VAC ban vs game ban on Steam, Understand the difference

As a frequent contributor to the Steam discussions about helping new players out, the most common confusion I see among these players is that they do not understand the difference between a VAC ban and a game ban.

All they see is that they got banned and now see a red text on their profile and they come to the Steam discussions to start a thread. This happens almost every day, and I hope this guide will help a few of those players understand the difference.

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What is a VAC BAN? (Valve Anti-Cheat)

A technology called Valve Anti-Cheat was created by Valve to find and ban gamers who cheat or hack in the game. It is an automated anti-cheat program that operates on your computer and serves as a bridge for users connecting to servers (but only on servers with VAC enabled.)

VAC permanently bans you, and it cannot be removed, no matter how many times you contact support or how many methods you use. Once VAC bans you, it stays on your profile forever.

Steam support manually removed VAC bans only in the rarest of cases, when multiple people were falsely flagged by VAC. I’ve only heard about it happening once.

If VAC bans you, you’ve likely been using hacks, cheats, or even mods like Skinchanger for CS. This is a permanent ban!

VAC ban is possible only on games that use Valve Anti-Cheat. The rest of the games use their own anti-cheating system like Easy Anti-Cheat, BattlEye, etc. But this doesn’t mean these games cannot issue a ban on your profile. Let’s talk about game bans now!

What is a game ban on Steam?

Unlike VAC bans, game bans are manual, not automatic. Ever wondered who issues these bans? It’s the developers of that particular game. A VAC ban is only issued in cases involving third-party software. However, a game ban can be issued for various other reasons, including cheating/hacking.

Since game bans are manual, the developer can issue them for various reasons, like illegal modding, cheating or hacking, exploiting bugs, and unacceptable behavior in the game. 

Anything a player does to spoil the multiplayer experience is going to attract a game ban!

Game banning is only possible for multiplayer games; developers of single-player games cannot issue a game ban.

The developer can decide to either temporarily or permanently ban you from their games. If you see a ‘game ban on record‘ red text on your profile, it means the developer has issued a permanent ban. This most likely will not be removed.


To sum it up, VAC bans are automatic and issued only for cheating, hacking, or using third-party illegal apps.

The game developer can ban you for all the above reasons, along with reasons like bad player behavior, exploiting bugs, and any disruptive player behavior in general.

Both of the bans are permanent and cannot be removed. Contact Steam Support if you believe that they have falsely banned you.

Finally, it is very easy not to get banned on Steam. Just do not use any hacks or illegal mods and behave properly on multiplayer servers. Because once you get banned, no matter how many threads you open, your ban will not be revoked.

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