In a move that could cause issues for Linux desktop and Steam Deck gamers, Rocket League is going to introduce new anti-cheat measures. Something people argued with me on Twitter some time ago that wouldn't happen — I was right again.
Rocket League originally had Native Linux support and the development studio Psyonix was acquired by Epic Games back in 2019. Then in early 2020 they ended support for Linux and macOS, and later that year it became an Epic Games Store exclusive on PC. Thanks to how far Wine and Proton have come though as Windows compatibility layers, it actually continued running nicely on Linux desktop and Steam Deck. That might change though.
The problem is that Rocket League has recently seen a surge of AI bots being put into online games, so that people can cheat. An issue highlighted by Wired, where high-level players were seeing odd behaviour with players that had seemingly "superhuman skill". It's a growing problem, that developer Psyonix is now addressing.
In a statement on Reddit, they said:
For the last several weeks, the introduction of third-party bots to online matches – in Competitive Playlists, especially – has understandably been a very active topic among the Rocket League community.
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. Furthermore, to help us address bots in future matches, we have added a “Cheating” report reason back into the game. You can find this in game on the report reason list in the Report/Block menu.
Finally, we are taking steps to introduce additional anti-cheat functionality into Rocket League. This is in progress with the engineering teams, and we’ll share more on this once we’re closer to implementation.
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, withholding comments until we are ready to take action.
Anti-cheat is a repeating problem for Linux desktop and Steam Deck gamers, often blocking out games entirely from working. Hopefully this won't be a repeat of previous issues but it's worth highlighting for any readers who enjoy playing Rocket League.