“Almost up until the game was announced for PlayStation Plus, we were on the fence.”
Rocket League was originally released back in 2015 and has since become a massive hit with its addictive sport gameplay which sees cars and soccer merged into one.
Rocket League really hit the mainstream when it was offered as one of the free games for PlayStation Plus subscribers. This allowed millions of people to try it for free and gave the game more publicity than the devs could have done on their own. This decision clearly paid off, but it wasn’t one that was made easily.
In a documentary about Rocket League, the vice president of Psyonix, Jeremy Dunham, revealed why the studio opted to go with Sony and what a hard decision that was.
“We didn’t have any money to spend,” he explained. “Our budget for marketing and PR was practically nothing. Our big challenge was how we get it out to other people.”
Psyonix opted to allow the game to be given away to millions of players via PlayStation Plus’ free games, but this did mean the studio would be giving the game away for a month.
“Our strategy was, ‘If we don’t have the money to market this game, why don’t we let Sony market it for us, because they put in millions of dollars a year in marketing PlayStation Plus games and they do it month after month regardless of what the game is.’
“It was a difficult decision,” Dunham continued. “It took a lot of discussions … Almost up until the game was announced for PlayStation Plus, we were on the fence.”
Psyonix’s design director Corey Davis said:
“It was a big worry because we didn’t know if it was the right decision. We had a lot of fear that we would just make no money on the game. Obviously, developers can’t go into details of the deal they have with Sony, but you fight for an amount that they pay you and hope that’s enough if nothing else happens.
“It was really concerning that we may just sign away all this money and then the game just drops off. Even within the first month, yeah it blew up on PlayStation Plus, but what if five million people download it and then no one else buys it ever again and we’ve made nothing and have to pay for servers for five million people.”
The decision to go with Sony paid off and Rocket League became a huge hit. It went on to become the most downloaded PlayStation Plus game of all time, gained over 21 million players, and earned over $110 million.
Psyonix has also regularly supported the game with free DLC as well as two larger paid DLC expansions. If you’re a fan of Rocket League then you should defiantly check out the documentary.