As I sit here besides a peaceful lake, it seems like a good time to reflect on the goings on just a stone’s throw away in the Birmingham NEC. Insomnia 57 is my first gaming festival, and it's made something incredibly obvious to me:
Rocket League is huge.
For those of you who don't know my story, I started playing RL about two weeks after the release of the alpha way back in early 2014. Back then RL was barely a blip on anybody's radar. SARPBC had gone largely unnoticed, and the alpha was only known to a few who had discovered that hidden gem. Luckily for me one of my good friends loved SARPBC, and when he heard about the alpha he made sure to annoy me constantly until I tried it. I was hooked instantly.
Anyway, I'm rambling. My point is, Rocket League back then was tiny. It was played by maybe a hundred people at a time, and that was at its very peak. There was a great community on the Psyonix forums, but it was really small, and pretty much everybody in that community knew who everybody else was.
Fast forward two years to March 2016 and I'm at Insomnia, the biggest gaming festival in the UK. In a stark contrast to those days, it's safe to say that Rocket League is now one of the most popular games out there.
Wandering around the expo hall it was really hard to escape it. Sony had it, Microsoft had it, Razer had it, Asus had it. Wherever you went in the LAN hall, people were playing it. Even a charity dedicated to creating accessible technology were using it for a demonstration. At every turn, it was there. It was quite literally unavoidable.
It's been obvious for a while that Rocket League is a huge thing, but seeing it being played and loved by so many people, in person, really drove that fact home to me. Seeing 100,000 people online or 10,000 concurrent viewers for the Pro League final is incredible, don't get me wrong, but it's hard to visualise how many people that actually is. To see swarms of people of all ages making a beeline to the Rocket League demonstrations, to see a kid drag his Dad over to the Razer stand to play it, to see stupidly long queues to play it, it's just a wonderful experience, and definitely not something I could have ever foreseen back in the alpha days.
The past two years has been an incredible journey, and hopefully just the first chapter in Rocket League’s path to world domination.
Good job, Psyonix!