Epic buys Rocket League developer Psyonix, strongly hints it will stop selling the game on Steam

Image: Psyonix

Fortnite creator Epic Games announced today that it’s acquired the independent game development studio Psyonix, makers of the massively popular vehicular soccer game Rocket League.

As a result of the deal, Psyonix says it will have access to more resources to support Rocket League’s competitive e-sports league and, by late 2019, will bring the game to Epic’s PC storefront.

After that, it sounds like Rocket League will no longer be available on Valve’s competing Steam store, though buyers of the Steam version can continue to play their existing copy of the game indefinitely and continue to receive support, which Variety is reporting includes downloadable content, patches, and all other future content.

Here’s the bit that makes it sound like Rocket League’s days on Steam are numbered (bolding ours):

“The PC version of Rocket League will come to the Epic Games store in late 2019. In the meantime, it will continue to be available for purchase on Steam; thereafter it will continue to be supported on Steam for all existing purchasers.”

Epic’s statement is clear that there are two periods of time — the time before it comes to the Epic Store, when you can buy a copy on Steam, and the time afterwards, when the best you can expect for sure is that your existing copy will still work.

But Epic wants you to know that it hasn’t technically announced that the game will stop being sold on Steam. Not yet: “We are continuing to sell Rocket League on Steam, and have not announced plans to stop selling the game there. Rocket League remains available for new purchasers on Steam, and long-term plans will be announced in the future,” an Epic spokesperson tells The Verge.

Terms of the deal, including how much money Epic paid to acquire Psyonix, were not made public.

“We’ve been working closely with Epic since the early days of Unreal Tournament, and we’ve survived changing tides as partners, so combining forces makes sense in many ways,” Dave Hagewood, Psyonix founder and studio director, said in a statement. “The potential of what we can learn from each other and accomplish together makes us truly excited for the future.”

Epic and Psyonix have a long-standing relationship, going back to Psyonix’s founding in 2001 in Raleigh, North Carolina, a short 12-mile drive from Epic’s headquarters in nearby Cary. Over the years, Epic has worked with Psyonix to improve its Unreal Engine game development tool set, and Epic says the studio has been instrumental as a contract contributor in the creation of Unreal-based games like Unreal Tournament 2004, Gears of War, and Mass Effect 3.

“Psyonix has always been a part of the Epic family, and we’re happy to make it official,” Epic CEO Tim Sweeney said in a statement. “We have great respect for how Psyonix has built an excellent team and an incredible community around Rocket League.” Epic says it anticipates the deal closing at the end of May or in early June, pending regulatory approval.

Psyonix moved its headquarters to San Diego in 2009, and it now employs more than 130 people. In 2015, the studio released Rocket League, an evolution to its 2008 game Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars, to universal acclaim. The game now has more than 57 million registered players and has sold millions of copies. It’s also become a popular e-sport, with its Rocket League Championship Series initially funded by in-game purchases of cosmetic items and, eventually, through deals with NBC Sports Group and Turner Sports to broadcast games live on television and streaming platforms.

Psyonix has also been instrumental in helping establish cross-platform play on game consoles, with Rocket League becoming a landmark title in the industry for supporting play between Xbox One and PC and PS4 and PC. Later on, as Epic’s Fortnite began its meteoric rise thanks in part to its cross-platform features, Psyonix was one of the small handful of developers alongside Epic pushing Sony to end its policies against blocking account transfer features and cross-platform play between PS4 and competing consoles. Sony eventually relented, and Psyonix brought cross-platform Rocket League support to PS4 in January of this year.

Regardless of how beneficial the news is for Psyonix and Epic alike, Epic’s decision to acquire exclusivity on a popular title post-release may only fuel tensions in the PC market, as Epic continues to spend considerable funds to undermine Valve’s dominance in PC game distribution. In a separate blog post published earlier today, Epic revealed the first game sales figures for an Epic exclusive, saying Saber Interactive’s survival game World War Z has sold more than 320,000 copies to since its April 16th release.

Correction, 5:50 PM ET While Epic’s original statement about Rocket League’s continued existence on Steam seemed like a sure euphemism that it was getting pulled — which we stated as fact — it can also be interpreted as Epic not having yet made the decision to pull. We’ve corrected this story to explain that.

Comments

Ah once again Epic is just going to sling Fortnite Money around, and i bet you they are going to say "Look at all these games we have for sale that steam doesn’t have."

Come on epic.

Epic really acting like a whole b*tch….

