Rapidly expanding industry monolith Epic Games have snapped up Psyonix, the studio behind esports car-football phenomenon Rocket League. In an official announcement, Psyonix have declared that they’re “joining the Epic family”, and the game will come to the Epic Games Store. In the short term, that means very little for players, but longer-term, they may eventually stop selling the game on Steam, although they do plan on continuing support for existing owners. Unsurprisingly, the Steam store page for the game is being flooded with negative reviews.
Update: Epic have expounded on their announcement. Speaking to USGamer, an Epic Games spokesperson said “We are continuing to sell Rocket League on Steam, and have not announced plans to stop selling the game there”, although a removal from sale on Steam isn’t ruled out either, following up with the maddeningly vague “long-term plans will be announced in the future”. See the original story below.
While Epic have secured a lot of potentially very expensive timed exclusivity deals for their new store, this seems to be their most major investment yet. Rocket League remains one of the most popular competitive multiplayer games around, and cross-platform to boot, giving it an utterly enormous player-base. While there’s no mention of how much Epic had to fork out to buy the studio, it seems safe to assume it’s a very large number. I also doubt this will be the last of Epic’s major studio buyouts in the near future.
As noted by The Verge, Epic & Psyonix have history, with the company’s headquarters once just twelve miles apart. They’ve worked together on development tools, and as Epic head Tim Sweeney states, “Psyonix has always been a part of the Epic family, and we’re happy to make it official”. The acquisition hasn’t been finalised yet, and won’t be until the end of May or early June, but it seems very unlikely that anything would interrupt the process at this point.
As for what this means for the game itself, again, very little in the short term. The acquisition gives Psyonix a lot more PR clout and the potential to run bigger esports events, but I don’t see the game changing much. It already practically uses the same seasonal progression system as Fortnite Battle Royale. I can see the games doing some official cross-promotion later on, but for existing Rocket League players, you’ve probably not got much to worry about. My only concern is the developer’s wellbeing, especially in light of reports on Epic’s poor treatment of Fortnite staff.
Rocket League will remain available on Steam for £15/€20/$20 until it makes the official jump to the Epic Games Store. Both versions of the game should be updated equally after that.