developers itself, gives financially more out then not allowing a global cheater to ever buy the game. Its a good utopia to dream, abusing is sadly more profitable then playing on rules.


  15. Gevlon, Falcons absolutely exist in the larger organizations. There’s nothing magical about the size or niche-ness that make an organization immune to corruption or even just feeling immune to consequences. You’re advocating handing tremendous power over to the same people that want to lootbox the world. Then you’ll get reported by people like you were in Overwatch, and eat a ban across every game you own. You’re a smart dude, but damn this idea is dumb.


  16. @LazyE: how come that we’ve never heard of Falcon in Blizzard? Where are his actions?

    I wasn’t BANNED from Overwach, I got a 1-day and then a 3 days suspension and then quit. If this system would be global, that would have gotten a 1-day global suspension and then immediately quit Overwatch.

    Also, in wrongful global bans, some people would start lawsuits, forcing game companies to use proper standards before banning (just like you can appeal your credit score)


  17. Gevlon, if the system were global, then activities would be traced across games. From a pure analytics standpoint it would be irresistible, for starters. But even if they didn’t care about that, your Overwatch temp ban, followed by getting reported in League, would be a prior offense. So then you get a longer ban.

    And frankly, by your logic this would be a desirable result. It sure would get people to not do anything that might get them reported, because then every game in their library becomes worth about as much as a lump of lead.

    Of course even in the current fragmented system, it is impossible to get a ban overturned. Companies never admit fault in how they arrive at the decision to ban or otherwise punish a player. You encountered that yourself.

    If this system of yours popped up, then you would already be on strike 3 with your next offense.


  18. @LazyE: And if I’d get permabanned for no reason, I’d sue. Now I have no reason to, because who cares about Overwatch. Then I would care and suddenly game companies would have a good reason not do do automatic bans based on reports, because of legal fees and damages.


  19. You’d sue. That’s adorable. Good luck against the literal legion of lawyers and being forced into arbitration anyway after you signed away your right to sue when you clicked “Agree & Install”.


  20. @LazyE: and an company will keep a legion of lawyers just to let them wrongfully ban players?

    Also, I would suddenly care about the banning practices of the games, instead of just assuming that they don’t wrongfully ban. Overwatch always had a bad name for automatic bans for picking “wrong” champions, I just didn’t care. I would have more seriously research the game and wouldn’t have bought it in the first place.


  21. Gevlon, all you counter arguments sound like “Then it would take more work for system to ban correctly”: you would have to sue/counter-sue, “research” not only if the game is good, but if the game is trustworthy to not ban indiscriminately and so and so worth (more work). You are basically saying that all games need to become serious business. You would have to waste a lot of resources (mainly time) just to play games. That is counter to what most games are to most people. They are not supposed to be work-like, they are supposed to be GAMES. And most people treat them as such, not seriously, but “casually”.

    If you don’t wanna play with ArthasDKlol69 (or whoever) in the same group/guild, because he is shit at some game, that’s one thing. Saying, that you need to force your set of rules on every ArthasDKlol69 is a bit much, don’t you think? And it is people like Arthas here, who would get most global bans in your system, because they are idiots that couldn’t care less about EULA contents. Compare how you would feel, if the majority (and majority of gamers are stupid and do not want all of this hassle) would force you to their rules. You would be raging and simply left the games alltogether. Which is a valid choice, but then why do you, as a minority, try to force your rules on others?

    Is it because you believe your choices and decisions on how to play all games are superior? How do you measure that? Who is the high judge, who will decide, which gaming tendencies are better? All I am saying, you are making games a terribly complicated matter. Bringing beliefs and politics (in this case, meritocracy) in gaming is bad not only when SJWs do that, but when other groups start the same. It’s ok, if there is one game that caters to you or any other group, I don’t give a damn if there a game about gender-fluid dragonkins in the suits, it’s not ok if all the games encourage you to be a gender-fluid dragonkin. We cannot achieve consensus in what good game practices are, so let’s not try to force all-encompassing rules as well.


  22. @Roman: games are already serious business. Multibillion dollars.

    But you are missing the point. ArthasDKlol is ALREADY banned from WoW if he behaves horribly there. Nobody, not even you complain about this. Then why do you care if ArthasDKlol gets banned automatically from other games too? What changes here?

    I’m NOT saying to ban anyone who weren’t already banned based on my “choices and decisions”. I’m saying that if someone is banned by the CURRENT RULES, he should be banned everywhere else, since he is a rulebreaker.


  23. @Gevlon
    Now that we have concluded that something ESRB-like could do the enforcement, how that would happen technologically?
    I mean, every way to identify someone on the Net can be countered. Any true verification of that sort would require all outlets with the antiCheatRB sticker on it to basically tie accounts to physical passports. Or maybe hook themselves up to a banking ID system.

