Cloud9 CEO, Jack Etienne, says that he wants to return to Rocket league if things get better.

21:00, 19 Jun 2020

Cloud9 left Rocket League over frustrations with how Psyonix was handling RL esports, but their CEO Jack Etienne says that he wants to return to Rocket league if things get better.

One of the biggest esports organisations in America and in the world, Cloud9, dropped their Rocket league roster and with that, departed from Rocket League as a whole. Their departure makes it painfully clear that a lot needs to change.

Cloud9's Frustrations

Even though Cloud9 did not sign the letter to Psyonix, in which many organisations stated their grievances, they seem to agree with the message of the letter. The reason why they didn’t sign the letter themselves might very well be that they were already leaving the scene, so the letter would have come too late for them. What we know for sure is that the situation was bad enough for the team to leave. Team manager, Tifa, explained why in a recent Reddit AMA on r/Cloud9:

“There were definitely some frustrations with how Psyonix was handling RL esports and the RLCS; our experience was mostly consistent with the open letter that the other teams had sent to Psyonix. Of course, there are more details that we will not speak on publicly, but it does seem that they are listening and we are hopeful and looking forward to any improvements that Psyonix will make to their esports program. At this time we do not have plans to re-enter Rocket League but it's always a possibility in the future.”

The lacking results from the long-standing roster of Torment, Gimmick and Squishy probably didn’t help their case. The last time they could really secure their place at the top was in June 2019, with a win at Dreamhack Dallas and a 3rd-4th place at the RLCS Season 7 finals. After that, they have mostly struggled to make it back to the top. Ultimately, they managed to keep their spot in the RLCS and their varying success didn’t become the reason why Cloud9 dropped the roster.

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Are Mousesports Next?

Cloud9 is just one of the businesses that have invested in a Rocket League team. Others have expressed their worries in the letter to Psyonix, but no other team has announced their departure… yet. Cloud 9 proved that it’s not just empty threats and big organisations will leave if nothing changes. Rumours about Mousesports dropping their roster could confirm that more teams follow Cloud9 and step away from Rocket League.

Mousesports’ coach, Lethamyr, left the organisation just before Lethamyr’s own Eurocup, but the team is still flying the Mouz banner. Their second-place finish in the Eurocup shows that the Mousesports roster can compete at a high level, but maybe not for long under that name.

A Hopeful Future or Wishful Thinking?

It’s clear that Psyonix’s way of dealing with the teams left a bad taste in Cloud9’s mouth. We cannot expect them to return very soon, but a return is definitely possible. The owner and CEO of Cloud9, Jack Etienne, mentions this in the Reddit thread: “If I see solid progress I'll return. I'd need to see things improve quite a bit though from what I experienced.” Jack Etienne hopes Psyonix will be able to resolve a lot of their issues, and if the reasons the left faded away, he would certainly come back to Rocket league esports: “If the developer makes a more team-friendly environment I'd return.”

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There are reasons to be hopeful. Psyonix recently partnered with many tournament organisers and community figures to set up a summer full of community tournaments. These tournaments keep the teams busy during the off-season. They can try out new rosters or stay in shape for whatever comes next. In any case, it’s a good effort from Psyonix to show that they care about the esports community. After a few of these community tournaments, it’s safe to say Psyonix have worked on their communication. They work closely together with the organisers and support them to make the events fun for the players and the fans. Their investments will not go unnoticed.

And then there’s the leaked email from Psyonix in which they unveil a whole new esports structure. The RLCS format will be replaced by an “open circuit” in which the top teams can compete. This gives teams the opportunity to get a place in the spotlights on multiple occasions, more than the current league system can do for them.

These changes may have come too late for Cloud9, but hopefully not for many other teams who shared the same frustrations. A healthy esports scene relies on the investments from team owners like Cloud9’s Jack Etienne. They have to trust investing in a team will be worth it, but that trust has been damaged. The organisations that are currently invested in Rocket League count on Psyonix to build that trust again. The stage is yours, Psyonix, show us what you got.

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