In Ready Player One, users that complete the second gate received a choice of a giant Robot:

Then something strange happened—something that had never happened when I’d beaten the original game. One of the “wise men” from the dungeon appeared on the screen, with a speech balloon that said, “Thank you. I am indebted to you. Please accept a giant robot as your reward.”

There were at most, two hundred robots:

A long row of robot icons appeared below the wise man, stretching across the screen horizontally. By moving the joystick left or right, I found that I was able to scroll through a selection of over a hundred different “giant robots.” When one of these robots was highlighted, a detailed list of its stats and weaponry appeared on the screen beside it.

Once a robot is taken, it cannot be taken by anyone else:

Eleven of these icons were grayed out and had a red “X” over them, and these robots could not be identified or selected. I knew they must be the ones taken by Sorrento and the other Sixers who had cleared this gate before me.

There are well over a thousand sixers,

If I had come here in person, my avatar would be surrounded by thousands of Sixers and I’d be at your mercy.


The Sixers are swarming all over Ludus. Thousands of them.

The Sixers had a huge head start on the Crystal Key

As the night went on, the Sixers continued to acquire copies of the Crystal Key.

Considering all that, why didn't the Sixers empty the robot dispenser? It would have been very easy for them, especially since

“The Sixers are using hacked immersion rigs,” I said. “Sorrento was boasting about it to me. They’ve got it set up so that different users can control the actions of every one of their avatars. So they can just have their best Joust players take control of each Sixer avatar during the match against Acererak. One after the other.”

The Robot is basically what helped Wade Watts win. Why didn't the Sixers empty the dispenser? It's almost like they wanted to lose.

And there's no way that the Sixers didn't know that the robots were one-per-person, as the second Sixer would have seen immediately that the first one's choice became greyed out.

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    Mmm...I would debate that the robot was what helped Wade win. Sorrento's mech destroyed all the mechs of the Four, it was the Beta Capsule that enabled Wade to beat Sorrento. Otherwise a great question.
    – JohnP
    Oct 16, 2018 at 14:35
  • After taking another look at the text, there is no indication that they did or did not empty the inventory. There is only one screen shot of the leaderboard (Right before Wade enters indenture). An alternative question might be why the few others that had to have gotten robots did not participate in the fight (Other than the 10).
    – JohnP
    Oct 16, 2018 at 15:02
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    @JohnP - I think the "11 grayed out icons" is a clear indication of the inventory still being basically full. I fully agree with your first point however about the beta capsule being the key to victory as opposed to the robots. As to why the others that had robots did not participate in the battle I would assume they were part of the crew waiting just outside the sector protected from the cataclyst. Just in case they needed some heavy firepower after detonating...
    – Odin1806
    Oct 16, 2018 at 15:33
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    @TheAsh - I think we can only assume why the sixers did not empty the inventory. I would see the situation with two, possibly linked, points as well. It is possible that only one sixer was able to complete the game in its new point of view mode and he only had time to beat the game 11 times or so before Wade was able to complete the game himself. Then Wade and Co. call for the final battle and any further wins the employee could have made were called of to have him help prep the castle for the final stand or whatever... or maybe after those 11 he passed out and they couldn't wake him up...
    – Odin1806
    Oct 16, 2018 at 15:39
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    @Odin1806 - I'm talking about after Wade goes through, there is no indication that they did not empty the inventory. And your timeline is wrong. Wade clears the gate, does the recon of Anoraks Castle, then messages Aech and Co, then enters indenture. Plenty of time for the sixers to empty the inventory, as Wade was indentured for ~8-10 days.
    – JohnP
    Oct 16, 2018 at 15:43

3 Answers 3


We don't know

We also don't know how many robots the Sixers had. They very well might have cleaned out the inventory. We know they had at least 11, probably 31 or more.

The 10 used in the battle (not counting Sorrento) got destroyed fairly quickly, so the others may have just not been used.

The Sixer mechs were already taking an immense amount of fire from all directions. Sorrento was getting hit more than anyone, because his mech was the biggest target on the battlefield, and no gunter with a ranged weapon could seem to resist taking a shot at him. The intense barrage of projectiles, fireballs, magic missiles, and laser bolts quickly destroyed or disabled the other Sixer mechs (who never even got a chance to form Voltron).
Ready Player One - 0 0 3 5

We also know that 20 Sixers with crystal keys were not even at the battle, so assuming they had robots, they would not have been able to use them.

“Wrong,” Art3mis said. “Check the Scoreboard. There are still twenty Sixer avatars listed there, below Parzival. And their scores indicate that every single one of them has a copy of the Crystal Key.”
Ready Player One - 0 0 3 6

Finally, while the Robots may have seemed OP for a single avatar, or even a small group, the Sixers were essentially an extremely well funded army, so they may have felt that they had better weapons.

[IOI] also provided your avatar with high-end armor, vehicles, and weapons, and covered all of your teleportation fares. Joining the Sixers was a lot like joining the military.
Ready Player One - 0 0 0 2

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    +1 : I think the only thing I would add is that we also don't know how many IOI players were able to clear the Black Tiger game. The Oology division is based on the idea that you had off control to a capable player when the need arises. It is possible that only one person in the entire IOI company had the skill to clear the level. Should that be the case it would severely limit the speed in which IOI was able to acquire the robots... even less when he has to take bathroom breaks and sleep. Also mistakes would cause you to start over and no one is perfect...
    – Odin1806
    May 3, 2019 at 17:10
  • I gave it to you. But if there's ever a canonical answer, please update it, OK?
    – TheAsh
    May 7, 2019 at 5:10

The Sixers probably did empty the robot dispenser; it just wasn't empty at the time Wade got in there. He received the 12th robot; so he was the 12th person in line.

And I would also add that it was NOT the robot that was the deciding factor in the battle:

it was the

the quarter that only Wade won from the Pac Man game. It allowed him to come back to life. The nuke was the big deal in the battle; not the robots, and only Wade had a counter to it.

  • Read the comments. There was like 11 days before Owen even got there.
    – TheAsh
    May 1, 2019 at 14:51
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    It's probably worth piecing together the lines from the book that give a timeline for the Sixers to clear the 2nd gate. Once Sarintino's score jumps, there's roughly a day (though I don't have the quotes in front of me) before Wade gets through the 2nd gate. So if 1 day gives 11 clears (assuming a limited number of sixers skilled enough to clear the gate), then the 8 to 10 days Wade is in IOI before telling the rest of the High Five how to clear the gate means the sixers could obtain around 100 robots. Which is less than the whole lot, though it's not clear by how much.
    – Jontia
    May 2, 2019 at 7:51

Because they hadn't actually had a chance to do it yet, Wade gets in early, not at the very beginning but quickly enough to be at the front of the first mass wave to reach that stage of the quest. The Sixers may eventually empty the robot inventory but as Wade was only about the 12th player to gain access it would have taken them a long time to do it, regardless of how much they're cheating with the rigs they still need time to play through each iteration to claim a different robot and they only have so many specialists in any given area. The "civilian" players are more generalist in their knowledge and can each complete and claim a robot quickly.

  • This isn't a bad answer, especially the part about the specialists. Keep in mind though, that the Sixers offered Wade a job, and many other civilians as well, so there's no way they didn't a decent amount of good players.
    – TheAsh
    May 1, 2019 at 14:52
  • @TheAsh No doubt they had many decent players, and a few true experts at any single task, but not enough to clear the inventory in the space of the few hours head start they got on Wade.
    – Ash
    May 1, 2019 at 16:03

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