Rocket League developer Psyonix has announced details for the upcoming Rocket League Championship Series (RLCS) 2024 season — which has seen a scaling back from last season.
RLCS in 2024 will have three LAN events and a $4.3m (~£3.4) global prize pool, alongside a myriad of rule and format changes.
The RLCS is game developer Psyonix’s official esports circuit. The circuit will be operated by BLAST in 2024 for the first time, having previously been operated by ESL.
RLCS 2024 will comprise two in-person Majors — one in March and the second in June — followed by the Rocket League World Championship in September.
Each Major will be preceded by three online Open Qualifiers, through which teams will qualify for that respective Major. Teams will also accrue points towards the World Championship from their placements in events throughout the season.
The prize pool now extends much deeper, with the top 128 placed teams in North America and Europe now receiving prizes. In South America, Oceania and MENA the top 64 teams will receive cash prizes, with 32 teams being eligible in APAC and Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).
However, the overall prize pool has dropped to $4.3m, a significant reduction from last season’s $6m. Nonetheless, Psyonix revealed that the Esports Shop will also refresh ‘early in the season’ with over 30 unspecified teams debuting new custom decals and player banners.
This season also marks the first in which the SSA region receives a qualifying spot in Majors. Previously, the region had its own separate regional events.
Additionally, the minimum player age for the RLCS in 2024 has been lowered to 13 years old, though Psyonix has stipulated that coaches and managers must be at least 18.
The new season announcement was met with widespread disappointment in the Rocket League community.
Team owners, pro players, talent and fans alike hit out at the changes, which include a smaller prize pool, less LAN events, and less LAN slots granted to established regions like North America and Europe.
Additionally, fans took issue with the fact that all regions appear to be playing on the same day simultaneously, rather than on alternating weeks as in the past — which may mean viewership suffers.
Shawn ‘Unit’ Pellerin, CEO of esports organisation Spacestation Gaming (SSG), said in a post on X: “We love Rocket League at SSG and have been involved in the RLCS for the last 6 years.. but this really feels like a punch to the guts. We will continue to invest in RL esports because we know how special it is but I think this will have a negative impact on the scene long term.”
Meanwhile, the recently-formed Rocket League Players’ Association (RLPA) put out a statement expressing frustration with the announcement: “RLPA is disappointed with today’s RLCS announcement, in particular the lack of visibility and communication since the culmination of last season. We don’t believe these changes have the players’ interest at heart.
“We look forward to productive conversations with Psyonix to discuss how we can help build a better future for the esport. We believe this must include player input.”
The Rocket League scene had been anxiously awaiting details of the new season, with the previous 2023-24 season having concluded back in August 2023, five months ago.