Bots are invading your mobile games: Get ready to take them on!

These days, gaming skills aren’t the only factor that helps a player to win; they can win without really trying – or even having to play the game. This sounds absurd, but it is entirely possible with the rise of bots. 

Bot usage is increasingly prevalent in the online world. The rapid popularity of using bots in games, however, is causing big troubles for mobile game developers. Why is this the case? 

What are gaming bots? 

In 2018, bots accounted for only 38% of all internet traffic. But things have changed. A recent report reveals that human traffic on the internet dropped to 52.6% in 2022, the lowest level in eight years, while 47.4% of all traffic came from bots. Put simply, nearly half of the internet activity is bots! 

So, what are bots and why are they so popular these days?  

A bot is an online software program that is designed to assist people with automated, repetitive operations within an application or website. It is capable of executing various activities, including scraping metadata, indexing, analyzing performance, generating automated responses and even performing fraud. 

There are two types of bots: 

  • Good bots are made to carry out legitimate, useful and beneficial tasks on the internet. They can be chatbots, copyright bots or spider bots, to name a few. 
  • Bad bots are created to assist bad actors in performing harmful, malicious tasks. These can be game bots, spam bots, click bots or scraper bots. 

The main advantage of using (good) bots is that they can perform repetitive tasks tirelessly, minimizing human effort while still achieving work efficiency. Fraudsters, however, utilize bots as a means of carrying out their illicit activities; enabling them to launch more powerful attacks or inflict more harm. 

How are bots used in mobile games? 

In 2022, the gaming industry’s websites and applications had the largest share of bad bot traffic by industry (58.7%), far ahead of other sectors such as telecommunications (47.7%), community & society (41.1%) and computing & IT (40%). If you’re a gamer, you have undoubtedly seen bots in the multiplayer games you like to play. 

There is a bot for every kind of cheat, as demonstrated below: 

Types of gaming bots

  • Clickbots artificially inflate the number of clicks. 
  • Farming bots automatically farm for in-game resources, items or currencies in various game types without players’ time investment. 
  • Aimbots give players pinpoint accuracy. 
  • Static bots are designed to do or follow pre-programmed tasks or maps.
  • Dynamic bots can learn and mimic human behaviors, as well as adapt to new levels or maps as they play. 
  • Sniper bots are used to have perfect timing on some actions, like placing a last-second bid in an auction. 

Why are bots widely used in mobile games? 

As already suggested, gamers deploy bots to give themselves various unfair advantages.  

  • Becoming unrivaled: With the help of bots, players can easily become unbeatable in multiplayer games, making gaming skills no longer important. 
  • No intensive time and effort investment needed: Bots can easily help cheaters with collecting daily user rewards and building their game characters without spending long hours gaming or watching in-game ads to gain extra advantages like other honest players. 
  • Making money off the game: For those who want to profit from the game, bots help them farm in-game items that can be traded for real currency. Furthermore, bots are used to rapidly establish numerous high-level accounts, which unethical users then resell to others for profit. 

How do bots affect developers’ mobile gaming apps? 

The increase in fraudsters who utilize bots makes the competition harder for legitimate players and therefore demotivates them, ruining their gaming experience and making the game less engaging for them. Those gamers will be more likely to leave the game in favor of another with a fair gaming environment.   

The game and its developer, however, suffer even greater losses. Players may not see the need to pay for additional features or spend time watching ads for extra benefits if they can easily advance through the game with advantages provided by bots. This, therefore, significantly reduces developer’s revenue from in-app purchases and in-game advertising, undermining their business models. 

Why is it difficult to detect bots? 

In light of the growth of bots, the current approaches – which rely solely on the interactions that bots have with the server to identify them – are no longer effective. The main problem with that approach is the lack of information that can be used to identify and differentiate between bot activity and human action. Since fraudsters are aware of this, they have evolved to spoof various signals, circumventing many forms of detection and prevention. 

Identifying bots in real time is another challenge, particularly when combined with fake accounts, especially for AAA games that attract a large number of new players every day. 

Is there a better approach to address this issue? 

100% bulletproof anti-bot approach – are you ready to try it? 

A more sophisticated and real-time detection solution, using biometrical sensor data, has been brought to market and is ready to handle this challenge with mobile game developers.   

Sensor data technology utilized by Denuvo Unbotify tracks everything that happens to a device, such as screen interaction and other environmental data. Fraudsters will have an incredibly hard time trying to spoof this, and if they did, Unbotify would be able to catch them with ease. Additionally, this technology uses machine learning to continually update itself, and is evolving with new iterations to meet the challenge of more sophisticated bots. 

Want to bring the rampage of bots in your mobile game to an end? Contact us!