I’m surprised there aren’t more “big” esports organizations investing in Rocket League – it’s a very safe scene to get into, in my opinion. The scene is never going to collapse and, if anything, it looks like it’s only going to grow.
Personally, I’d love to see Rocket League have a “2nd coming” so to speak, where it randomly just blows up again with lots of new players and viewers coming in, but even if it doesn’t, it’s still doing fine.
The game is only three years old, so it’s still a baby compared to other esports titles out there. I feel like this iteration of Rocket League will never be as popular as League of Legends or CS:GO, but I think it’ll be as popular as games like Street Fighter or Smash, which have their own niche markets – if not more so.
Unfortunately, because Rocket League is a newer scene, a lot of players have been screwed over by bad organizations, which has possibly put the scene behind where it should be.
Something a lot of people touch on is the fact that there’s no in-game decals or anything like that to appeal to organizations to invest in Rocket League teams. In League you can buy the profile pictures and in CS:GO you can get stickers, there’s nothing like that in Rocket League.
That would be a game changer for the professional scene in my opinion. Large organizations would be all over that and we’d probably see a large influx of money and initial viewership. Whether it would keep all of that attention? I can’t tell you.
I actually tried to research the concurrent player base of Rocket League in comparison to some of the other major esports titles like CS:GO, League of Legends, and Overwatch. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find numbers for most of them, but my impression is that Rocket League is at the bottom of that tier 1 section when it comes to active players. It’s certainly not the failing game that some imagine it to be.
In my opinion, there are three things that determine whether a game is a top-tier esport or not: prize pool, player base, and viewership. The thing is, the Twitch viewership is strange for Rocket League; the esports side is huge, and more people are watching it than actually playing the game concurrently at times, which is bizarre. Individual streamers can barely draw anything though. I don’t know why that is the case, to be honest.
Rocket League has already had it’s “trendy” period like the one Fortnite is going through now. All the people who were there for the trend have moved on and the people who actually love the game have stayed. As a result, viewing numbers on streamers have halved, at least. The number of players in this game isn’t really enough to take it to the next level.
It wouldn’t hurt to have more content creators get on the game and try to promote it, but in general, I just think most people already know about Rocket League and have made up their mind about whether or not they like it.
It might be the case that people are watching Rocket League and then struggling to get a hang of the game when they start playing it. You can compare it to actual sports, which are, of course, physics-based. Rocket League is the biggest physics-based game out there. So just how football fans may prefer watching professional football players, Rocket League fans may prefer watching the best players rather than playing at a lower level themselves.
If I watch a game of League of Legends, as a person who’s not really played it before, I struggle to see where exactly the difference is between those really good players, and me. For me, in Rocket League, that contrast is extremely apparent. You can tell that the professional player is better almost immediately and you can pinpoint what he is doing that’s so good. I certainly think that it could be off-putting to new players who have bought the game after watching professional play.
There is a sort of battle going on at the moment between the casual side of Rocket League and the competitive esports side. Both sides think that the other gets more time spent on them than the other.
The irony is that both sides actually need each other but they don’t realize it. The casual side brings in the player base which keeps the game healthy, whereas the esports side brings in players by advertising it at esports events. They literally rely on each other to keep the game popular, but for some reason, they just keep arguing with each other. It’s pretty funny actually.
I guess I’m on the esports side, though I’m trying to be a bit more balanced and spend some more time focusing on the casual side, so I can kind of see what both arguments are. My main issue actually is that I keep swinging back and forth between content, which I think is casual, and competitive; doing both is pretty difficult.
The pro scene of Rocket League is getting more and more professional as the seasons go on because it’s becoming more relevant and popular. You want to play as much as you can but, at the same time, you want to make sure it’s effective.
The best way is obviously scrims and playing with your team. North American teams have always been better at scrimming, but I think it’s evening out a little. G2 Esports is a great example of a team that works hard but works effectively. Rizzo and Kronovi have improved a lot and with Jknaps, they’ve become a really strong team.
That means you can’t really play Rocket League for 12 hours – well, you could – but it wouldn’t be effective at all. You’d just end up cramming the same things into your brain over and over again without a rest to the point where you just got really overwhelmed. I think six hours a day is probably the maximum any Rocket League player needs to keep themselves at a top level or to improve themselves.
My dream goal really would be to be on that stage lifting the trophy, but I found out recently that there’s a massive difference between wanting to be something, and actually enjoying the process of doing it.
I would love to be a professional Rocket League player, but how much do I actually enjoy grinding the game every day to get that good? The answer is not that much, unfortunately.
Image Credit: Joe Brady / @ZeeboDesigns