Rocket League sits in my top 10 games of all time. Hell, it might be near the top. It is the perfect game. Matches last just five minutes. The rules are simple. And the fun is endless.
Psyonix was quick to embrace the competitive side of Rocket League and launched the Rocket League Championship Series. This weekend, 8 teams from Europe and North America will show off their Rocket League skills from the Avalon Hollywood in Los Angeles and thousands across the world on Twitch.
The action kicks off tomorrow morning at 10:15 am PST (1:15 pm EST) when Northern Gaming faces off against Genesis. On Sunday, Psyonix plans to make a special announcement. This is most likely related to the leaked image of Rocket League getting a crate system similar to CS:GO. The developers said they would make an announcement close to or at this weekend’s tournament.
We know the crates will help fund eSports prize pools and other events. And, the crates will contain only cosmetic items. Psyonix is all about preserving player balance.
Outside of fighting games, it doesn’t get any easier to follow than Rocket League. There’s a huge ball and two nets. Two teams of three use rocket-boosted cars to hit the ball into the nets. Hard to master, but easy to watch.
It’s games like Rocket League and Street Fighter V that will help eSports penetrate TV. I love watching League of Legends, CS:GO and StarCraft 2. But when a non-gamer stumbles upon it, they have no idea what the hell they are watching.
Take Street Fighter V. The EVO 2016 finals were aired on ESPN 2. I haven’t followed the game in years, but decided to tune in to see how it looked on TV.
First, the presentation was slick. But more importantly, I knew what was going on. Even the most casual gamer has probably played Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter at some point. I didn’t always understand the nuanced strategy the commentators were talking about, but I knew the basic premise. One person kicks the other person’s ass. It’s simple.
Get someone who has never played DOTA 2 to watch a tournament. They might feel the excitement from everyone around them, but they won’t have a damn clue about what’s going on.
Rocket League’s simplicity is one of its greatest strengths. From a gameplay and a spectator perspective. Sure, it’s not as big as DOTA 2 and probably never will be. But being spectator friendly will help if Psyonix ever partners with a channel like ESPN 2.
Here’s taste of what to expect this weekend.
And here’s the full schedule for this weekend. (All times are Pacific)
Saturday, August 6
10 am – Broadcast Begins 10:15 am – Northern Gaming vs Genesis 11 am – Exodus vs. Mock-it eSports EU 12 pm – Kings of Urban vs. The Flying Dutchmen 1 pm – Flipsid3 Tactics vs. iBuyPower Cosmic 2 pm – Resulting matches begin to play out 7 pm – Show closes
Sunday, August 7
10 am – Broadcast Begins 10:15 am – First Matches 12 pm – Rocket League special world premiere announcement (most likely crate system announcement) 12:15 pm – Matches continue all day 4 pm – Grand Finals followed by trophy ceremony