Nobody would've expected the follow-up to Psyonix's RC-cars soccer game Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars to be an enormous success, but Rocket League has managed to become a staple of competitive gaming in a scarily short amount of time. The indie eSports game garnered critical acclaim and a large fanbase pretty much out of the gate. Now we have some specific numbers on how well the game has been doing since it saw the light of day last year in the form of a report by Forbes.
Rocket League already managed to sell 4 million units by December last year, cashing in a whopping $70 million dollars. Now, 6 months later, the sales figures total is at a whopping 5 million units sold to the tune of $110 million dollars. Seems like the game being free for PlayStation Plus subscribers did little to stem the monetary tide, and the game shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.
Over 15 million players have been bouncing the ball around the court between July 2015 and June 2016, 5 million of which have been active since the start of 2016. Due to the game being free on release for PlayStation Plus subscribers, the amount of players playing on Sony's console amounts to 42% of the active player base. PC is in second place with 36% of the active players playing via Steam, with Rocket League consistently having more active players than big name games like Tom Clancy's The Division and Dark Souls III. The Xbox One comes in third with 22%, a surprisingly high number since the game got released 6 months after it released on other platforms.
Psyonix has shown Rocket League a lot of post-release support in the form of cosmetic DLC, new maps to play on, variations on the formula that so far include hockey and basketball and a variety of new cars. Dave Hagewood, Psyonix CEO, had the following things to say about the game's DLC structure and the future of Rocket League:
It makes sense that you keep developing and developing because it’s a live project. In our case, we came out with a premium price but we keep supporting the game as if it’s a live product. And that’s working for us because of the DLC we do, that sort of creates the need to make DLC that’s more than just ‘Oh here you can put a special item on your car.’ We’re actually trying to add substantially new gameplay.
Some of these DLC items, like the formerly temporary 'Snow Day' hockey mode and the new 'Hoops' basketball mode, were released for free, whereas other DLC packs like the new cars are available for a small fee. These pieces of paid DLC, of which they sold 5 million pieces, also explain the rather dramatic increase in revenue over the past few months even with only a million more units sold since December. The amount of DLC sold speaks for the game's continued popularity and the willingness of the community to support the developers with microtransactions that are fairly priced and non-intrusive.
None of the DLC you pay for will really impact gameplay or put players on an uneven playing field. Anything that does have an impact on the game will be free.
We just want people to have options where they can buy things that they think look cool that don’t negatively or positively affect their gameplay experience. We want people to express themselves, and so all the other items that we’ve done that do affect gameplay, like new maps or new modes, we give away for free. We don’t want people to feel like they’re not included in something if they don’t give us money. We want it to be the opposite.
Rocket League's future is bright. 2016 already brought cross-platform play to the PC and Xbox One and will see the game's physical release in stores around the world. An as of yet mysterious substantial content update is in development right now in addition to new items players can use to customize their cars (some of which will be able to track specific stats depending on the cosmetic), as well as a continued push to cement Rocket League's place in the professional eSports community with their own championship series. This championship series saw 20,000 people sign up for a chance to compete for the $75,000 prize pool with the first match getting over 300,000 people watching from the digital sidelines.
What are your thoughts on Rocket League's performance thus far? What are your hopes for the future? Let us know in the comments!