Chances are, unless you’ve been under a rock, you might have heard of the success of the car soccer game, Rocket League. The spiritual sequel to Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars by Psyonix released on PS4 and PC in July this year and it sold a lot better than the modest team of ten people thought it would. In fact, the Wall Street Journal has declared it the surprise videogame hit of the year.
The outlet began to break down and reveal a lot of Psyonix’s success, along with some of their past failures. For example, “Battle-Cars” launched in 2008, and while it was well-recieved by those who played it, it wasn’t financially successful due to a severe lack of marketing and advertisement. In fact if it wasn’t for a price drop, the studio wouldn’t have come back from the loss. Also, this small studio aren’t a bunch of newcomers to the industry, they’ve actually done contract work on larger AAA projects like Mass Effect 3 and Gears of War.
But probably the biggest surprise is just how big of a hit Rocket League has become. Thanks to a smart investment of making the game free as part of Sony’s PlayStation Plus subscription service, a simultaneous release on PC, and lots of positive word of mouth by many YouTubers and Twitch streamers, the game obviously made its money back. But Rocket League was made by ten people on a budget of $2 million dollars. At time of writing, the game has amassed $50 million in revenue, an install base of over 8 million players, and lots of cheap but entertaining cosmetic DLC including the DeLorean from Back to the Future. As for how many of those units were sold as part of the PlayStation Plus deal, Psyonix weren’t at liberty to divulge exact numbers but gave a broad estimate of several million.
Now with the game finally making its way to the Xbox One next year, the future of Psyonix is looking very bright indeed.