Are Automated Bots A Deceptive Con? (The Jimquisition)

Fortnite recently introduced bots to its battle royaleBat ecosystem, a decision that certainly has some positive elements to it. It’s also gotten people questioning their abilities and those of their opponents. These bots are not flagged as bots, instead posing as humans and mostly discernible through their odd behavior. It’s led to some interesting paranoia.

Meanwhile, Nintendo has been pulling the wool over players’ eyes by using similar bots to essentially fake an online multiplayer mode. Even worse, they passively advertise the game’s loot box economy.

While the two games are quite different, and one is clearly more nefarious, both use bots for a very simple reason – engagement. The ultimate desire of modern entertainment, engagement rules all – and if players are engaged by an artificial sense of victory, so be it.


  1. This reminds me how dating sites, like Match and eHarmony, alter their matchmaking algorithm to appear like users with “low appeal” are actually getting noticed in order to keep users engaged and subscribed.

  2. “I have nothing to say,
    this is just for the ENGAGEMENT.”

  3. Reminds me of Goodhart’s Law: “When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.”

    The act of optimization and the act of cheating are distinguished only by the intent of the person who wrote the metric. The only way to fix cheating is to write a new metric, which encourages new kinds of cheating, and so on and so forth.

    Engagement maximization is part of this problem. People notice that engagement correlates to profits, so they decide to maximize engagement, which results in a lot of bullshit to try and falsify engagement in an effort to falsify profits.

  4. Saw my friend the other day
    Her: “Blizzcon happened”
    Me: “Oh, was that as bad as we thought?”
    Her: “No. But Diablo 4 is coming out and I need to get it”
    Me: …”So…what Blizzard did to that Hong Kong guy doesn’t matter anymore?”
    Her: “Oh no, of course it does. But it’s Diablo 4 and I hate myself”

  5. 2:22 how dare you remind me of the transformers movie where Optimus Prime died in the beginning, I thought I had repressed that memory.

  6. When you realize that those “first” comments actually help people…

  7. As I was listening to this episode, I was playing with my 5-month old kittens. They really like their mouse-on-a-string, its shape is pleasant and it makes noises, but each time they manage to catch it i make it run away. But the key to a prolonged play session is to let them from time to time actually catch the mouse and give a treat. I guess now I’m qualified to advise the AAA industry on player engagement?

  8. “Engagement” sounds exactly like “feeding the trolls” to me.

  9. The real side effect of having bots in games when the players don’t even know it is all the sneaky things companies can do with it. Remember all those patents that went around about putting players who make a purchase into easier games to give them a sense of acomplisment for buying that new gun or up against super hard players fully kitted out with the best MTX weapons to kill people who haven’t?

    Well now they can cut out the middle man and just have bots do all that work. Easy bots not only in the game but actively seek out players who bought MTX to make the new gun seem powerful and harder bots equipped with teh rarest of items stomping others.

  10. me: *nothing to say*
    engagement: this is just for me

  11. “You couldn’t connect to real humans” Didn’t expect to be attacked

  12. “I have nothing to say, This is just for the ENGAGEMENT.”

  13. I do love bots for one specific reason: if the servers ever close, you can still play multiplayer modes instead of losing half the functionality of a game. They should really let you know if you are playing against a bot though.

  14. this message is deliberate ‘engagement’ spam, take that algorithms

  15. I has nadda to say this be for thee engaaaaaagement.

  16. Proposal: spell it “engAAAgement” from now on.

  17. I came here to see everyone’s posts about posting for engagement.

  18. Are Automated Bots A Deceptive Con?
    Or is there “More than meets the eye” (^_^)

  19. “Bots can be sufficient allies for those who don’t want to talk to real people, which I understand”

    Thank you, Jim. I feel seen.

  20. God Jim you crack me up. “DO YOU REMEMBER… DO YOU REMEMBER…”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *