Update: After some confusion over whether Rocket League will be removed from Steam later this year, Epic has told USGamer "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."
In a tweet, Psyonix said that "anyone who owns Rocket League through Steam can still play it and can look forward to continued support."
Hi all! We wanted to clarify something for you after today’s news: Rocket League is and remains available on Steam. Anyone who owns Rocket League through Steam can still play it and can look forward to continued support. Thanks!May 1, 2019
Original story: Epic Games is in the process of acquiring Rocket League developer Psyonix, the companies announced today.
Before any of my fellow Rocket League players panic: This doesn't mean Rocket League is leaving Steam, where its entire PC playerbase currently lives. In the short term, nothing is changing, and Rocket League is still available for purchase on Steam.
The long term picture is a little different, but still nothing to panic over right now. Rocket League will release on the Epic Store later this year, and after that, "it will continue to be supported on Steam for all existing purchasers." The wording there suggests that, at some point, newcomers to Rocket League will have to buy it through the Epic Store, but us Steam folk can stay put. (Note: As per the update above, it may actually continue to be sold on Steam indefinitely—it's not clear yet.)
If Rocket League were to cease Steam sales but continue to be supported there, I wonder how Valve would feel about that deal. Valve would continue to make money from existing Steam players who spend money within Rocket League—buying keys for the premium Rocket Passes, for instance—but it'd still be a weird situation. We'll have to wait and see how that develops.
It isn't stated in the press release, but we can also expect Epic's cross-platform friends and matchmaking system to be implemented so that Steam players can play with Epic Store players, along with all of the console players we can already play with.
In a Q&A on the Rocket League website, Psyonix states that the gameplay won't be changing—not that I'd expect it to because of the acquisition—but that the new ownership should bolster the competitive scene with new resources for esports events.
Psyonix will stay in its San Diego studio, where it currently employs 132 people. The developer has a history of working with Epic—as the press release mentions, it worked on the Gears of War and Unreal Tournament series—so perhaps this shouldn't come as a surprise. (I'm a little surprised!)
My hope for my favorite game is that Epic's resources will be used to improve the servers. When I'm partied-up in Snow Day (the best mode) with friends scattered across North America, we either end up on a west coast or east coast server—there aren't any central servers, so one player ends up with a much worse ping than the others. Fingers crossed that Epic's considerable Fortnite infrastructure can be put to use in that respect.
The deal isn't quite settled yet, but all that's left are formalities, it sounds like. "Epic and Psyonix currently expect to close the acquisition at the end of May or early June 2019, subject to customary closing conditions," reads the press release.