According to the developers, Rocket League wasn’t their first physics-based video game involving cars and soccer balls in a cage. The first version, “Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars”, was released in 2008 for PS3. While SARP wasn’t nearly as successful as Rocket League, it remains a critically-acclaimed title among fans of the game for its incredibly fun and unique gameplay.
Before releasing Rocket League last year, Psyonix bided their time by doing odd jobs and contract work to earn enough money to fund the sequel to their previous title. By the time the game was released on July 7, 2015, the game had been in development since 2013.
The Rise of Rocket League
Psyonix’s first version of the game may have a cult following, but it’s not the reason why Rocket League became a smash hit. Instead of relying on word-of-mouth advertising like they did with SARP, the developers realized they needed to invest heavily into marketing how fun the game actually is. This time around, they made sure everyone knew this before they actually played it.
Another reason Rocket League is a huge success is because it’s extremely polished. Regardless of skill level, players all over the world have noted how smooth the performance of the game is and how well it performs on every single platform. Because of this, word-of-mouth advertising from players has quickly spread all over the world, giving Psyonix an infinite amount of free publicity.
Not all of Rocket League’s success can be attributed to this free advertising because, ultimately, the developers learned from their first game to make the second one exponentially better.
Twitch Created the Rocket League Championship Series for a Reason
From the moment Rocket League was available to the masses, it was apparent the game would become a smash hit – and this is before it won any awards. Twitch soon realized that this seemingly “easy” game was racking up thousands of hours from thousands of viewers all over the world. And the more competitive the game became, the more Twitch realized there was potential for turning Rocket League into an eSport.
On March 2, 2016, Twitch and Psyonix announced the Rocket League Championship Series. This three-month long tournament kicks off April 30 and pits the best teams from North America and Europe against each other for a chance to win a total prize pool of $75,000 USD.
Nick Allen, Director of eSports Operations at Twitch, noted how the Twitch community rallied around Rocket League and made the decision of becoming the exclusive broadcasting partner an easy one. Twitch has also noted how helpful the Rocket League community has been in fostering long-term growth of the game and used this fact as another deciding factor in establishing a partnership with Psyonix.
When you piece all of this together, there’s no denying Rocket League deserves the attention it is receiving. And at the end of the day, it all boils down to one simple fact: the game is fun and competitive.
The Future of Rocket League Looks Bright
Predictions for Rocket League’s success are looking more positive as time goes on. In the past few months, the developers have added new maps (for free) and treated players with new game modes that let you play hockey and basketball. And as the popularity of the game continues to surge, it seems like eSports is right alongside the game for the ride.
With eSports growing at an alarming rate and no signs of it slowing down, I think it’s safe to say we should all buckle in to our favorite supersonic acrobatic rocket-powered battle-cars and enjoy the ride!