    I am not entirely comfortable with the thought of games industry getting fused with globabl banks (any more than it already is).


  24. @Maxim: most cheaters are idiot kids who neither care, nor able to conceal their accounts. They happily bot away with his Steam library having 50 games in it. Or do some clear bug-abuse for lols without giving a second thought. They aren’t smart, otherwise they wouldn’t do this shit.

    Yes, a 1% RMT botter could hide. But who will buy their botted gold if all the buyers are banned for goldbuying.


  25. “he should be banned everywhere else, since he is a rulebreaker.”

    No, that’s not true. Repeat killers/rapists and repeat thieves should not go in the same prison. If you stole 5 times and you killed 5 times, it’s not the same.

    The same is correct for the games, not all rulebreakers are the same. For example, I remember that I did HEX cheats in Mortal Kombat to unlock everything. I used it for single-player, but I am pretty sure, since you can play in multi-player, that’s against EULA. I don’t care, if I suddenly get banned in MK (I am not that into online MK, I am just checking the game mechanics). But if such ban was done (it wasn’t, they didn’t care about such behaviour, even though they were selling microtransactions with the same effect), I would be incredibly pissed, if my other online games were suddenly taken from me. Especially since I have bought real money on some of them.

    Your system has little flexibility, it seems. Sure, it does make life harder for RMTers, botter, cheaters, but it also opens up huge probabilities of problems for other gamers as well. It’s much closer to “guilty until proven innocent”.


  26. Why not link ingame activity to a overall social score? bans in game equals no credit or that high of a credit from a bank. And on the subject just calculate the overall activity as a sum of a person.
    Just banning isn’t enough … cut limbs and behead them!


  27. @Roman: it seems to me that you are just a (self-admitted) cheater being scared of consequences of his bad actions. Good. That’s the goal.

    Pro tip: pay the microtransaction or stop playing instead of hacking the game files next time.

    @Anon: I don’t think that game cheating implies loan default, so there is no reason to damage the credit score. I do think that game cheating implies … game cheating, so the guy has no business around games.


  28. Anon above nailed it. You’ve effectively just proposed the system China is implementing of social scores. Do a bad thing in one place, get punished everywhere. No thanks. Cheating and trolling are annoying but the system you’d institute to stop it would kill the joy in any multiplayer game. Reporting systems and their enforcement are draconian, subject to groupthink, and impossible to effectively fight against. I once spent 2 weeks trying to reverse a ban on my son’s account for a game, because his password got guessed and some dude in Ukraine jumped on and was using hacks. I had to work relentlessly, and I only got traction because it was a relatively small developer. You won’t ever get that sort of customer service at Riot or Blizzard. You saw that. They won’t even *consider* overturning obviously spurious bans because they refuse to set a precedent that they can be overturned, or that their process can be flawed.

    You have good ideas here occasionally. This one is evil, though.


  29. @LazyE: I got suspended ONCE in 10 years, for doing something that I ADMIT to annoy my teammates. Sure, my teammates were morons, but I do accept the right of the publisher to cater to morons. I should have properly research Overwatch and realize that it’s a non-competitive “fun” game for idiots who like cartoon missiles and leave them be.

    Have you noticed that if you kill a person, you can’t just go on with your life while being nice with other people because you are put into jail? That’s because it’s reasonable to assume that you’ll be killing more guys.

    Finally you are missing something fundamental. Game companies want to sell games and banning innocent players is bad for business. Ergo, THEY will do the research for me and simply won’t welcome any automatic-banning game in their system.


  30. No, they really won’t. It’s a crucial error to believe that pure profit motives will stop ideology and personal agendas from being endemic to the platform. And as the companies consolidate and merge to one platform, more and more power ends up in the hands of fewer and fewer people.

    You and 17 other people will vote with their wallets or threaten lawsuits that they can’t afford, and the companies will keep pumping out form letters.


  31. @Gevlon
    I interact a lot with kids through work and let me tell you – when they want to hack stuff, the hack gets found and spread through their circles really damn fast.
    Kids are still idiots, but nowadays they are getting a very technically savvy kind of idiot.


