Can Rocket League become a tier 2 esport in 2017?

Previous seasons of Rocket League have been plagued with messy formats and overall dissatisfaction from the fans. The game’s developer, Psyonix, has obviously listened.

Last week the company announced plans for Season 3 of the Rocket League Championship Series and the rest of 2017. It will invest a whopping $2.5m (£2,012,500) into Rocket League esports in 2017 including prize pool money into the RLCS, community-run tournaments, console tournaments and even a collegiate league. This financial growth is particularly astounding when you assess the trajectory of the prize pool; it has risen from $75,000 (£60,367) in Season 1 to now $300,000 (£ 241,470) in Season 3.

iBuyPower wins the first Rocket League Championship.

As a game that isn’t in a ‘popular’ category this doesn’t phase Psyonix one bit. After hearing complaints from the game’s dedicated community, developers made the necessary changes to make Rocket League esports ideal for not only the fans but the players as well.

We spoke to some well known faces in RLCS esports about their thoughts on the financial increase coming in 2017.

“It makes me believe in the longevity of Rocket League as an esport”

Caster Adam ‘Lawler’ Thornton told us he’s optimistic about the future of Rocket League esports: “So many people are excited about the future of this esport but it just seems to be missing something. We don’t know if that’s a huge prize pool, or large sponsors (such as TSM, Team Liquid, CLG, etc.) coming in.

“What I do know is that creating a foundation that allows us to stay relevant and keep feeding a new player base in excites me. It makes me believe in the longevity of Rocket League as an esport and I’m nothing but optimist about our future.”

The bump in prize money is always a welcome addition to players hoping to make esports a full-time commitment. Mock-it esports player David ‘Miztik’ Lawrie agrees: “Personally I feel like the formatting and prize money are good for now. Of course everyone would like to see larger prize pools for the game, but I would much prefer similar prize pools for major events just more often. Maybe a few times a year.”

“I think Rocket League could become easily a tier 2 esport at the end of 2017.”

In previous seasons, RLCS has been exclusive to only North America and Europe. Psyonix will be adding Oceania to the region qualifications beginning in Season 3. This addition will not only bring more competition in general but more pressure on all teams to perform at the top of their level.

“I’m really excited about the addition of Oceania to RLCS,” Miztik said. “I really hope the top teams of OCE have some good competition and don’t get completely demolished. More variety in competition is definitely needed in Rocket League right now.”

When it comes to newcomers understanding the various esports titles, one of the best visual guides to look to it Jens Hilgers’ analysis of where each fits in a tiered structure. You can check this out on TEO and below:

Miztik’s Mock-it teammate Victor ‘Fairy Peak!’ Locquet agrees that Psyonix is taking Rocket League esports seriously, and in the right direction: “I think Rocket League could become easily a tier 2 esport at the end of 2017 if they listen to the community and deliver a better prize pool.”

Esports Insider says: Although Rocket League might not be considered a top tier esport it’s refreshing to see Psyonix put so much dedication into their fans and community.