Rocket League really needs no introduction. The socCar game was a huge hit when it was released in 2015, and with a healthy competitive scene, loyal player base, and great developers it shows no signs of slowing down. In fact instead of slowing down everything points to the game finding new fans both casually and at the esports end.
The recently announced RCLS 6 World Championship (Think the Champions League of the RL world) will have a huge cash prize of $1,000,000. A big update to the game is due to release on the 29th of August It will contain a raft of new features – including cross-platform, clubs and a season pass.
Rocket League as a game is in a genre of its own. The coming months look like a very exciting time for one of the most unique esports on the market.
So let’s take a look at what is and could happen in the near future.
Every developer wants to make their game an eSport these days. It can add longevity to a title but the facts are some are more suited it to than others. Games with a loyal fan base, who go out of their way to create their own tournaments, are the ones that can sustain a professional esports scene.
Rocket League has all that. College and University tournaments are held in the USA, UK, and Oceania and across all platforms. Alongside hundreds of local tournaments held all over the world.
Major esports leagues have also got involved. DreamHack has been hosting tournaments since 2016 and ESL most famous for their CS:GO tournaments has been hosting tournaments since the game came out. Tournaments have also been aired on TV. Both NBC and ESPN have sponsored and broadcast tournaments a feat few other esports can claim.
The World Championship – the premier Rocket League tournament has increased in viewership year-on-year with only a slight dip in Season 5. Which has been put down to an unfavorable viewing schedule and the biggest orgs not making it to the final. And while a peak viewership of 101,000 is a far cry from the top esports the room for growth is huge, especially with RCLS Season 6 increasing the prize pool to $1,000,000. A 4 times increase.
The prize money and amount of tournaments have been steadily increasing making being a Rocket League professional a viable career choice. Top players are now earning in excess of $100,000. If you are interested in the earnings figures check out the Top 10 earners in Rocket League history here.
The developers have long wished to make their game fully cross-platform. At the moment PC can be matched against Xbox and Switch players but they can’t play in the same team. Sony is against allowing cross-platform amongst the other consoles and this has slowed the progress towards a fully cross-platform game.
That is set to change. From September players will be able to create cross-platform lobbies that means Xbox, Switch and PC players will be able to group together. PC and PlayStation will be able to as well. Giving you more opportunity to play and rank with your friends, whatever platform they might be on. Cross-platform play brings people together and is a selling point all on its own.
Also not only will you be able to access your account on any platform, but each platform will also have a healthy player base for the life of the game. A win-win.
A Game of Mechanics
It’s hard to describe Rocket League without sounding like a total idiot. And many of us have found ourselves in that situation, trying to convince a friend to get the game. It often goes something like this, “You’re a car okay? that is trying to hit a ball into a goal. Is it kind of like Hockey…. and Football and Basketball plus cars? And it doesn’t matter if you don’t like any of those things because it isn’t that!”
But what Rocket League really is at its core is a game of mechanics. Your car, the ball and the stadium you play in all have values and qualities and it is the way in which you manipulate these that affect how you play the game. It continually evolves as players find new and more effective ways to, dribble, pass and score goals. And as one way of play evolves so do the countermeasures and so on and in that respect, IT WILL NEVER STOP. Like “real” sports there is no one way to play, but a series of interconnecting and competing strategies and styles.
Which is what makes it so great to watch, analyze and play.
The Clubs and Orgs
With a raft of new features coming to the game you could consider the upcoming patch Rocket League 2.0. None are more exciting than the introduction of Clubs. A place where up to 20 players can join together and form a club. You will be able to design a logo, enter and chart progress in tournaments and rank together. This can only be good for the health of the game. As more and more players see the upside in playing in an organized way, which in turn will lead to more interest in the professional teams.
And speaking of teams, Rocket League has already attracted a number of top orgs to the game. The likes of Cloud9 and NRG esports have been involved for a while, but many are still sitting on the fence. There are a number of reasons for this. The prize money is only now getting to a place that makes this attractive to the top orgs. On top of that, there have been reservations that not enough has been done to make it financially viable for orgs. You can’t, for instance, buy an org’s logo or skin, in a revenue-sharing agreement, in the same way as you can do in a number of other top esports.
Rocket League could do well to entice more into the game. As an esport, it is in a unique position to attract both traditional and non-traditional esports organizations(Football team Paris Saint-Germain has a team.) It’s blend of “real” sports culture in gameplay, its simplicity for the viewer and the ever-evolving meta make it a sport in the true sense of the word.
A rumour floating around the net is that Rocket League might go Free2Play. What we know for definite is that it is getting a release in China soon and of course in that market F2P is the only way to go. Psyonix is planning to introduce a season pass ala Fortnite, featuring unlockable skins and cars. Does this pave the way for it going F2P? It’s yet to be seen but Psyonix knows the value of giving away their game. Initially, when it came out on PS4 it was free if you had Playstation Plus and it gave them a massive boost in popularity.
A re-release around December with the new feature set in place and a lot of new hardware in the hands at Christmas time could be the catalyst for something huge.
What is most exciting you in the big update? Will more big organizations create teams in time for the new season? Or does the game still have a way to go? Let us know in the comments below!