During the course of the past two weeks, Valve's anti-cheat software automatically banned as many as 12,000 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 soldiers on the grounds of bamboozlement. The Seattle game developer has since overturned (for non-cheaters) the decision and is offering free copies of the zombie-killing shooter, Left 4 Dead 2, as payment for time lost.
"This was our mistake, and I apologize for any frustration or angst it may have caused you," Valve president Gabe Newell wrote in an e-mail to afflicted persons according to a Steam forum user user.
In addition to offering an apology, in the letter, Newell explained exactly why some gamers hoping to frag enemies in Modern Warfare 2 had their accounts banned.
"The problem was that Steam would fail a signature check between the disk version of a DLL and a latent memory version. This was caused by a combination of conditions occurring while Steam was updating the disk image of a game. This wasn't a game-specific mistake. Steam allows us to manage and reverse these erroneous bans (about 12,000 erroneous bans over two weeks)."
In addition to reinstating wrongfully banned virtual soldiers, Valve is hoping to win gamers back by granting all affected persons a free copy of Left 4 Dead 2, as well as an additional copy to gift to a friend.
Valve's anti-cheat software, Valve Anti-Cheat (VAC), was created by the company and was first used in 2002 to help clean out the bad apples in Counter Strike. Based on Valve's zero-tolerance policy, all bans are permanent. The technology has since seen revisions and has been employed in many games, including Team Fortress 2, Counter Strike: Source, and others.