Valve Gives Unfairly Banned Players Free Zombie Game

To make up for mistakenly banning 12,000 Steam gamers from playing Modern Warfare 2 online, Valve served up a peace offering of up to two free Left 4 Dead 2 downloads.

Ars Technica relays the apologetic email from Valve honcho Gabe Newell:

“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.

“We have reversed the ban, restoring your access to the game. In addition, we have given you a free copy of Left 4 Dead 2 to give as a gift on Steam, plus a free copy for yourself if you didn’t already own the game.”

Since Left 4 Dead 2 focuses almost entirely on cooperative multiplayer, the gift copy will make the game that much more enjoyable to the recipients. Kudos to Valve for more than making up for its gaffe.

Valve responds to MW2 Steam glitch with free copies of L4D2 [Ars Technica]
(Thanks, Jason!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. TheFinalBoomer says:

    While I hate DRM in all its forms, Valve certainly does it the best imo.

    • pastthemission says:

      They really don’t though. When you’re trying to play a game it uses up so much processing trying to check every few minutes that you’re not using a pirated copy that it can actually slow the game down. It’s pretty ridiculous and frustrating.

      • tomm says:

        Buy a good computer, that’s the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard.

        • WhoLikesPie? says:

          Agreed. Some of my friends have really crappy rigs they bought from HP for 450 bucks like 3 years ago. Dropped in a 2 generation old graphics card and on medium settings they run just fine for hours. You may want to try to troubleshoot to see if its a different issue.

        • Gramin says:

          Agreed. Runs great on my quad core AMD/ATI system.

      • AI says:

        HAHAHAHA, you are absolutely incorrect. Time for you to remove spyware or reinstall Windows, it ain’t Steam.

      • TheFinalBoomer says:

        You really have to be using either an old computer or one completely full of spyware.

        • pastthemission says:

          both the computers I’ve seen it used on are either brand new PCs or very recent macs, so no that doesn’t explain it.

          • kujospam says:

            It’s your computer. I have 5 computers ranging from top of the line stuff now. and quadcore machines, to old machines from 2002. All run perfectly fine. Must be a strange bug, or something is wrong with your computers. Either way, it’s your computers that is wrong.

      • TheGreySpectre says:

        considering computers from 8 years ago run steam perfectly well I think the problem is your computer and not steam.

      • ilves says:

        Additionally, you can play in offline mode, which should solve your issue, assuming its really steam based.

      • DarthCoven says:

        I run a 6 year old Pentium D with 4 gigs of RAM, a 3 generation old GPU and Windows 7 and I have absolutely zero issues running most of my games on either medium or medium high graphics settings. You definitely need to do some troubleshooting before you go sling mud at Steam.

    • TheGreySpectre says:

      In my opinion steam actually makes the user experience better.

      • TheFinalBoomer says:

        I couldn’t agree more. There are certainly some frustrating aspects, but they are far and away the best implementation of a gaming community out there.

  2. FreshPorcupineSalad says:

    Valve and Steam are the best!

  3. Mike says:

    Consumerist, why do you have to post articles about video game companies? Now I am going to be day dreaming about playing Day of Defeat: Source all day long. Man, I love that game.

    • Gramin says:

      I want to play some CounterStrike Source right now :(

      • Weighted Companion Cube says:

        TF2 baby. That game is the best!!! A resource hog but the best nonetheless.

        • The Brad says:


        • Gramin says:

          This is going to be a long day at the office…

        • Nekoincardine says:

          Even though I’m a hardline TF2 fan who can’t stand more realistic shooters, I’m still going to make a case for Tribes 2 being the best FPS ever, only because of Jetpacks.

          … THAT’S what the Engineer update needs!

    • Preyfar says:

      It’s mostly Phil who posts ’em.

      You can definitely tell the gamer of the Consumerist group. =P

    • Newto-Rah says:

      I played DoD on a free weekend thinking I might buy it. That thought was destroyed when the other players went off on a rant about how I was cheating for throwing grenades into bunkers and over hills when I couldn’t see anyone. And then got just as pissed when I dared to my automatic weapon in a tight area I assumed had an enemy but couldn’t see. I miss when DoD and CS were free

      I’ll stick to TF2, where everyone is happy, unless I’m sniper or spy #5 on an attacking team.

    • grumblingmumbles says:

      Funny, I recently got back into DoD:S and now Im addicted once again (

      Any mention of Valve and you rarely see anyone discuss DoD :(

  4. dolemite says:

    …and once again invasive DRM tramples on the rights of legitimate customers. It only gets worse from here. Just like Starcraft 2. I am not much for online play…I just want the story and single player. Yet you have to be online, and create a Battlenet account just to play single player all by yourself in your own room.

    Thank God I don’t live at my parent’s house anymore. It’s only 15 miles away, but no high speed internet available. I guess I’d have to find a new hobby and spend my hundreds of gaming dollars on something else.

    • tomm says:

      Unfortunately, You’re going to have to get used to it. I think Steam is one of the few DRM’s that actually makes things more convenient than the way Valve games used to be. Going to Fileplanet was such a PITA to get updates for games. The friends list is really convenient too.

