The question of “is Rocket League dying” is being asked more and more these days. If you play Rocket League, you may know that the game’s popularity has plummeted since the initial peak of free-to-play in September 2020. This has led to many and frequent discussions about what can be done to revitalize the player base.
At some point, he has to be processed by Psyonix. They’re probably aware of it and working on ideas because the game isn’t going anywhere. However, the question of what these changes might entail is still very mysterious. That didn’t stop the community from making their own suggestions of course.
The player base
Some believe that the player base grew soon after the switch to Free-to-play. The independent database ActivePlayer shows that Rocket League’s popularity actually peaked in July 2021. Nearly 100 million players launched and jumped the game throughout the month. Since then, of course, there has been a noticeable slight decrease.
The concerns weren’t allayed and the controversy only skyrocketed when, in the August 2021 Season 4 update post, Psyonix clarified that they would no longer display the number. number of concurrent players in the game. Instead, players only got the words “Good”, “Great”, or “Amazing” to describe the population in each ranked playlist. To many, this seemed like a blatant cover-up and ignorance of the issue. The system is still the same today and therefore only the number of Steam players can be accessed since.
Other people have done their own research using Steam Maps. One found that in terms of PC gamers on Steam, the peak concurrent player count in September 2020 was 147,000. Recently, the peak was only 45,000. These stats from the Rocket League show a decrease of almost 70% and are part of the reason many are asking the question “is Rocket League dying”.
Many content creators are concerned about Rocket League’s viewership in general across the board. Understandably, many fear that their livelihood will depend on a declining game. But what about esports? Rocket League tournaments have had a lot of good cheers over the past few years.
From the lows of RLCS Season 1’s peak of around 50,000 concurrent viewers, Rocket League’s premier tournament has grown, peaking at the Season 8 World Championship with 280,495 viewers according to Esports Charts. . Since then, those numbers haven’t been reached, which is understandable considering Season 8 was the last season before the global pandemic began.
Hopes are high for this 2021-2022 RLCS season, with Psyonix announcing the highly anticipated major expansion in September 2021. This saw three new regions added to the global circuit (MENA, APAC North and APAC South) as well as support for Sub-Saharan Africa. The RLCS prize pool has also increased to accommodate this by an additional $6 million. Even the Rocket League betting scene is on the rise.
Return to LAN
The return to LAN play at the 2021-2022 RLCS Fall Major may not have had a live crowd, but the peak viewership still reached an awfully close 280,226 viewers, nearly surpassing the previous peak. These Rocket League stats encouraged some, as this was not a World Championship event. However, they are still admittedly small and in some cases less in scale than mainstream Tier 1 esports such as League of Legends or CS:GO.
At least one thing Rocket League has always had going for it is the fact that it’s E for everyone. Because of this, it attracts big brands, such as 7-Eleven, Ford, BMW, Lamborghini, Nissan, the list goes on. They don’t need or have a lot of the endemic esports brands on board because so many big brands and partners want to be on it. They know that Rocket League is for an audience they’d like to talk to as well. These sponsors help bring a fresh look to esports and gaming in turn. It’s not something that fans and long-term players really seem to care about.
What do players want?
Some of the most requested things are more content when it comes to the game. A true built-in creative mode is often requested after seeing what’s possible with the game’s Steam Workshop maps.
Other frustrations stem from features that were initially exciting and promising when launched by Psyonix, but ultimately were never really developed. Custom Training, for example, was a revelation when it was introduced, but it’s been long overdue for new features. Or the club function, where you can be in a group with your friends. Other than the small tag on an online match’s leaderboard, it means very little.
One issue that only seems to cause more turmoil in the community is Psyonix’s lack of communication. Roadmaps are few and far between, and even these don’t seem to stick. The game developer’s lack of assurance has many worried. The main thing on the horizon that seems increasingly widely accepted as something to watch is the rumored game moving to Unreal Engine 5. Those in the field understand that this would open countless doors in terms of possibilities and of features for the game. If that potential lives up and the rumors are true, then Rocket League could get a second life.
So is Rocket League dying? Honestly, it’s hard to say, but it still seems too early to book the funeral.