The Wall Street Journal has a new story today about soccer-with-cars game Rocket League, one of this year's biggest hits. Among other interesting pieces of information, the story quotes developer Psyonix as saying the game has generated nearly $50 million in revenue since it arrived in July for PC and PlayStation 4. The story also mentions the game reaching 8 million registered players, a figure that was disclosed previously.
To give that $50 million figure some context, the Wall Street Journal also reports that Psyonix spent "a little less than $2 million" over the course of two years to develop Rocket League. The team worked on the game in those years as it also did contract work on games like Mass Effect 3 and the Gears of War franchise, Psyonix chief Dave Hagewood told the publication.
Rocket League is a spiritual successor to Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars. That game was built by a team of ten people with a nonexistent marketing budget. It was released in 2008, priced at $15, but failed to gather an audience even after a price drop.
Hagewood said the people who did play Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars enjoyed it, which meant the franchise's appeal was "a problem of awareness."
The goal for Rocket League, then, was to make it widely available. As part of that effort, Rocket League was offered as a free download for PlayStation Plus members in July. Hagewood said he's prohibited from sharing how many free copies were downloaded during the month on Sony's system, but said it was "several million." Psyonix also sent out copies of the Rocket League to YouTube and Twitch personalities to build buzz around the game.
It would appear that Psyonix's efforts have paid off.
Of course, all of the $50 million doesn't go directly to Psyonix. Platform-holders get a cut, and revenue from the DeLorean downloadable content (DLC) is split between Psyonix and Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment. In addition, the game's production budget has likely expanded, given the team continues to support the game with more DLC and an upcoming Xbox One version. But Rocket League is assuredly a success story (it was also recognized at The Game Awards this month), and it'll be interesting to see where it goes from here.
We're likely to see even more car DLC based on famous vehicles. One possibility is KITT from "Knight Rider", Universal's Bill Kispert told WSJ.
Where would you like to see Rocket League go next? Let us know in the comments below!