Rocket League has already brought in more than $110 million
A quick thought experiment: say you're an alien from Alpha Centauri, and you ask me what Rocket League is. After settling up the basics with respect to first contact, establishing mutually intelligible forms of communication, a quick primer on the history of the human species, its physiology and psychology, and the general concept of what a videogame is, I say that Rocket League is a game of soccer, but played with a giant ball, which you ram across the field with a rocket-powered buggy.
After a brief aside to clarify what soccer is, what would you be more likely to say?
"That sounds like the best idea for a game ever"
"That could never in a million years appeal to literally anyone at all."
Well, hypothetical aliens from Alpha Centauri, you may have a sound and fairly objective viewpoint in this matter, but if you picked the second option you'd be wrong in this case: Rocket League is big leagues now, boasting 5 million copies sold and more than $110 million in revenue inside a year of release. For reference, Mass Effect 3 sold 3.5 million copies in its first year, while Super Smash Bros for Wii U moved around 4.5 million in around the same time frame. While it's not quite on the level of, say, a competitive Capcom or Blizzard game, it's still a staggering amount of attention for a game out of a relatively small and little-known studio. And much of it is due to word of mouth.
"Our numbers are actually going up, not down," Psyonix executive Jeremy Dunham said in a recent interview with Forbes. "Which is not very common for a game that's ten months old."
The 5 million copies sold combines figures from PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. It should also be noted a good chunk of Rocket League's PlayStation 4 players obtained the game for free when it was briefly available as a bonus to PlayStation Plus subscribers. Though that represents some lost sales, it would appear to have done great things for the game's install base, such that design director Corey Davis called it the "best decision we ever made."
Rocket League has already translated into some pretty significant changes for its developer, which until now has subsisted mainly on contract work from other studios. A financial success of this scale is expected to lead to more home-grown titles from Psyonix in the future, with company CEO Dave Hagewood telling GameSpot back in April that the studio has a "massive backlog" it wishes to get to.
If you missed it, be sure to check out our inside look into some of Rocket League's wild prototypes.