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esports
Rocket League

Psyonix's Josh Watson on Rocket League esports' growth

Including the past and what the priorities are moving forward.

  • Text: Sam Bishop
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Rocket League has grown a lot over the last few years, and with that growth has come an esports presence as well, not just with the ongoing Rocket League Championship Series (or RLCS), but also with lower level competitions and other events. Since esports is now very much within the fibres of the game, we recently spoke to Josh Watson, Esports Operations Manager at Psyonix, about how far it's come, and the priorities moving forward, especially in regards to the upcoming Tournaments mode.

Where is the Rocket League Championship Series at right now, and are you happy with its growth?

The past two seasons of the RLCS have been extremely successful. We have seen exponential growth season over season and engagement is at an all-time high. We're currently in the beginning stages of season 5 of the RLCS, which will award a total of $550,000 USD in prizes across three regions. We're excited to see all the high-octane action this season has to offer.

Tournaments mode is coming - is low-level, grassroots competition a focus for you?

Absolutely. When we began developing the landscape for Rocket League Esports we recognized early on that in order to create the healthiest competitive environment possible we had to look at the sport as holistically as possible. One of the traditional hurdles for esports is encouraging new competitive players to leave their game of choice and search for competition on outside platforms; this process is counterintuitive, and often cumbersome. The Tournaments feature will allow us to eliminate those extra hurdles and give all players the opportunity to experience competitive Rocket League on a whole new level.

Are you pleased to see big organisations like PSG Esports and Dignitas invest in teams?

We are extremely pleased to see new organizations from both the endemic esports space, as well as the traditional sports world entering the Rocket League ecosystem. Seeing new orgs enter competitive Rocket League is encouraging because it reaffirms our belief that the game has incredible potential.

Was esports always part of the plan when Rocket League first started?

We always knew Rocket League had the potential to be a huge success in the world of esports, but our main focus was ensuring that Rocket League was the best game it could be. After release we saw the appetite for high level competitive play and we decided to make it one of our focuses post-launch.

Is it important for you to have an ongoing league as well as these single, isolated offline competitions?

Over the past several years we have found that is it very important to diversify the types of competitions available to the Rocket League Esports community. We continue to support the RLCS as it is paramount to the continued stability of the professional players and the ecosystem, while one-off tournaments allow up-and-coming teams to make a name for themselves within the space. When looking at the sport as a whole, both of these types of competitions are extremely important to us as we're trying to encourage the continued growth of Rocket League Esports.

It seems then that esports isn't going anywhere for Psyonix, whether that be the lower-level competitions or the grandeur of the RLCS, and speaking of which Season 5 sign-ups end for qualifiers next week on February 15 at 07:59 UTC, so if you want to get involved then make sure you head over to this link. How far do you think Rocket League esports can go?

Rocket League
Photo: Psyonix