Radeon RX 7000 owners are now at risk of getting banned in online games with the release of AMD’s new Anti-Lag+ feature. Not to be confused with the non-plus version, AMD Anti-Lag is a newer version of the technology that AMD is releasing currently for Radeon RX 7000 series RDNA3 GPUs.
Shortly after its release, players have reported receiving bans particularly in Valve’s Counter-Strike 2. Valve was swift to point-out the issue regarding the matter and has announced that AMD’s Anti-Lag+ feature was the cause of the bans.
AMD's latest driver has made their "Anti-Lag/+" feature available for CS2, which is implemented by detouring engine dll functions.
If you are an AMD customer and play CS2, DO NOT ENABLE ANTI-LAG/+; any tampering with CS code will result in a VAC ban.
Once AMD ships an update we…
— CS2 (@CounterStrike) October 13, 2023
Unfortunately, Valve will not rescind bans until AMD releases an update. The issue is now assumed to be affected other games in at least 2 other ways with Apex Legends also handing out bans due to AMD Anti-Lag+ while Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 crashes randomly with the feature enabled.
Why is this Happening?
— AMD Radeon (@amdradeon) October 14, 2023
As described by Valve in their announcement post, the reason for the bans is in the way AMD implements Anti-Lag+. To manage the game’s latency, AMD made it so that Anti-Lag+ piggybacks or detours the game’s core files or DLLs, basically injecting its function onto the game. Very handy way of implenting the feature as it assures that AMD can apply their Anti-Lag+ function to any game with no need to wait for the game devs to push for update.
This is a simple and universally practical approach and is used in numerous other applications to perform their function such as Xsplit or OBS. The difference here is the existence of anti-cheat software. Xsplit and OBS are widely known applications whose developers have made their intention known to the game developers and their anti-cheating service providers of their function, thus being put in a whitelist of allowed software that does backend stuff while the game is running.
The Problem with AMD’s Anti-Lag Implementation
The problem with such an implementation lies not with how its applied but by how its interpreted by anti-cheat services and software. A DLL detour can also be interpreted as DLL injection and qualifies as tampering under most conventions and anti-cheat systems like Valve’s Anti-Cheat sees this as a way to circumvent the game’s server.
Regardless of the purpose, its implementation is a red flag for VAC and its assumed that bad actors can potentially latch onto this method to create further methods of cheating in Counter-Strike 2. This is why games like Apex Legends also resulted in reported bans with AMD Anti-Lag+. Anti-cheat systems just don’t like it and its a pass or no-pass scenario. No ifs, ands, or buts…. except if AMD reached out to these game developers and told them how they’re going to insert the feature and have it whitelisted.
Unfortunately, this was not the case during launch.
Its almost like working with the game dev to implement your latency mitigation feature is the better idea (reflex)
2yrs ago I talked to an AMD engineer about implementing AntiLag into the game rather than poking the engine from the outside.
That would have avoided the bans. https://t.co/Dw3aXvARMT
— Battle(non)sense (@BattleNonSense) October 15, 2023
AMD has since pulled their drivers from download and urged users to disable the feature on affected games. The affected driver is still
But why didn’t NVIDIA users get banned for NVIDIA Reflex?
NVIDIA Reflex is implemented directly into games via an SDK. Simply put, the game is compiled with NVIDIA Reflex built directly into the code. This involves a partnership between the game developer and GPU vendor, which as mentioned earlier, could’ve made this whole issue non-existent if AMD talked to Valve, Respawn, etc.
Claims from random users claiming that since Valve features Reflex in the option suggests they were paid by NVIDIA and this is an act of aggression against AMD and that is just completely out-of-touch with reality. AMD is Valve’s partner in developing their Steam Deck, a device which has stood as one of their top 10 best-selling product for nearly 2 years. This further suggests that despite this relationship, AMD’s software development team may have missed this possibility.
Am I Affected by this issue?
Currently, AMD Anti-Lag+ only works on Radeon RX 7000 GPUs and Anti-Lag+ itself is only present on driver version 23.10.1. Meeting those criteria doesn’t mean an automatic ban though, as you would need to be playing a game that is sensitive to core game file tampering, one which counts Anti-Lag+ implementation as a bannable offense. You would finally need to be playing online with AMD Anti-Lag+ enabled to be at risk.
Disabling Anti-Lag+ in AMD’s Radeon utility will reduce your risk but be aware that other AMD”s Hypr-RX feature as well as predefined settings for other games could still have the features active in other titles.
If you are an RX 6000 or earlier user, you may still encounter an issue with Modern Warfare 2 and other games where certain games crashes when AMD Anti-Lag is enabled. Take note that Anti-Lag is different from Anti-Lag+ and earlier Radeon GPUs have Anti-Lag. If you continue to have stability issues, its advised that users disable Anti-Lag and Anti-Lag+.
I have been banned while AMD Anti-Lag+, Will I get unbanned?
This is based on the fact that you were not doing anything worthy of ban in the first place. If you believe you were playing the game with no reason for a ban then this is up to the game developers and AMD to work out a solution. No official word as of publishing has been made on when a solution will be issued from Valve or other developers.
If you were running cheating software that gives you unfair advantage in online play, then you are guilty of a ban and would probbaly not have the ban rescinded after a fix has been issue for Anti-Lag+.
If you have not been banned yet, consider disabling the feature as already mentioned if you are not comfortable using the feature regardless of games. You can also rollback your driver to an earlier version.