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VRChat threatens permanent bans for players in wake of security concerns (update)

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Unofficial software may be installing malware on computers

VRChat VRChat Inc.

VRChat Inc. is threatening to ban players who download unofficial versions of VRChat that are floating around amidst growing security concerns over malware.

VRChat Inc. published a statement on Medium last night regarding the use of unofficial versions of VRChat and the security risk of malware spreading from those users who decide not to use the version of VRChat available through Steam. The statement notes that “using modified versions of VRChat obtained outside of our official distribution platforms may be installing malware on your computer” and players who decide to use unofficial software “will be permanently banned from our service.” VRChat Inc. confirmed to Polygon that only players using unofficial, altered versions of the game are at risk. Those using the official install should be fine.

New players are reportedly using altered versions of the game as a way to bypass the technical problems afflicting the official VRChat platform. Players are reporting that the game feels “sloppy and slow,” adding that attempting to play the game is met with chaos. VRChat Inc. is asking players to be patient with the developers as they work on making the servers more stable, which has been tough with an increase in players. The company is also going to implement additional security features. Players have been asking the company to enable two-factor authorization, but the company hasn’t alluded as to whether or not that will happen in the coming weeks.

“A patch went out this week and we’ll have another one out shortly,” the statement on Medium reads.

Most of these technical issues are a direct response to the game’s exponential growth in players over the past couple of weeks, VRChat Inc. confirmed. The game has more than two million installs, according to SteamSpy, which marks an enormous growth for the game. In a previous open letter to the community, which also addressed concerns over harassment and frustrations with problematic players, VRChat Inc. noted that the server team was working to try and stabilize everything, noting it was going to take some time before everything was running at 100 percent again.

With our rapid growth our server tech had to also scale up at an insane pace over the holiday season and that’s kept us on our toes for the past few weeks. Our server team has been very hard at work attempting to fix all the issues and improve the quality of connections for everyone going forward. We’re grateful for everyone’s patience during this effort and will hopefully have more stable and more efficient servers very soon.

Update: A VRChat Inc. representative told Polygon that many of the inauthentic, unofficial versions of the game going around are from people who think they can create a better version of the game for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. The representative said, “They are not doing the right thing. People are going to try things, we understant that, but there’s a lot of misinformation going around on Reddit. We’re aware of all of it.”

VRChat Inc. recommends only using the official version of the game, which can be downloaded on Steam.