UPDATE 20/1/23: Rocket League developer Psyonix has announced a wave of bans for bot accounts running rampant in the game's competitive modes.
The issue was highlighted last week by exasperated players fed up at too-perfect opponents turning out to be bots trained by AI. Now, Psyonix has responded, removing "a number of accounts" and reinstating the ability to report opponents as cheaters.
Further anti-cheat functionality is also on the way, and currently "in progress with the engineering teams," Psyonix said in a statement posted to reddit.
"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, and we will continue to monitor for bots and take appropriate action against any players/accounts using them."
ORIGINAL STORY 11/1/23: Ever found a Rocket League opponent that was just too good? The game's developer Psyonix has now said it is aware of players using a trained AI bot to cheat in the game's competitive modes.
The phenomenon of using machine learning to teach an AI program how to play Rocket League is nothing new, as this PC Gamer report delves into. Trained bots have been pitted against each other for a while in local matches, and the question of how much and how well an AI program can learn to play a game like Rocket League is an interesting one to answer.
The problem comes with the seemingly more recent discovery by players that versions of the game's AI-trained Nexto bot are now being used to cheat in Rocket League's competitive ranked play modes, disguised as human players.
Pysonix has confirmed it believes "a small number of players" are using the Nexto bot to cheat, and is now "actively investigating solutions".
Have you encountered a version of the Nexto bot? Telltale signs (apart from them being very good) include a trained ability to keep the ball and not use aerial moves while playing.
The next time I lose a ranked match, I'll know what to blame.