      • dolemite says:

        Yeah, I like Steam simply because it exposes me to games I wouldn’t have heard of otherwise, and they can offer some incredible deals. I recall the other day I picked up L4D2 and Bioshock2 for a total of $24.

        I was in target the other day, and they are still selling for around $29-$39 apiece in the store.

        But, I hate when I go to play a game, it has to call home, download updates, pause, etc. And then you have to make sure you have your high speed internet, and that’s not cheap.

        • Nekoincardine says:

          Valve’s model on this is pretty simple.

          They can, because there’s no massive shipping costs involved, cut costs massively – but, and this is the important part for them, the developer, and the retail ecosystem Valve still takes good care to support – they don’t automatically do so.

          While this is technically poor for the consumer, they save the price drops for when it will inspire savings frenzy – and convince the publishers to take temporary drops on the per-copy margin in return for the advertising and included frenzied copy purchases.

      • Newto-Rah says:

        Guhhh, I remember those days…Yay new CS update! Only 2 hours in line until I get the chance for my internet to fail half way through! If I make it through the line!

    • r1y23 says:

      You only have to activate on battlenet. If you are offline you can still play singleplayer. It just asks for your username. Then next time you do log online it uploads all your achieves etc. to the server.

      Also, Steam is DRM done right. Stuff like this does not happen often and when it does valve fixes it quick. I get almost all my games through steam now and I love it.

      Steam works in offline mode too. But honestly, unless your on your laptop travelling in a car or something, you should have internet. Its 2010.

    • Thanatos says:

      Steam is the least obtrusive DRM ive seen also that the service actually adds features that i love autoupdates, friends list, community, groups, voice chat, ect. so i have no issue using it. Also DRM wasnt the cause for the bans in CODMW2 it was the anti-cheat technology employed be Valve and the Activision.

      • docrice says:

        Don’t forget the steam cloud feature… mine was disabled when my hard drive kicked and I lost all of my progress on everything.

        I also like the portability – I can use a different machine (i.e. at a friend’s house, etc.) if I just log in to my account and download the game on their PC.

    • Preyfar says:

      This was not a DRM issue at all, but a problem with VAC anti-cheat detection mis-firing.

      • dolemite says:

        Although not “technically” DRM. It is still a form of digital rights. They thought you were cheating, they removed your right to play a game you had paid for. They were wrong, so legitimate customers playing by the rules paid the price.

        I don’t recall in the old days when I played Eye of the Beholder, anyone breaking into my room and destroying my floppy disks because I had found a cheat in the game.

        • Thanatos says:

          Have you ever played a game filled with cheaters? Its horrible and unfun in my book no Cheaters dont deserve to play online if they cheat even if they dropped $$$ on the game you can still play single player with the game they simply remove the right to go online.

        • Zegridathes says:

          VAC-bans only apply to VAC protected servers.

          Oh wait, MW2 doesn’t have user/dedicated servers. :O

    • Ken V says:

      At first I was against SC2s locks to battlenet, but after blowing off steam I realized that it’s really, kinda necessary. I don’t know how many pirated copies of the original Starcraft I’ve seen, but I know that I’ve seen (and played in) entire 20-30 person LAN tournaments using exclusivly pirated copies of the game.

      If Blizzard didn’t do battlenet, I’m sure the opening month for the game would easily only see half the profit – if that. SC2 is, at it’s heart, 90% targeted for the multiplayer, it makes sense what they did.

  5. TehQ says:

    Kudos to Steam for manning up on the mistake. And going above and beyond what they needed to do to make things right.

  6. NotEd says:

    Big appreciation to Valve for not only correcting the error but also more than compensating their customers for the trouble.
    If only I knew someone who had the ban so they could share their gift copy of L4D2 with me. ;)

  7. brianisthegreatest says:

    Oh great, more baddies on Left4Dead to deal with. =[

    • Saltpork says:

      L4D2 is my online game of choice for the time being and you sir are absolutely correct. More unskilled players. Huzzah.

  8. Ken V says:

    I’ve found that Steam is the only company to actually practice DRM for what it stands for. Rights management. They don’t just take away take away take away; They actually enable gamers by letting you have multiple copies, on multiple computers, downloaded as many times as you want. The only catch 22 is that only one person can play at a time, which is technically correct since you’re the one that bought the licences.

    After being burned so many times by so many games, there are very few PC publishers I buy from outside of those providing for steam.

    • alstein says:

      Stardock does it better with Impulse. Fewer games though.

      I sometimes get stick of all the people fanboying Steam when it really is potentially very nasty DRM.

  9. Nekoincardine says:

    Valve’s viewpoint here is interesting.

    They recognize that giving out a game that’s 9 months old is of no significant loss to them – two copies that retail for $40 each doesn’t cost them $80.

    They recognize that their mistake was of significant loss to the consumer who paid $60 for Modern Warfare 2.

    They also took the more immediate solution and fixed the problem… Then threw in $80 of game that for them costs only the bandwidth of the download servers – one copy of Eversion HD (Valve’s share of the cost, to be clear) at $5 for the consumer probably covered around 500 people’s costs.

    Valve essentially loses nothing and gains a lot.