  32. Have you noticed that if you kill a person, you can’t just go on with your life while being nice with other people because you are put into jail? That’s because it’s reasonable to assume that you’ll be killing more guys.

    well yes. the punishment aspect of putting someone into jail is still the main thing we decided as society under one constitution and law. We also decided that after they where punished that they can be part of society again. the main difference here is that this ruleset is put into place by the government and not by private corporations.
    Obviously any system like politics, jail, law, lobby and other stuff in the west is very much _NOT_ without flaws. but any alternative and anything else seems to be worse (metric here seems to be: body count, torture and spilled blood). A bunch of silicon valley “smart guys” and not so “smart” can’t think reasonable in those scales. These systems are put in place after _real_ rivers of blood. Free Speech is there because it has out of all the alternatives the most potential to not spill that much blood.

    just listen to this: Patreon CEO Jack Conte: Lauren Southern, IGD, and Free Speech (Live Interview)
    43:21 “there is a lot of smart people, that are thinking very very hard about this. and making good thought-out rigorous evidence based decisions”

    first of all – Separation of Power and Due Process! obviously smart guys need to read up on it! … for those smart people there is a reason we as a society make law our common ruleset. it isn’t perfect … but anything else is worse! if you really don’t think so because your yard is green, your belly is full and you can sleep with a clear conscience every night … guess what will happen (hint look at history)

    second of all – people in this age think them selves above the dark ages! explicitly I refer to witch hunts and the inquisition but you can name really any epoch that didn’t focus loosely “on the individual as sacred” and “disputes are argued about (freespeech)”. Anything on a grander scale in history where made and thought out by the elite of that time. They were “a lot of smart people that are thinking very very hard about this. and making good thought-out rigorous evidence based decisions”!

    The inquisition was probably a very good and positive idea at that time. I can picture lots of silicon valley minds at that time period. after some hilarious laughs in the morning meting, just flat out torturing and killing of “the branded” people. false positives? too bad.


  33. @Anon: non-governmental “powers” can be avoided. Yes, Silicon Valley execs are often evil and stupid. But guess what: Lauren Southern is still out there, making films, she wasn’t destroyed. Milo just visited Hungary, he seemed fine. Tucker Carlson is still the highest viewer count TV host. So the big deplatforming conspiracy failed.

    Same would happen if gaming execs would systematically abuse the global ban to silence either political opponents or people who want no welfare in gaming. Alternatives would rise and thrive. There would be 2-4 “ban alliances” group of games who share bans. You get banned at A alliance, you can still play at B alliance, until you get banned there too, because you are a hacker.


  34. @Gevlon

    “it seems to me that you are just a (self-admitted) cheater being scared of consequences of his bad actions. Good. That’s the goal.”

    I’ve cheated in a single player game to unlock single player things. I chose that path, when the good developers provided me with micro-transactions (things could be unlocked for a single-player game for a good chunk of money). I am not scared of consequences of cheating (I don’t cheat in multiplayer, there is not reason, really). I am afraid that companies cannot be trusted with such power. We have seen plenty of games make even single-player games into a pay-to-unlock (Shadows of War or Forza are recent examples). You would say: “Then don’t buy a game”. I would say: “Buy the base game and then cheat the content”. Does that make me a cheater? Maybe, although I would identify that more as piracy. What are your views on piracy? If a pirated a game, then shouldn’t I be banned from all further games, maybe stripped of my other games? There is some logic to it. But the same logic dictates to cut of an arm of a thief. A bit draconian. It seemed to me, that we, as humanity (not all of us, look at Saudi Arabia) have moved further away from such interpretation of morality. After all, as a child I pirated about 100% of my games, and now I can’t remember a single game, that I haven’t bought myself (sometimes even in multiple copies over different systems). What I think there should be some “rehab” centers for cheaters. Maybe we should make a server only for cheaters? Would that be fun for them and helpful to the general population?


  35. @Roman: yes, a cheater or pirate should be banned from games, at least for a time being.

    Arms can be used for good. Games, not really. They are entertainment, you can live a productive life without touching any of them.

    Yes, there should be a rehab for cheaters, the same thing that there is for credit defaulters: repay! You should approach the company that banned you and pay the damages you caused to them and get unbanned. Or, if you caused the damage to fellow players, there should be some mediation method where you can send them a letter for apology, maybe offer them money for the damages you caused.

    Finally, there should be some “time served” feature to give another chance after a year.

    Sure. But all of these are secondary to the main task of making cheating, piracy, hacking and abusing other players costly to the little punks.


  36. @Gevlon

    Sorry for a lot of words.

    First of all, your argument is based upon the idea of “They are entertainment, you can live a productive life without touching any of them.” You certainly can. But if anyone can live a productive life without them, then surely, they can live productive life with cheaters in them. Don’t you contradict yourself a little bit here? Your another idea is that games should be taken seriously is at odds with your first one. That not logical fallacy, mind you, you are probably just speaking about two different (not exactly distinct) groups of people, those who are competitive and those who are having stupid fun. Sometimes, cheaters can be those “fun having” people. Back in free-shard WOW years, there were many servers, where you could try cheats and not be worried. Were those cheaters? They did not harm official servers. How do you feel about those people? Sometimes (and the worst abberations come from those cases) cheaters do bridge the gap between those two groups of people (like someone cheating at a tournament), sure, those should probably be banned (and maybe even persecuted as crime). But others? “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”

    Second, have you ever seen any other entertainment being as harsh about punishment? You can’t ban a person from reading books, if he “cheated” at book and didn’t read half of it. You can ban person from movies, because he didn’t get the original author’s idea. Why should the games be taken as seriously as monetary credits? You often cite real economic problems and show them on the same scale as games, but should such logic even apply here?

