The Biggest eSport No One Knows About Yet
Rocket League came out quietly in July 2015. The developers themselves said that they expected 10,000 or less to be playing at the time of launch. Rocket League's Humble Beginnings Let me take you back 7 years or so.
Rocket League came out quietly in July 2015. The developers themselves said that they expected 10,000 or less to be playing at the time of launch.
Rocket League's Humble BeginningsLet me take you back 7 years or so. Psyonix, a small developer in San Diego, had never really released one of their own games. They had mostly done work for other companies, one of which was Square Enix. That all changed when one of their guys in the office got an idea: cars playing soccer with rocket boosters. That idea became Super Sonic Acrobatic Rocket Powered Battle Cars, a PS3 indie exclusive available in the PS Store. The game was wildly popular, with the few thousand people that actually played it. If you talk to most Rocket League pros who started with SARP, as it is affectionately called by those from the early days, they will tell you that once they found it there were no other games to play. They spent all of their time on SARP, honing their skills, learning, and competing. Although it was a revolutionary game in terms of what a sports game could be on a console, it went mostly unnoticed.The game was wildly popular, with a few thousand people that actually played it. If you talk to most Rocket League pros who started with SARP (as it is affectionately called by those from the early days), they will tell you that once they found it, it was the only game they wanted to play. They spent all of their time on SARP, honing their skills, learning, and competing. Although it was a revolutionary game in terms of what a sports game could be on console, it went mostly unnoticed.In 2008, Psyonix announced that they were working on a sequel to the popular SARP. The fans were excited, but as the years passed, people began to wonder if they would ever get to see the next gen heir to their beloved game. Then finally, 2014 arrived. The alpha was here, and then the beta — which was streamed on Twitch 24/7. And then the day that everyone had been waiting for: Rocket League was released to the public.
Rocket League Now
Since the launch, the only direction Rocket League has moved is forward. With a consistent 100,000 players or more every weekend, three to five tournaments a week pulling hundreds of teams, this game is here to stay. Although I am not an avid fan of many other eSports, I can say that from my time watching MOBAs, FPSs, and fighting games, I have never seen anything as dynamic, fast paced, and thrilling as Rocket League.[caption id="attachment_17153" align="aligncenter" width="900"] Rocket League gameplay screenshot[/caption]After winning countless awards, including an independent game of the year award, sports/racing game of the year, multiplayer game of the year, Gamespot’s indie game of the year, and many, many more (all of those are separate awards or recognitions), Rocket League has shown that it is here for the long haul. ESL and MLG came out with very early support for the game, however, because it was so young, it is my opinion that neither organization knew how to properly execute. Initially expecting to have small weekly tournaments with 30 to 60 teams, ESL is now hosting tournaments that last all day with over 100 and sometimes 200 teams in both North America and Europe. MLG hosted a pro league offering $2,500 as a prize, which drew hundreds if not thousands of viewers. I believe the final total was around ~2,500 viewers.
No one was sure what a Rocket League LAN event could pull until Rocket League Central, the current cornerstone of competitive Rocket League, drew a crowd of close to 4,000 concurrent viewers at the peak for their most recent event. One could scoff at the number 4,000 when most other eSports pull in hundreds of thousands of fans to watch their events, but for a game that just launched in July, has had no prior live events, no public support from the developer up to this point, and is being run purely by those in the community, creating a following of 4,000 fans is quite a feat! Psyonix is ready to step in now that they see they have a true diamond in their hand and I am thrilled to see what their support and blessing can give this game over the course of the next 6 months.[caption id="attachment_17154" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Rocket League gameplay screenshot[/caption]