Bandai Namco Explains Dark Souls III Invalid Data Messages

Ever since the release of Dark Souls III, some players have been reporting the appearance of a message claiming they were using "Invalid Game Data" on the menu screen and that their online play would be restricted as a result. Bandai Namco has now published a breakdown of what this message entails on the title's official Tumblr blog.

In short, From Software is performing some checks to see which players are breaking the EULA (by modifying the game files, for example) and flagging some players for further investigation, but since it might have affected some players unjustly, the folks at Bandai Namco encourage players to reach out to their customer support so that they can consider whether their bans can be reversed or not. From the blog post:

What does the (Invalid Game Data) message in my game mean?

This message is intended to inform end users that some inconsistency, external file, modification of game save data, or alterations to the game have been detected by the Dark Souls III server team and that the end users' account/profile has been flagged for further investigation. This does not mean that online functionality is restricted at this time. The warning message ((Invalid Game Data)) will continue to be displayed until the Dark Souls III server team has determined whether or not a violation of the End User License Agreement (EULA) occurred. At that point, the account/profile will either have restrictions placed on it (to limit the online interactions during multiplayer sessions and a further penalty message of (You have been Penalized" issued) or the (Invalid Game Data) warning message removed. If you remove the inconsistency, external file, modification of game save data, or alteration to the game from your save or system, the (Invalid Game Data) message may still exist until the server team completes their investigation.

What types of actions could lead to (Invalid Game Data)?

These investigations are entirely conducted by From Software's server team. The team runs customized checks on all players to check for hacks/cheats, items that are obtained before they would normally be available, attributes that are not able to be achieved through normal means, etc. These parameters are constantly being evaluated and optimized.

If a restriction is placed on my account, can I get it lifted?

Our customer service team and From Software's server team are doing their best to evaluate and verify warnings and restrictions. We have no intention of restricting players who have not broken the End User License Agreement (EULA). At this time we are not lifting restrictions on players who have broken the End User License Agreement (EULA).

From what I understand, the community is justifiably worried (considering From Software doesn't have the best track record on this) that cheaters might be able to also ruin other people's games, so the fact that Bandai Namco is at least willing to consider whether a flag is justified or not is a good sign. Time will tell how the community will evolve throughout the coming months and how this will affect it, though.