Epic Games To Buy Out Rocket League Creator Psyonix

If they can't buy the games, they'll buy the studios making the games.
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Epic Games will acquire Psyonix and its most famous property, Rocket League. Epic Games

Epic has now started its acquisition of studios, rather than video games themselves.

A press release straight from Epic made the rounds yesterday, a copy of whice was sent to us here at Player.One. It states that as of yesterday, Epic Games has signed a “definitive agreement to acquire the business of San Diego, California-based game developer Psyonix Inc., the team behind the sports-action hit, Rocket League”.

Psyonix reached worldwide acclaim with their 2015 release Rocket League, which is essentially just soccer (or football, depending on where you live) with cars. Since the beginning of 2018, three years after its initial release, Rocket League has seen over six million copies sold as well as 40 million players sign in to play. It also has its very own active esport scene, with players able to participate through ESL (Electronic Sports League), Major League Gaming and of course Psyonix’s very own competitions through the RLCS (Rocket League Championship Series).

Rocket League Splash
Rocket League is Psyonix's most successful title. Photo: Psyonix

“Psyonix has always been a part of the Epic family, and we’re happy to make it official,” Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, said in the press release “We have great respect for how Psyonix has built an excellent team and an incredible community around Rocket League.”

“We’ve been working closely with Epic since the early days of Unreal Tournament, and we’ve survived changing tides as partners, so combining forces makes sense in many ways,” Dave Hagewood, founder and studio director of Psyonix, said in the release. “The potential of what we can learn from each other and accomplish together makes us truly excited for the future.”

While I am happy for Psyonix as they are now being recognized for their talents, I can’t help but wonder what this means for the future of Rocket League on PC, which is currently hosted on Steam. Epic has recently been under fire for what a portion of the PC gaming community sees as predatory anti-consumer practices, such as its exclusivity deals and reported ‘spyware’ on the Epic Launcher. Rocket League has a pretty big community on Steam, with its average players just last month numbering at almost 33,000, which is pretty high considering that the game is four years old.

Rocket League Concurrent
The concurrent number of players for Rocket League on Steam. Photo: Valve

Considering all these things, it’s not surprising that Epic acquiring Psyonix, and therefore the licenses to Rocket League, was met with derision from a part of its Steam playerbase. At the time of this writing, the game has seen a review bombing numbering more than a thousand thumbs-down ratings from players, most of which have played the game hundreds of hours on record.

Looking back at the press release, though, it noted one thing about the acquisition, pertaining of course to Rocket League.

  • The PC version of Rocket League will come to the Epic Games store in late 2019. In the meantime, it will continue to be available for purchase on Steam; thereafter it will continue to be supported on Steam for all existing purchasers.

If this is to be believed, then the move shouldn’t be that big of a deal, considering that Epic itself stated that Rocket League will still receive support on Steam. I looked through Psyonix’s own press release on the matter, and found the same statement, with a direct note from the editor stating that:

  • Editor’s Note: We wanted to clarify something for you after today’s news: Rocket League is and remains available on Steam. Anyone who owns Rocket League through Steam can still play it and can look forward to continued support. Thanks!

However, the problem lies within the footnote:

  • NOTE: This transaction remains subject to customary closing conditions. Epic and Psyonix currently expect to close the acquisition near the end of May to early June 2019.

While these ‘customary closing conditions’ are still yet to be revealed, we can only speculate if Psyonix – and Epic, for that matter, since they now own the developer – will keep their promise of maintaining the game on Steam. It would be interesting how this will play out, and I’m left to wondering if we’ve heard the last from this merger.

In any case, Rocket League is still available to play on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch. It is also still available on Steam for PC until its release on the Epic Games Store, which is slated sometime this year.

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