GDC 2020: 5-15% of mobile gamers are bots, according to Unbotify

During a talk at GDC 2020, bot-tackling specialist Unbotify claimed that a surprising 5-15% of all mobile gamers are actually bots. That’s between 1-3 bots for every 20 players. This is alarming, given the damage bots can do to a mobile game’s success. Unbotify specified three areas in which a bot can cause harm: monetisation, fake accounts, and churn and damaged reputation.

Many bot users opt for a bot to bypass spending the money required to succeed within the game. One example, Boost Bot, operates on a monthly subscription of $50 for bots in a wide variety of popular mobile games. That might sound expensive, but it could end up being considerably cheaper than buying the microtransactions necessary to make the same progress.

Of course, bots are also used to sell accounts, and this is popular in gacha games, where the idea is to use a bot to reroll until you get a desired character, and can then sell that account to save a user’s time. Bots will also use a similar method to make money in gambling games.

A huge issue for developers is that bots tend to push away whales; big spenders in mobile games that get frustrated that other players have made more progress despite spending no money. If bots aren’t dealt with quickly enough, these users can become frustrated and leave the game; often damaging the reputation in the process.

It was an interesting talk for sure, and we, personally, didn’t realise the extent of the issue until Unbotify laid out the truth bomb. Hopefully this will put any potential bot users off using these programs, as it’s very harmful to your favourite mobile game’s ecoystem.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this feature, which details a talk at GDC 2020. Please stay tuned on Pocket Tactics, where we will continue to cover the digital event for the remainder of the week.