How can CS: GO implement an effective anti-cheat similar to Valorant?

Can CS: GO fix their problem with cheaters? (Image via CS: GO)
Can CS: GO fix their problem with cheaters? (Image via CS: GO)

CS: GO has consistently been at the pinnacle of tactical FPS gaming since its release in 2012, owing its success to its predecessors, namely Counter Strike and Counter Strike: Source, who dominated the industry. .

While Counter Strike is the oldest First-Person Shooter to use built-in anti-cheat software, the game has also been infected with cheaters since its inception. Since the release of CS: GO, Valve has been working to prevent the game from being contaminated. However, they have achieved little success so far.


This article discusses the condition of CS: GO with respect to the persistent problem of cheaters, and how Valve can work towards creating a perfect environment for their long-established gaming community.

Note: This article reflects the writer's opinion.

Can Valve emerge with a solution to CS: GO's war against cheaters?

CS: GO stands at the apex of online multiplayer games due to its long history in the First-Person Shooter genre. Counter Strike originated in 1999 as a modification (mod) for the iconic Half-Life. Designed by Minh "Gooseman" Le and Jess Cliffe, the mod and its creators were then acquired by Valve.


Following a Windows release in 2000, Counter Strike (also called CS 1.6) rose to fame. Eventually, the game received multiple sequels, namely Condition Zero (CS: CZ), Source (CS: S) and Global Offensive (CS: GO).

Competitive play was initiated in the Counter Strike franchise as early as 2000, and continues to exist today. The franchise has faced several hurdles in the past, mostly associated with the reduced skill ceiling of CS: CZ and CS: S.

During the two decades of competitive history, Valve had several factors impeding their success. While they attempted to popularize the sequels to the original Counter Strike, the community responded with polarized opinions.


Valve's attempts to promote CS:CZ and CS:S tournaments backfired, as the Counter Strike community were left yearning for the revival of the original CS 1.6. Eventually, this led to the birth of CS: GO, Valve's pathway to the epitome of competitive gaming.

How did CS: GO's cheating problem originate?

Cheaters have existed in the Counter Strike community ever since the release of the series' first installment. Valve's first answer to their cheating problem came with the introduction of the Valve Anti-Cheat (VAC) in 2002.

VAC originated as Valve's long-term solution to cheating. It's a software capable of tackling various applications used to sabotage the game's competitive integrity by cheating. Cheaters who fall prey to VAC will lose access to a few privileges on Steam, including family sharing and access to their inventory.


But over the years, the global community of Counter Strike has found hundreds or even thousands of ways to bypass VAC. Irrespective of Valve's attempts, new hacks are born every now and then, available on the internet for a fair price to anyone who's just a click away.

Valve is known to occasionally go on a wave of account bans, notably in December 2018, where over 600,000 accounts were banned in a single month. Previously, Valve went on a spree of banning over 40,000 accounts in a single day after the 2017 Steam Summer Sale.

Similarly, there have been several occasions where Valve has made attempts to curb malicious cheats from spreading. However, they are yet to find the desired level of success.


Several members of the CS: GO community have been subjected to long-term bands due to the proven use of hacks, either in competitive matchmaking or in professional tournaments.

As of April 2021, players with a previous account ban cannot participate in a Valve-hosted tournament unless they have received the ban either 5 years before, or if they were banned before they appeared in their first Valve-hosted CS: GO tournament.


Players like Hovik "KQLY" Tovmassian, Nikhil "forsaken" Kumawat and Elias “jamppi” Olkkonen are some of the most renowned CS: GO professionals who were forced to retire as the result of a VAC ban.

Even outside the professional sphere, cheating is such a prevalent issue in CS: GO that players are almost always confused about whether or not they are facing a cheater in their competitive matchmaking experience.

Former Valorant developer extends a helping hand to solve CS: GO's underlying cheating problem

In a recent thread that emerged on Twitter, Valve developer John McDonald addressed his views on CS: GO's cheating problem.

According to McDonald, Valve is working on fixing the perpetual issue of cheaters in CS: GO. He then reflects on the matter at hand by saying that every online multiplayer, or major PC game, is inevitably infected with cheaters.

In response, former Riot Games Anti-Cheat Architect Nemanja Mulasmajic offered the assistance of his company, Byfron Technologies, to tackle the persistent issue of cheaters.

Mulasmajic and his company specialize in creating anti-cheats for various online games. Previously, Byfron Technologies has collaborated with Riot Games and Blizzard Entertainment on various projects. While Mulasmajic's exact contributions are unknown, it's believed he had a part to play in the construction of Riot Vanguard.

Compared to CS: GO, Valorant has a far more stringent approach toward hackers. Riot Vanguard denies players from playing from the same PC once they receive the ban, unlike in CS: GO, where players can re-access the game with the ease of making another account.

Riot has also been successfully tracking cheats back to its developers, thereby preventing them from spreading.


CS: GO is a game that has existed since 2012, with game mechanics similar to its predecessors, thereby making it favorable for the cheater community to expand. In addition to issuing waves of account bans, Valve will also have to work on improving their anti-cheat.

With the right support, Valve can implement a system that creates a more cheater-free environment for the CS: GO player base. Nemanja Mulasmajic's helping hand might have come at the perfect time for CS: GO, with the game competing with similar games like Valorant, Overwatch, and Call of Duty to maintain its existing playerbase.

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Edited by Mason J. Schneider
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