More than 40,000 cheating gamers lost access to their games and items last weekend after the #Valve Anti-Cheat (VAC) system flagged them for violations. Some players have even lost their entire accounts in the biggest purge in the platform’s history.

The huge spike was uncovered by SteamDB, a third-party database system and then first reported by Dot eSports. According to the publication, the VAC system detected a staggering number of 40,411 disingenuous accounts by the end of June 6. It defeated the previous banhammer record last year in October, where more than 15,000 bans took place. The report comes after the conclusion of the recent #Steam Summer #sale.

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Steam’s Summer Sale spawns abusive in-game behavior

Gamers know for a fact that the tendency of most people to use hacks and cheats in games like “Dota 2” and “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive” will do so on a new Steam account, most of the time using a copy of the game bought at a discounted price. It’s the reason why developers like Valve launch a massive crackdown after a huge Steam sale, as the idea of cheating becomes more enticing since the game is purchased on the cheap.

Normally, VAC detects and flags around 3,000 to 4,000 accounts per day, but on July 6 at 12 pm ET, the system flagged off 30,000 accounts. A report by Kotaku says that an additional 4,000 accounts were also banned due to in-game reports, which resulted to gamers losing skins and other digital items amounting to over $9,000.

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Players who have received a VAC ban won’t be able to join Valve servers, essentially rendering their skins useless.

An end to online cheating?

Valve earlier this year revealed its machine-learning process to acquire data taken from every player in every match. This allows the system to detect the use of illegal third-party tools created to outdo anti-cheat systems.

In the past, Valve had received backlash from the “CS: GO” community over its supposed lack of effort in getting rid of cheaters and hackers. It goes without saying known hackers have gotten away for years without ever getting flagged, which in turn had comprised gameplay experience. Should a ban arrive, it would only take a few hours and a spare $15, and the hacker is back in the game.

The recent account bans are Valve’s message to all users refusing to play by the rules. It took the developer quite a while to implement massive ban waves, but it can give itself a pat on the back now for giving cheaters the idea to think twice.