The prices, items & more which lead to it's decline.
It’s hard to believe the Esports shop in Rocket League is nearly a year old. But what was once the single most requested feature for Rocket League by any fan of the game, esports enthusiast or not is now something with little to no buzz surrounding it. So let us examine that despite being a year old, how the Esports Shop has remarkably stayed stagnant, and where it needs to improve.
First up, let’s look at the actual items on offer. There are multiple varieties of wheels, player banners of each partner organization, but the main attraction is the decals, and the attitude towards them is generally positive. Sure they’re not as detailed as some fan creations, and there are a couple of odd design choices, like Cloud9’s iconic sky blue being accompanied by a grey accent as opposed to the usual bright white, or the new NRG decal looking way too similar to the silver season reward decal.
But this is the caveat. The decals are only available for two battle-cars in the entire game. While the Octane & the Dominus are the two most used cars in the entire game, they are not everyone’s cup of tea, so if you want to use team decals but don’t use any of those cars, well you’re out of luck. This has especially been a complaint with the rise of the Fennec. The hot hatchback, made famous by Chasuette45 recently had 66% usage in the European Regional finals between Dignitas & Vitality, yet there’s no sign of Fennec decals. This pales in comparison to Rainbow6, which since launching with weapon skins and charms, has already added skins for their operators.
Another area where Rainbow6 trumps Rocket League in this regard is what organizations are included. This is in part down to R6’s equal treatment of a variety of regions, as opposed to Rocket League’s main focus on just NA & EU. While organization stability hasn’t been the greatest in OCE or South America, names like Renegades & Ground Zero have been around for a long time, and could greatly benefit from some revenue sharing. And finally, while not the fault of Psyonix, being unable to include football clubs like PSG Esports, FC Barcelona or AS Monaco esports is a great shame. Overall, while what’s in the shop is good, it’s just a shame there isn’t more of it. As if often the case with Rocket League Esports, more of everything would be appreciated.
The pricing of the actual items for purchase is a mixed bag. 100 credits for a player banner is totally fine, 300 for a car decal is honestly a steal. The wheels, however, clock in at 500 credits, which probably leads to less excitement about them. And then the apex wheels, the most popular reward drop in all of Rocket League is priced at 1000 credits, with painted variants coming in at over 2000 credits. That’s more than most people pay for the entire game of Rocket League it’s absurd. Of course, none of this would be a major issue if it wasn’t for the main flaw of the Esports shop; The rotation. Only six items are in the shop at any one time, with new items cycling in every 24 or 48 hours. This use of FOMO has probably made the Esports Shop a financial success for Psyonix as people will just buy what’s in front of them for fear of never seeing it again, or simply being impatient to wait for the item they desire. Unfortunately one can understand the decision of this model given the success of Fortnite, its clear Psyonix was inspired by Epic Games even before Epic’s acquisition of Psyonix nearly a year ago.
Regardless, where all the money made from sales ends up going is where the Esports Shop falls really flat. Psyonix rakes in 70% of the revenue, with 30% going to players and organisations. When CS:GO has a clean 50/50 split, you can see why this is disappointing, but it doesn’t stop there. Of the 30%, that is divided among the partnered organizations and ALL RLCS players in NA & EU, including substitutes. Now while this writer is personally fine with the occasional orgless side getting a bit of cash, substitutes in Rocket League are often needless, seldom contributing anything to their roster, so to see them paid is a bit absurd. And the cherry on top of the cake, none of the funds seemingly directly contribute to the RLCS prize pool. While Rainbow6 is selling Pro league specific items that directly crowdfund the Six Invitational, and Dota2 has its infamous compendium that makes The International break prize pool records on annual basis, Rocket League falls really far behind in this regard. Dedicated fans would pour tons of money into the Esports Shop if it made a visible contribution to the RLCS prize pool.
There are some other aspects the Esports Shop has done well, special events to celebrate World Champion winners Renault Vitality & NRG Esports, but the reality is that despite being a year old, the shop hasn’t progressed forwards at all, it’s remained stagnant while it’s equivalent in other games continues to evolve, or needn’t evolve for having nailed their systems. It is a weird system that simultaneously encourages and discourages people buying items from it The initial months of buzz and hype around it are gone, only occasionally popping back into the news when new organizations are added, but even then, by the time the Bionic Reciprocity wheels were even in the shop, the organization itself had released its Rocket League team. Here’s hoping the necessary changes will come, however, its a case of if, not when.
Image via Psyonix