All throughout the Summer of 2020, Psyonix has stated that Rocket League’s free to play aspect is absolutely coming during the Summer; now that it’s the beginning of Fall, it appears that they’re finally ready to pull the trigger on the switch over, that some has noted has some rough undertones for Psyonix.
If you’re completely out of the loop on this one, Epic Games Store has purchased exclusivity for Psyonix’s Rocket League after it has been out on Steam since July 7, 2015; over five years on the Steam store.
Now, it’s being pulled from the Steam store and transferred over to EGS where it will continue its lifespan as a free-to-play title.
It’s important to note that Psyonix has stated that the Steam edition of Rocket League will continue to be playable on the Steam platform for those who have purchased the title during its shelf-life, in spite of the title continuing on as an Epic title; how accurate this statement is, or will be in the future, is worth considering.
There are concerns that are based on empirical data (Shenmue 3, Metro Exodus, and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater all have had varied parts in writing this recent history) that EGS may just opt to close the deal or attempt to shut down Rocket League via an exclusive iterative title that would allow RL to be shut down.
— Rocket League (@RocketLeague) September 15, 2020
There is further speculation on the monetization of Rocket League; it recently experienced a hefty shake-up that soured many on it, hosting blueprints that require $20 to build while attempting to obfuscate what items within player inventories can be traded up (and limited newly released items that can be traded to encourage more microtransactions.
We’ve seen titles shifting towards a more free-to-play approach bite the player base in the butt as well; Elder Scrolls Online turned into a sporadic free for all in their cash shop that offered power and boosts for users, after promising that the title would only ever offer cosmetics.
Which was dashed when they realized it could be far more profitable. Now, speed upgrades, quest lines, DLC (that locks many of the most powerful weapons and armor), classes, and inventory upgrades are all gated behind microtransactions.
Finally, titles have been simply yoinked from the Steam libraries of paying users in the past with little rhyme, reason, or recourse for users: SiN was pulled for unknown reasons out of the libraries in mid-March. Other titles, such as the aforementioned THPS, was removed for purchase beginning their exclusivity deal for the re-re-(re?)make of the first two titles, although it’s still playable if you purchased it when it was available on the Steam platform.
The coming months will likely spell out precisely how well this will ultimately go as consumers’ digital rights has undertaken a barrage of blows recently, and claims and statements seem to be increasingly built upon beliefs rather than realities. Here’s hoping Rocket League will survive the transfer well intact, and that empirical data means little with Psyonix at the helm.