How so, they said they will stop doing exclusives if steam matches their price.

Why would Steam match the price to a company that offers literally nothing of benefit for the consumer? They don’t have a mod workshop, reviews, ratings or anything else that people have come to expect from a quality storefront. As long as Steam is better than the competition the consumer will stay with them.

You miss understand, Epic provides price benefits to the developers, so the developers will put exclusives with them. If you want epic to stop adding exclusives steam needs to provide the same price benefits to the developers. They even said if steam matches the price they would put fortnight on steam. Also all those features were not on steam when it launched and will make their way to Epic in time.

*to publishers
I don’t think Epic provides price benefits to developers…

The benefits for developers are clear, they are paying 12% and not 30% and any smart business wants to pay less of a tax if they can and Epic are offering that.

I know it’s easy to paint Epic as the bad guy here but at the end of the day, they are giving developers what they want, it’s up to Valve to react to this and so far they’ve been quite poor on that, hence why more games will continue to leak from Steam to the Epic store.

I would rather all games to be on one or all store fronts but it’s clear that steam needs some competion and if Epic are successful with what they are doing, that could benefit both developers and PC gamers as it would mean more money for developers which will make the PC platform more enticing or they can pass on the savings to gamers or a mix of the two.

So as much as I don’t like what Epic is doing, I am kind of routing for them because if they keep the pressure up, it’s likely going to force Steam to lower the cut they take from developers and then we all benefit from that.

Either way, Valve are making it easy for Epic to keep taking games away from Steam, for one, a 12% cut is a incentive enough for many developers to go exclusive on the Epic store, two, Valve didn’t do themselves any favors with Indie developers by have a lower cut for triple a games that sell over 10 million which pretty much cuts out most indies games.

For me, this doesn’t really matter, it only takes a few mins to sign up a free account and install the Epic store front to play the same game on the same hardware, it’s not that big of a deal really but it could be a major boost to PC gamers if Epic forces down that standard 30% cut that the industry usage, it could be a major boom for PC gaming.

They even said if steam matches the price they would put fortnight on steam.

Doubt that would ever happen. Steam seems to have little reason (yet) to cave to Epic on that point, and Epic would have little reason to back up that claim even if they did match prices. Sounds more like PR bluster.

Not trying to knock Epic or Steam for that: just seems like a fact of the business model that they’ll both talk a big game and both not back down.

Steam store has been there for ages , while epic store was born this morning . Ofc steam will have more features.

All I take about this , is both stores needs to move now , improve their platform and complete in wooing Dev .

You can’t strong arm a company like that, the only reason they can have such low margins is because they have that ridiculous revenue still pouring into fortnite.

I don’t care, as long as it works better then steam, which shouldn’t be too hard.

That’s the thing, it doesn’t Steam has existed for years and you would think a new platform trying to "dethrone" them would have more features, but they simply dont.

So tell us, how else could they compete besides price? I don’t care about social features or reviews. So what else could Epic do to get me to buy games from their store?

In a way, this is really a symptom of Valve’s cockiness. Developers are obviously tired of it.

They could sell it on the Epic store AND the Steam store? Why does it need to be exclusive on one platform in order to "compete"?

The platform is PC. It’s a single platform. You’re buying it from a different store. What’s the problem?

Imagine defending this, lol.

I have no problem with the EGS as a concept. Another storefront offering a competing service is a great thing!

The problem is with the exclusives. I’m not going to EGS because it’s providing genuine competition, but rather because it’s the only place I can buy $someGame. It’s not a competing storefront anymore, because if I want to get Borderlands 3, I don’t have a choice. It’s EGS or nothing (for six months, anyways).

This is a false competition at this point – nobody is saying "I want to buy a game, and I like EGS more, so I’ll go to them", thus forcing Steam to improve. They’re saying "I want $someGame, which store has that?" and going there regardless of whether it’s a superior or inferior experience.

There’s nothing to defend. The outrage is based on nothing, there’s no argument to counter. It’s not exclusive. It’s sold thru 1 store. Still available on the exact same platform. You still play it on the exact same PC you always have. You are not inconvenienced. There’s also Origin, GOG, Microsoft store and the Apple App Store. At this point people are complaining because Epic is the hottest name in gaming right now and they think they’re so edgy and hip. Even your friends list will follow you from the other store people are bemoaning losing.

And I’m not saying competing on price is going to force Steam’s app to not suck. That’s independent of this. But if they choose to maintain their pricing for devs/pubs, then they almost certainly need to improve their service offering to compel them to want to pay a bigger cut.

