Esports Industry

Rocket League esports drama flares as orgs, fans voice concerns

A fresh batch of Rocket League esports drama has brewed up  with Psyonix facing a united push back from some of the biggest teams in the pro scene. With multiple major orgs involved and fans voicing concerns, there’s a lot to discuss. Let’s take a look at how this new Rocket League esports drama has put Psyonix on the defense.

Where did this Rocket League esports drama come from?

The RLCS community was thrown into turmoil when the Esports Observer first reported that 13 major orgs had sent a coordinated complaint to Psyonix. The listed teams came from across the North American and European scenes:

North America: eUnited, G2 Esports, NRG Esports, Pittsburgh Knights, Rogue, Spacestation Gaming, Susquehanna Soniqs

Europe: BDS Esport, Endpoint, mousesports, Renault Vitality, Team Singularity, Veloce Esports

The letter was drafted by the thirteen teams to address several issues with the developers and their handling of the league; one of the foremost issues in the report is communication, or a lack thereof.

Rocket League Esports drama erupts

The Esports Observer report details that the orgs have become displeased with the way match and league schedules have been shared with the teams. Teams were also concerned that the poor communication was limiting marketing and promotional chances for them.

“We also ask that season schedules and upcoming events be shared well in advance so as to allow us to plan and market accordingly,” the letter to Psyonix reads, according to The Esports Observer.

Fans unsure about teams’ full intentions with letter

Many RLCS fans across social media have agreed with pro teams that Psyonix needs better communication. However, the orgs’ request for more control over slots in the league has fans concerned.

As it stands right now, RLCS league spots are currently owned by the group of players that qualified for the slot. Teams can only make changes to rosters provided that the majority of the roster stays intact. This allows players to have more control over their position in the league and gives them options when it comes to negotiation with esports orgs. Based on the report by TEO, the thirteen orgs requested more control from the league over team slots.

“Ownership of the league spots resting with the teams would allow us to manage player salaries, manage our rosters, and have financial control and ownership over our investment,” the letter reportedly reads.

The statement has caused the community to worry that players in the RLCS would lose the power they have over their position in the league. The switch to franchising has fans concerned that league slots would move from player ownership into the hands of orgs. Many observers online are voicing the concern that this would nullify the 2/3 rule for rosters, and allow for swapping players and whole rosters out at whim.

Others are worried that this is a direct move to franchising for the league by teams. This was rebuked by Susquehanna Soniqs general manager Darren “Tribizzle” Moore on the pro scene’s subreddit. He stated that this was not an ask for franchising in response to a criticism of franchising for Rocket League. Furthermore, nothing in the TEO report indicated any request by the united teams for direct franchising in the league.

However, several major esports such as CS:GO and Rainbow Six Siege have recently moved away from player ownership towards org ownership for leagues. League spots owned by teams allow for more stability for esports orgs involved, but can offer uncertainty for players.

These teams may be looking to own the spots while still being open to RLRS relegation. This would avoid hard franchising that would close the league of to outside orgs, while giving teams more control over their investment into the league.

How should Psyonix react to the letter?

At this point in time, Psyonix has not publicly made a statement regarding the letter or the TEO report. They’re not obligated to discuss the situation with the general public. However, they’re obligated to ensure the orgs and players are receiving proper communication for the sake of the scene.

If the communication has become so poor to the point that a coalition of 13 major orgs feel the need to pen a letter of grievances with Psyonix, it’s clear to me that this is an issue that needs to be a top priority for Psyonix. The situation reflects poorly on the RLCS and will impact the scene if major orgs don’t feel their needs are being met and back away. Complaints of poor communication cannot be solved by further poor communication. Psyonix will need to reach out and assuage concerns made by the teams directly. It would be wise for them to do this before anything further is leaked to the pro scene’s community.

Rocket League’s pro scene has seen fantastic growth since 2016. However, that growth can’t continue if orgs feel they can’t effectively promote themselves. With the teams’ concerns now out in the open, it will be interesting to see how Psyonix responds to the Rocket League esports drama. Stay tuned to SQUAD for more as we keep you updated on the RL pro scene.

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Matthew Murray

Matthew Murray is a Canadian writer, journalist and public relations specialist. PC gamer, fan of FPS and RPGs. Follower of several esports titles including Rainbow 6, Overwatch and CS:GO. Every software or game he touches will magically have inexplicable issues somehow.
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