    Thirdly, if we ban pirates (usually those are just kids without disposable income, or stupid students, who also don’t have a lot of money), that seems ok, seems reasonable. But as is the case with normal incarceration, there is a huge problem with reintegrating afterwards. People often become even more predispositioned to steal after they served their time. In piracy the correlation is even easier to see: you ban a person for stealing one game, he still doesn’t stop gaming, now all of his games are pirated. You (the whole industry of games) didn’t get any extra income from him, you destroyed him as a consumer. As I’ve said, I used to pirate most games when I was a kid without money (thanks to PC and early internet, when torrented games were basically everywhere). But I did start buying games (first, through humble bundles, then through heavy steam discounts) and now I have bought back all the good games from my childhood because I respect (now) the work that was put into them (back then). Basically, games need a “first taste” drug. The industry is peddling their product. They don’t want to ban a person because he got a “freebie”, they should welcome it, for most people will start doing more of those “game-drugs” later. You sell a gamer on one game, then he stays for more. Heavy discounts, games-as-service and so on. He is on a needle. You don’t want to ban him, you want to milk him. That was a counter-argument from a financial standpoint.

    I think that you cast too wide of net, you don’t consider that different people can have different situations, that different companies have different ideas how to achieve their goals. You oversimplify by thinking that everyone is gaming the same way as you do and try to force the same rigid structure on others. That simply doesn’t work. 10-year old who downloaded Minecraft and mods it to create his own weird illegal server, 25-year old competitive DOTA gamer from Korea and 40-year old dude from Russia, who plays World of Tanks while drinking, all have very different outlooks on how to play games, what is the reason to play games, what cheating is, what they expect from game and so on. And yet they all are or can be potential consumers of the same medium. Don’t overgeneralize, that leads to illogical (from my subjective view) outcomes.


  37. @Roman: wrongful bans are rare. Cheating is everywhere. This is why “we can live without games” is relevant. If you are the 0.0001% who is wrongly banned, tough luck, you live. I’d rather think about the 99%, whose fun is spoiled by the 0.9999% who are cheating and deserve the ban.

    Not reading the book doesn’t harm anyone else. If you record a movie in the theater, you’ll definitely be banned from the theater. Same if you start yelling.

    It is true that banning will push some people into the total undergound. So be it. At least they are separated from us. As a customer, it’s not my problem if they are pirating on some private server if they aren’t on the official server where I am. “not in my backyard”. The industry can give out free games in the form of … free-to-play games. You can use them as gateway.

    The players might be different, but they share a space, therefore must be subjected by the same rules. A kid might see a shopping mall as a “huge place with all those toys”, but he still can’t grab toys for sale and play them for free on the ground. The cheater might does it for the lols and he is a kid who doesn’t know better, but it’s other gamers whose fun is now ruined by the little brat who figured out how to glitch the dragon and make it unkillable for the whole server.


  38. @Gevlon
    However, the numbers are not correct.

    According to PCGamer (online anonymous survey, not 100% accurate, but it is perhaps some indication):
    “At some point in their lives, 90 percent of PC gamers have pirated a game. Almost 25 percent of PC gamers have pirated more than 50 games in their lifetimes.”
    According to Jonathan Blow (biased developer):
    “piracy rates for PC games are often 85-90 percent.”
    According to studies
    China has 66% pirated software (not just games), Russia has 62%, sure, United States has only 15%. Overall, if we add up populations, most of the world would have around 50-60% of illegal software. Probably more for games.

    You are not catering to 99%, you are not driving a small minority into underground. Far from it. You are a minority forcing the laws on the majority (not that it’s impossible, or always incorrect, but for accuracy let’s not assume that you propose to act as vox populi). Especially for me, a citizen of Russia, which still has much higher piracy rates (once again, I am not pirating, but I have been as a kid, even though now I am behaving as a “whale” in games economy), this seems as a wrong case.

    As a technocrat to meritocrat, I must say, your data does not correspond correctly to reality, so to find correct/logical path forward, you must update the dataset in your mind. Or at least separate piracy from cheating (which is quite hard nowadays, when single-player games have microtransactions and closed DLC content). And even then, I think you propose too harsh of a treatment. I do not have data for cheating in video games (especially since we don’t have a strict definition of cheating), but it’s probably also not as low, as you might think.


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