Sports games weren’t always the redheaded stepchildren of the video game business, believe it or not. If you grew up playing video games in the 1990s and 2000s, you probably remember completing that triple kickflip down a stair set in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2, escaping a crushing hit in NFL Street by wall-running, or turning the Chicago Cubs into perpetual World Series champions in MVP Baseball.
While the video game industry as a whole was still trying to figure out its position in the modern zeitgeist, sports games were propelling it ahead. Because of the constant requirement to genuinely duplicate the awe-inspiring events audiences witnessed on primetime television week after week, innovation and technology breakthroughs were expected.
Unfortunately, when it comes to sports games in the present period, the bar has been lowered drastically. The sports associations you grew up rooting for are either no longer in existence or are a shell of their former selves. Today’s businesses don’t place a premium on reproducing the essence of the sport they’re trying to depict. Instead, most sports games are predatory cash grabs that place a premium on gambling on packs (or loot boxes) above understanding mechanics and having fun with others.
Annual games like FIFA and Madden, both published by EA Sports, almost drive gamers into the “Ultimate Team” pay-to-win quagmire, with other game modes relegated to afterthoughts or abandoned outright. For the better part of a decade, this has been the reputation that has surrounded the sports game genre.
Rocket League Restored the Order of Sports Games
However, there’s one game that emerged and isn’t based on a real sport, unlike its modern ‘rivals’. Despite that, it managed to restore order. It’s Rocket League. It includes 2 teams of 3 players chasing a ball in motorized cars and attempting to steer or smash the ball into a net.
It’s a strange, almost dystopian mash-up of soccer, hockey, and a demolition derby that shouldn’t work, but does. Rocket League has maintained its popularity since its inception in the summer of 2015, with an average monthly player count of around 96 million as of May 2021. It’s unclear how many of them are still playing, as it’s quite conceivable for someone to play once and then leave their account open indefinitely. Rocket League reached 1 million online gamers who play simultaneously in September 2020. At some time in March 2021, Rocket League had a daily maximum of approximately 5.2 million players.
There are no simple techniques to calculate Rocket League player counts based on hardware ownership. This could be on purpose, not just because Rocket League has a shared player pool, but also because doing so could disclose which platforms are more popular. Unfavorable statistics are notoriously difficult to enable on consoles. With that in mind, it’s safe to say Rocket League is still performing well, with lots of matches available on all platforms.
What Makes Rocket League Popular 7 Years After Its Launch?
So, despite its age, why is Rocket League still one of the most popular video games, not only for playing but also for wagering at Rocket League betting sites? The answer is straightforward: it’s truthful. Rocket League’s gameplay is purely dependent on physics, unlike other sports games that rely an algorithm to rate a player’s success. It’s not like FIFA or Madden, where calculating whether or not your perfectly timed tackle will be as effective as a wet noodle deployed as a lasso is more or less random. Your shoots and blocks in Psyonix’s bizarre sport are only as good as your positioning and timing. Using a well-timed speed boost might mean the difference between clearing the ball out of danger and entirely missing the play, making yourself look like a complete idiot in front of your buddies. It can also mean the difference between scoring a miracle goal and your shot going wide of the target.
Rocket League, unlike many other games in its category, features a severe learning curve. As a result, the game includes a comprehensive training mode that covers every facet of the game, including how to attack the ball in the air, score goals, and defend against goals. Even once you’ve gone over each area with a fine-toothed comb, it’ll probably take a few games to become used to the game’s frenetic pace and technical expertise required to adjust on the fly. One might assume that such a rigorous acclimation phase would deter some newer players from persevering through the hardships and tribulations of becoming a powerful force in the game, but if the figures are any indicator, this has had minimal effect. Rocket League’s difficulty, on the other hand, adds to its depth and keeps things fresh for even the most experienced players, giving it a lot of replay value.
And, in case you were wondering, Rocket League doesn’t have any pay-to-win elements. All microtransactions in the game are purely cosmetic in nature and exist solely to make your customized vehicles look cooler rather than more effective. The playing field is always level, never uneven because one player can afford expensive loot boxes while another can’t. Even if you can’t afford all of the great gear Rocket League has to offer, you can earn a good amount of it as you play and even exchange it with other players. To make things even better, all DLC maps introduced to the game are also absolutely free, ensuring that you’ll never be left behind when a new add-on is launched.
Rocket League’s appeal is bolstered by the fact that it’s a cross-platform game. As of February 2019, users on any platform, including Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, and PC, can compete against one another. As a result, the game’s ranking system more truly represents talent and prowess, whereas many of its competitors limit their player base to the console or platform on which they are playing. This also assures that there’s always a wide pool of competitors.
Rocket League’s ingenuity and long-term power are defined by its simple yet hard gameplay, supportive community, and low cost. Rocket League’s honesty and purity are a welcome and refreshing revelation in an era where players are regularly let down by the sports gaming industry’s unscrupulous and deceptive actions. It’s a style you’d like to see more of in the future, whether from other indie studios like Psyonix or even the big boys like EA and 2K (though don’t hold your breath). Even if crashing automobiles into giant metallic balls isn’t your cup of tea, it’s an experience worth having at least once. And chances are you’ll want to go back to it again and again.