Punkbuster makes loud, public examples out of players - often ones that did absoultely nothing wrong.
Like VAC, they do their share of silent detections, too.
And tbh, I'd prefer a certain cheat/non-cheat kick # (ex: AIMBOT #50134) over "Cheat detected." or "You've been banned for past cheating violations". Sure it tells the hackers if their hack is truly detected, but hey it helps pinpoint exactly what program or group of programs is causing it. What if your anti-virus one day just said "Virus detected!" without telling you what specific virus it is?
In many VAC games you rarely see a cheater, and when you do, they almost always have VAC bans on their account and almost always end up perma-banned if you check their account later. It just doesn't do noisy mid-game kicks.
Homefront would like to have a word with you.
In short, if both of these systems were real police agencies, PunkBuster would be the one stringing up people along the road all of the time to re-assure the populace they are being protected, even if those people didn't actually do anything wrong. Where as VAC operates more similar to modern police, gathering evidence before issuing a pretty firm judgement. VAC bans are also much, much harder to circumvent as they impact your Steam account, where you likely have a lot of games.
If I recall, a VAC game ban only applies to the games its engine is based on. (ex: CS:S & TF2 bans only get you banned from Source games).
So if your theory is correct, then if I was a police officer and I clearly saw a guy robbing a bank, stealing a car, or murdering someone, I would wait 5 weeks or even 5 months before actually arresting the guy?
Publisher Producers are the people on the publishing side of games, that honestly often have almost no technical knowledge of games. There are of course exceptions but I have, honest to God, known producers of games that didn't know how to open the console disc trays before. These people are sold on PunkBuster helping to sell the game for "cheap and easy," and they often jump on it out of sheer ignorance as to it's actual capabilities. This is then forced on development houses as part of their contract, regardless if the developer actually wants to implement it or not. In some cases, smaller developers will use PunkBuster for similar reasons of ignorance, except purely so the user base can "sleep easy" thinking cheaters are actually being stopped when, in fact, they're really not.
Remember Modern Warfare 2? How Robert Bowling / IW promised that VAC would keep the game cheat-free even without admins? Not to say that PB had the same issues, but other games with VAC have had the "Throw in VAC so that the gamers can 'sleep easy'." problem.
The long and short of it? VAC is far superior in every single way to PB and they positively do not need to be combined - and shouldn't be, really. It's my hope that more games will be supporting Steamworks and ditching PunkBuster in the future, and I know people who have outright canceled their RO2 orders because they don't want to deal with it's insane number of headaches only to have a game end up littered with cheating anyway.
What about MD5tool scans? CVAR scans? Web browser RCON? 3rd party streaming? Features that allows other admins to check clan members and see if they are "clean" or not linked to any other banned GUIDs? No delayed banning all the time?
I don't mean to sound fanboyish or start a total PB vs. VAC debate, but come on, saying VAC is superior in every way to PB? No anti-cheat is "perfect" or "superior" to any other. EVERY game has cheaters. ALL anti-cheats have their flaws, whatever they are
. Yes, PB doesn't ban all the hackers, but neither does VAC. Yes, PB kicks for stupid things, but honestly for me, that was because of bad Internet connections. Yes, PB has some features VAC doesn't, but in no way is it superior to VAC.
In fact, I truly applaud Tripwire Interactive for implementing both anti-cheats. Not only did they add the two most used FPS anti-cheat effectively doubling their power to fight back against cheaters (well, along with TWI's own system, tripling
), they made BOTH the gamers that don't like VAC AND the gamers that don't like PB happy! If you don't like PB, when the RO2:HOS server browser comes up, just check the "No PunkBuster" filter that they might have. Or at least from playing both PB and VAC games with a server browser, almost every game has some kind of "No PunkBuster/No VAC Secure" filter in it.
But in all, as a RO2:HOS forum user has said, to each his own, YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary) and all that.