Psyonix Breaks Silence On ‘Rocket League’ AI Bots With Sweeping Ban And Plans For Anti-Cheat System

Over the past few months, Rocket League Players have reported encounters with opponents who could catch, dribble, and flick the ball with inhuman consistency, along with other peculiar behaviors like perfect boost management and an inability to hit simple aerial shots. One Reddit user even shared a clip of a player hitting five perfect catches and flicks in the 28-second video.

Players quickly discovered that these behaviors matched those of Nexto, a neural-network powered Rocket League bot created within an AI learning environment known as RL Gym. Nexto was a passion project of talented developers, and it was not built with the ability to play in online matches. However, in the words of dismayed RL Gym developer Aech, “A person made their own tools to use a bot online and just took Nexto from the public repository to use.”

Since then, Nexto bots have been wreaking havoc in ranked Rocket League matches. Its perfect ball control and instant reaction speed have launched some accounts using the bot as high as Grand Champ (Rocket League’s second-highest competitive rank), all without the account owner touching the controller.

This discovery shocks the game’s community to its core, as many considered Rocket League to be cheat-proof due to its physics-based nature. even worse, Rocket League Developers Psyonix were silent on the issue for months As more and more players, content creators, and even RLCS professionals report run-ins with these bots.

Today, however, Psyonix community manager Devin Connors released an official statement on the game Rocket League Subreddit that includes what everyone wants to hear:

“Earlier today, we took action against a number of accounts running bots in Rocket League. 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.”

Connors continues, confirming that the team does have the ability to monitor for third-party bots and that offending accounts will continue to be banned. Even better, he states that Rocket League is actively taking steps to introduce additional anti-cheat functionality into the game, which will ideally prevent these bots from hitting the field altogether.

Players are also encouraged to use the brand-new “Cheating” option on the in-game report menu to report players who they suspect are using bots or rule-breaking plugins.

Finally, Connors addresses the elephant in the room: Psyonix’s silence on the matter.

“While we have been quiet on the subject during this time, we have been actively investigating these bots since they first appeared late last year. We strive to be active participants when it comes to community conversations about our game, but we are always going to be more deliberate on issues related to game security and competitive integrity, with holding comments until we are ready to take action.”

It’s understandable why players are frustrated by a delay in communication from Psyonix, but it’s clear that the developers wanted to respond with a comprehensive banwave and a solution, rather than with a simple statement and nothing to back it up. In response to one frustrated Twitter user who wished Psyonix had made a statement earlier, Connors asked“Do you really believe we weren’t aware of what was going on?

It’s disheartening to see cheaters infiltrate yet another online game, and even more upsetting to see talented programmers’ passion project hijacked for nefarious purposes. Hopefully Psyonix’s response puts an end to this unfortunate chapter of the game, and an effective anti-cheat solution keeps the playing field level for all players.

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