Cory Lanier, the Esports Product Manager for Rocket League developer Psyonix, has announced his departure from the company to start a new role at Amazon.
His departure marks the end of a five-and-a-half year stretch in which Lanier oversaw Rocket League’s considerable rise in size and fortunes as an esport.
In a Twitter thread, Lanier announced that he will start a new position at retail giant Amazon as a Senior Product Manager of Tech following a few weeks’ break.
Lanier joined Psyonix in March 2017 as its Esports Program Specialist before being promoted to Esports Product Manager in December 2020.
Rocket League was released by Psyonix in July 2015 and has grown considerably in both player base and esports fan base in recent years. Publisher Epic Games bought the game developer in 2019.
During his tenure, Lanier oversaw dramatic growth in Rocket League’s esports ecosystem and the global expansion of its main developer-run esports circuit, the Rocket League Championship Series (RLCS).
After initially enlarging the RLCS in 2020, Psyonix announced another highly-anticipated major expansion in September 2021, which saw four new regions added to the global circuit as well as a $6m (~£4.3m) annual prize purse. In January, Rocket League’s collegiate league expanded to Europe, making it arguably the first esport to have an international collegiate championship.
In an interview with Esports Insider in March, Lanier reflected that the league’s growth was in fact slower than they’d hoped, but defended Psyonix’s philosophy of incremental change.
In the Twitter thread, the former Esports Product Manager described the decision to depart Psyonix as ‘bittersweet’. He reflected on his position as a dream job, but added it was time for him to take some time back for himself and take a break from working in esports.
“I’ve given so much time and energy into RL [Rocket League] that it felt like it was time for a change. I’d be a liar if I didn’t work like mad these past couple years and lost a sense of self,” Lanier said in the Twitter thread.
“The esports squad at Psyonix is filled with some of the best in the industry, and no other team has ever worked harder to build something we all believed in. I’m sad that I’ll be leaving them a man down, but I know they’ll bring another electrifying year of esports to RL.”
Lanier starts his Senior Product Manager of Tech position at Amazon in October, where he’ll occupy a fully-focused development role.