Rocket League, the popular soccer-meets-vehicle title from Psyonix, will soon be playable on your smartphone. The Epic Games subsidiary recently announced a brand-new, free-to-play mobile version of the title called Rocket League Side Swipe, planned for both iOS and Android devices later this year. The game, currently in alpha testing on Google Play in Australia and New Zealand, is being designed with a “mobile mindset,” meaning shorter match times and fewer players – it will feature 1v1 and 2v2 matches instead of the 4v4 seen in the original Rocket League.
Rocket League has enjoyed a bit of momentum since switching to the free-to-play model last year, passing the 1 million concurrent players milestone for the first time last September. To aid monetization efforts, the company also introduced the Rocket Pass, along with cosmetic items and weekly and seasonal challenges. In July 2020, Psyonix noted that the game had passed 75 million players since its debut in 2015.
From an esports perspective, a mobile version could give the franchise an additional boost. Thanks to games like PUBG Mobile, Call of Duty Mobile, and Wild Rift, mobile esports has been surging globally (although the US trails other countries in this area). Side Swipe will be accessible for pick-up-and-play sessions, but it’s also going to offer advanced mechanics for more skilled, competitive players, Psyonix noted, which hints at its esports potential.
Psyonix did not explicitly state that Side Swipe would be played as an esport, but given that Rocket League itself has been quite popular in esports circles since 2016, it’s likely that the studio will formalize competition as the community rallies around the new game. According to Interpret’s New Media Measure®, there’s strong title, esport, and platform synergy in the US, as 85% of Rocket League esports viewers currently play mobile games. That puts it behind the aforementioned PUBG and Call of Duty, but once Side Swipe launches, we expect that 85% figure to climb.