Rocket League transitioned to a completely free-to-play game on all platforms in September 2021. This opened up the insanely fun soccer with cars game to an even wider audience of new players.
The Journey to Free Rocket League
Back when I first discovered Rocket League in 2016, it was only available as a paid game. Psyonix originally released it in 2015 for $20 on PlayStation 4 and PC, according to the official press release.
In the beginning, Rocket League‘s player base started off small but dedicated. Psyonix reported around 125,000 daily active players in 2015 across PS4 and Steam, based on third-party estimates.
The game grew steadily as it expanded to Xbox One and Nintendo Switch over the next few years. Fast forward to 2020, and Rocket League had sold over 75 million copies worldwide according to Psyonix.
Monthly active players peaked at over 90 million in 2021 according to Tracker Network. The table below shows the player count growth Rocket League saw in its first 5 years as a premium title:
|Average Monthly Players
But Psyonix realized that switching to a free-to-play model could bring in even more new players. So in September 2021, Rocket League officially went free across all platforms.
Playing Rocket League for Free on Each Platform
The free-to-play update made it possible to download and play Rocket League 100% free on these platforms:
Both PS4 and PS5 owners can now grab Rocket League from the PlayStation Store without paying anything. This is a big change from when a PS Plus subscription was required.
On Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S, Rocket League is now free in the Microsoft Store. No Xbox Live Gold required either.
Switch owners can download Rocket League for free from the Nintendo eShop without needing a Nintendo Switch Online membership. This is just like other F2P games now.
Rocket League left Steam and moved to the Epic Games Store on PC. Downloading it from EGS is completely free. But existing Steam owners like my buddy Evan can still play it there.
Having RL free across all these platforms helped rocket the player base even higher. According to data trackers, monthly active users now exceed 200 million as of 2022!
What Game Modes are Free?
Virtually all of Rocket League‘s gameplay offerings are now entirely free including:
- Online Play – Compete in all Online Playlists against others
- Casual Playlists – Quickly hop into matches like Rumble
- Competitive Playlists – Rank up your skills in 3v3, 2v2 or 1v1
- Limited Time Modes – Enjoy special modes like Heatseeker for a limited period
- Custom Matches – Tailor rules and play locally or online with friends
- Split Screen – Up to 4 players on one shared screen with controllers
- Solo Play – Practice shots and strategy against bots
- Training Packs – Repeat drills to polish car control and mechanics
Psyonix held nothing back in ensuring the free version gives players the full experience whether online or offline. The only limitations are on cosmetic items.
Monetizing Free Rocket League
With the base game now free, how does Psyonix make money? Cosmetic items and level boosts is the answer.
The main monetization avenues are:
- Rocket Pass – $9.99 premium subscription for 70+ tiers of cosmetic item rewards
- Item Shop – Features various cosmetic bundles costing 700-1400 Credits
- Blueprints – Craft specific items like car bodies for 600-2000 Credits
- Esports Shop – Purchase decals and wheels to support pro teams
Here‘s a quick breakdown of how Credits are priced:
These Credits let you fast track getting the cosmetic item you want instead of waiting for it in a random drop. But they don‘t offer any gameplay boosts.
New Player Progression
As a new player myself last year, I found so much to work towards including:
- Online Ranks – Unlock new ranks in each competitive playlist by winning matches
- Rocket Pass – Earn XP and level up for cosmetic drops every 12 tiers
- Challenges – Weekly and seasonal challenges reward XP for progression
- Tournaments – Scheduled competitions with prizes for finishing top of the bracket
- Events – Limited time events like Frosty Fest offer unique unlockable items
- Collecting – Obtain painted and certified items through normal play
The core loop of competing online, improving your skills, and climbing the ranks remains fully intact. Cosmetics are just the icing on top.
Tips for New Players
Starting Rocket League as a newbie can feel intimidating. Here are some tips from my experience:
- Complete the basic tutorial and rookie training packs – essential for control.
- Play against bots to get comfortable before going online.
- Focus more on defense and positioning than fancy shots at first.
- Try out all extra modes for fun – Rumble, Dropshot, Hoops, etc.
- Tweak camera settings like FOV and distance to see more.
- Hop into casual playlists instead of ranked if going alone.
- Don‘t worry too much about rank right away – enjoying the game itself is priority #1.
- Watch gameplay from pros like SquishyMuffinz to learn positioning and mechanics.
Mastering advanced techniques like air dribbles will come later. Start by nailing down solid contact, rotation and defense.
The Bottom Line
Rocket League going free-to-play opened up the joy of soccer with cars to millions more players. Anyone can now download on their platform of choice and compete online across all modes without paying a cent.
The only limitations are on cosmetic unlocks – the complete gameplay experience is free whether online or off. After following Rocket League‘s journey since the early days, seeing it reach this level of accessibility and consistent updates has been amazing.
So what are you waiting for? Go live out your sports car soccer dreams today for free! Let me know once you start getting some sick goal replays.