I’m not inconvenienced by having to search through my usual store, figure out that it’s on a different store, go to that one, get it through a vastly inferior experience, then play it?

As far as I’ve seen, there’s no way to contact people on Steam through my origin social tools, so either the friends list doesn’t follow, or that functionality is hidden.

I’ve never once wanted to buy a game on steam, only to find out it’s exclusive to the MS store or GOG, aside from maybe Minecraft?

Also, EGS ISNT competing on price. There’s only one price, and it’s the price of the game wherever it’s found. It’s not that Borderlands 3 will be $45 on EGS and $60 on Steam, enticing me to EGS, it’s just only available on EGS

I sure hope you’re not a paid shill, because you’re a really bad one if you are, lol.

They are definitely competing on price. They’re both selling services to Developers and Publishers (dependent on who the publisher is). The cost charged to them to host the games and updates and provide social services is charged to them. One charges far less than the other. Not every consumer is the retail consumer, and you can even have customers that exist within the same company — services aren’t provided for free even within the walls of the same company.

Given that the services they’re providing to these customers are identical, hosting and social services… then Steam needs a way to differentiate itself to justify asking for a premium. Their program is god awful, EGS isn’t worse in any single manner. You’re just used to how bad it is. When Steam launched, everyone hated it. It hasn’t changed. The same problems exist since day 1. It’s unreliable, buggy, awkward to use. Add to this now that previously it used to mean something special to appear on Steam, but they opened the floodgates ~5 years ago to any schmuck that wanted to release a game, making discovery of good games difficult. New releases became "Popular" new releases, and you were force-fed 10 items. Then we get things nobody asks for that bulk it up… a music player buried in the options you don’t even know why it exists? Then we see they’re pouring resources into garbage like the ridiculously priced Steam Player.

But Steam has nearly 20 years of history… people will defend it because of their historical libraries. They (Valve) will be seen as something that can do no wrong. People seem to be under the notion that somehow if they need to use a different storefront, their old libraries will disappear. Gabe is their messiah, complete with ridiculous beard. No matter how many terrible decisions they make, no matter how busy and ugly that front page becomes, people will see other storefronts as a threat to their very existence… it isn’t. It’s just a different store. Game developers are seeing ballooning costs to create games. They need more cash to survive themselves, and Valve offers no services above what other stores offer to justify a higher cost to them. Of course they’re leaving in flocks. Don’t be surprised when there’s more, and demand better from Valve.

They’re not competing on price, they’re competing on commission. That’s completely different. You should learn what words mean before you use them.

They aren’t providing identical services to customers. They both have SOME identical functionality, but Steam has vastly more to the service they provide.

And you’re right, Steam was terrible when they launched it. As one of the first to the scene, they didn’t have successful models to emulate. They had to build everything from the ground up with relatively minimal funding and exposure, aside from the few games they’d sold. Epic doesn’t have these excuses.

God this is a weak troll, lol. Your arguments aren’t even good, because you’re just ignoring important differentiating facts.

What are you smoking? A commission is a service CHARGE. It’s a cost to them. They’re priced out and agreed to in a contract. Valve is selling a service to XYZ Company. They are competing on price. If my service charge is 5% and yours is 20%, guess what… we’re competing on price. That’s a cost to me. It means less comes in. I’m not going to do business with you because you offer nothing for the premium I’d have to pay.

Your arguments aren’t good, because you have no argument. It’s a store. You went to a different store and bought the same thing. You bought your milk in Target instead of Walmart. It’s still the same milk. It still fills the same glass. You still pour it over the same cereal. It requires nothing different from you to support it, your difference is only where it was obtained. There’s no material change.

"Maybe if I focus on arguing about the meaning longer, people will continue to think EGS is competing on price!!" Lol, keep reaching – you’ve got a long ways to go.

I also love that you abandoned the rest of your arguments because you realized how bad they are too, lol.

"Maybe if I get the last word, people will think I’m right!" LOL, keep reaching — you’ve got a long way to go.

They’re competing on price. The price of enterprise services provided, specifically, hosting them on their storefront. They charge less to publishers, thus, competing on price. Not the price to the retail consumer.

You’re wrong, get over it, move on to the next thing to be wrong about. Quit looking for synonyms.

Keep trying that price argument, if you repeat it enough, it might even be true!

70/30 vs 88/12. Yeah, they aren’t competing on costs at all.

Your ignorance is unmatched. Impressive.

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