We have more and more games entering the eSport scene with larger and larger prize pools. One game that recently became a contender for eSports is Rocket League. While it still doesn’t have any huge prize pools or as many competitions as other big name titles, it has the potential to become the one of the biggest eSports games of them all. Here are 8 reasons why we think Rocket League is the future of eSports.
One of the biggest reasons Rocket League is the future of eSports is how it reaches a mainstream audience. Few titles manage to get a large number of non-gamers to watch them these days, but Rocket League does have the potential to reach a much broader audience. Why? Well, to start with, there is very little you need to know to understand Rocket League. Two main aspects, cars and soccer, are already deeply ingrained in Western culture, with perhaps the exception of soccer in the United States, which enjoys popularity with children but struggles to hold the interest of adults.
Having such a low barrier of entry means that Rocket League could easily become the eSport of the masses and be fun for the whole family to watch.
Easy to Watch
Aside from being easy to understand for the people who usually don't play videogames, Rocket League also has the advantage of being very easy to watch. A problem many eSports titles have is how complex they are to watch with massive arenas and a camera that jumps between different spots on the map. Rocket League is much simpler and only requires constant attention on the ball, instead of multiple areas of the arena simultaneously. The field in which the game is played on is pretty small in comparison to other games, but it is a flat and has a plain field with no different paths or monsters to look out for. It distinctly reflects a soccer field, which helps unfamiliar watchers identify with the game. Rocket League also has the advantages of great camera angles that give a great overview and are easy to follow.
Easy to Play
The rules of Rocket League are very easy to understand, which makes it perfect for bringing in players who aren't necessarily familiar with other eSports games. This makes it very accessible to all kinds of players. All you need to know is how to move forward, really. If you can manage to drive and steer the car, you will be able to play Rocket League; everything else in the game is just extra stuff. This means that anyone who watches Rocket League could just as easily play it without having to learn complicated game systems.
Difficult to master
An important aspect that a game must have to become an eSport is a high skill cap, and Rocket League is definitely very hard to master. There is a lot of depth, for a seemingly simple game, that separates the skilled players from novices. If you want to have a chance at the competitive level, you have to know when to boost and how to fly. Flying in a controlled way is something few players manage to do correctly, which is what separates pro players from amateurs.
High Player Population
Popularity is key for any game that wants to be an eSport. It doesn't matter how much emphasis is put on the competitive level, if there aren't a lot of players then it won't succeed. This is something that stands true for all sports because more players means larger prize pools. Initially released on the PC and PlayStation 4, Rocket League was an overnight success that brought in millions of players. After its early success, the game was made available for the Xbox One in February, 2016, where it continues to see success.
Rocket League stands as one of few eSports titles that is purely about individual player skills. Do not get me wrong, all competitive games require a lot of talent, but many games have power locked behind a leveling system. Most other eSports also let the players use different classes with varying skill sets, which creates an opportunity for balance problems. This isn't a problem for Rocket League. There are unlocks in the game like new hats, antennas and exhaust colors, but they absolutely have no effect aside from being cosmetic. The game comes with a lot of different cars to use, but they are all exactly the same. There are no advantages to be obtained in Rocket League, which makes it an ideal candidate to be an eSport.
Being one of few games that is fully cross-platform between all three major platforms opens up a future of possibilities we have not yet encountered. And seeing how the game plays exactly the same on the different platforms, it could potentially have a competitive league composed of console and PC players. The eSports possibilities with Rocket league are almost endless without having a divide between the different platforms.
The last, and probably most important, thing about Rocket League is that the game is fun to play and watch. There are few games that have had so little negative critique as Rocket League has had. Smashing into other cars, and a giant ball, at rocket-speed is pure and glorious fun.