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Rocket League devs say they’re cracking down on bots

Psyonix released a statement

Rocket League - yellow, blue, and orange cars attacking the ball Image: Psyonix
Ana Diaz (she/her) is a culture writer at Polygon, covering internet culture, fandom, and video games. Her work has previously appeared at NPR, Wired, and The Verge.

I think when everyone got all hyped about the future of “self-driving cars” they didn’t have Rocket League bots in mind.

But over the past several weeks, the game has seen an uptick in accounts that use bots to cheat in online matches. On Thursday, developer Psyonix responded to the rising controversy and said that the team has taken action against a number of accounts using bots in matches and introduced enhanced reporting features.

“This banwave should cover the vast majority of accounts that have used bots since they first appeared in online matches towards the end of 2022, and we will continue to monitor for bots and take appropriate action against any players/accounts using them. Furthermore, to help us address bots in future matches, we have added a ‘Cheating’ report reason back into the game,” the official Psyonix Reddit account said.

The announcement comes on the heels of a report from Wired, which reported a high-level player who expressed concern after playing against a bot. In Rocket League, players play soccer matches as cars and can compete locally on online in matches. There’s a vibrant competitive scene where players compete in global tournaments. According to one elite player, the new bot would probably not be able to beat a more experienced player, but could serve as a way for a player to easily rise up the online competitive ladder illegitimately.

RLGym, a group of coding-savvy Rocket League fans that started an open-source library for building bots on Rocket League, created the technology. The team originally made the bot as a way for players to practice and named it Nexto. RLGym developed it using an application programming interface (API) for making bots that Psyonix launched in April.

As for what’s next, Psyonix said the team is currently working on an anti-cheat feature for Rocket League. Their engineering team is in the process of developing it, but the company will share more once it is “closer to implementation.”