On April 7th, 2021, Psyonix unveiled its Season 3 update. Over the past six years, the car-oriented soccer game has captivated a global audience and established itself as one of the leading eSports titles. The game’s developers are continually striving to bring new content to players to stay relevant. Thus far, the strategy has served them well. Since going free-to-play in the summer of 2020, Psyonix has favored a season-based approach to gameplay, and this is unlikely to change in the near future. So, what’s different with Season 3?
Using Additional Content to Attract New Users
Despite its name, Season 3 is, in fact, the seventeenth competitive campaign in Rocket League. However, it is only the third in the free-to-play era. Much like those before it, Season 3 will adopt an incentivized approach to gameplay. According to APP Trigger, the April update will last for around four months, and players will face new season challenges. Completing these objectives will unlock different banners, blueprints, player anthems, titles, and XP. Not only that, but the title’s Rocket Pass feature will also bring over 70 tiers of new items to the much-loved vehicular game. Additionally, F1 and NASCAR content will arrive in May, with a new track and two updated vehicles set for release.
In many ways, Rocket League’s in-game approach to user rewards is somewhat similar to the online casino industry’s player retention strategies. Many platforms use free spin bonuses to encourage involvement and incentivize repeat participation. In the Bonus.net.nz article: what is free spins?, no deposit free spins are labeled as the most popular type of casino promotion. At top-rated platforms, such as Lucky Days and Skycity, players receive free spins for selected titles upon signing up to play. By comparison, Rocket League awards players with a selection of free cars, which help unlock further prizes via the Rocket Pass feature.
Has the Free-to-Play Approach proved Beneficial?
Unsurprisingly, SteamCharts.com shows an increase in gamers on Rocket League. In August 2020, the final month of Rocket League being a pay-to-play game, the Psyonix development amassed 70,357 players. The following month, after the title become free-to-play, 146,902 gamers played the much-loved creation. In Rocket League’s history, this figure set the record regarding the title’s all-time peak. From this, few can argue that the car-based soccer game hasn’t benefited from transitioning to the free-to-play market.
Start your engines! Season 3 hits the starting line on April 7. Get ready to celebrate the art of racing, featuring DFH Stadium, plus new cars, items, Challenges and more. Plus, @NASCAR and @F1 will also be speeding onto the track in May!
— Rocket League (@RocketLeague) March 27, 2021
Following the decision in the summer of 2020, Psyonix took something of a risk. Although making Rocket League free-to-play opened the door to new users, in doing so, the title was delisted from Steam, according to ArsTechnica.com. As a market-leading distributor, it’s currently unclear if branching out from Stream will prove beneficial to Rocket League or whether such a decision will impact that title’s long-term ability to attract new PC gamers.
Will Season 3 Help Rocket League Grow?
Upon its release, Season 3 will bring a whole host of new opportunities to the six-year-old title. On the face of it, embracing F1 and NASCAR looks to be something of a masterstroke. The open-wheel racing category has an audience base of 1.5 billion people, while NASCAR’s peak viewership stood at 9.17 million in 2019, according to Statista. By targeting racing fans with new downloadable content, there’s scope to further the title’s audience base by enticing a new demographic.