Rocket League, the uniquely popular vehicular soccer game, has sent shockwaves through its community with a recent announcement. The game plans to halt its in-game item trading between players in less than two months, which would be impossible if the items in question were issued as non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
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Aligning with Epic Games policies
The official statement came on October 10 via the Rocket League website, declaring that this feature will cease to exist on December 5. However, trades executed before this date will remain unaffected. The post explains:
“We’re making this change to align with Epic’s overall approach to game cosmetics and item shop policies, where items aren’t tradable, transferrable, or sellable.”
It hints at an exciting future where Rocket League vehicles might appear in other Epic Games titles, promoting cross-game ownership.
Until this announcement, players enjoyed a robust trading ecosystem. They could swap items like Bonus Gifts and free post-game drops, provided certain conditions were met. A notable stipulation required players to be at least level 30. Furthermore, post-free-to-play users had to purchase a minimum of 500 Credits (roughly $4.99/£3.99) to engage in trading.
Facing backlash from fans
The decision has not sat well with the community. One player in particular (@ItsSlumpii) took to Twitter (X) to address the CEO of Epic Games, Tim Sweeney. She passionately conveyed:
“Trading is a core feature that everyone uses and nobody asked for it to be taken away. This is very clear from the response the community has given to the announcement. For a lot of people, this was the final straw due to the lack of meaningful updates to the game in recent years.”
Online platforms like Change.org have become battlegrounds for fan protests. Multiple petitions have sprouted since the announcement, with one led by Nick Wallgren amassing over 4,500 signatures in a mere day. Wallgren didn’t mince words, labeling the removal of trading as an “absolute disgrace” and urging the Rocket League team to reevaluate their decision.
Silence currently prevails from Psyonix, the publisher of Rocket League, and Epic Games, as neither entity has publicly addressed the brewing discontent.
Rocket League NFTs
If Rocket League explored NFTs, players would always have an avenue to trade their cherished in-game items, given enough market liquidity. However, several problems are preventing Rocket League from adopting blockchain technology.
First of all, NFTs aren’t seen in a very positive light by the gaming community. Several large studios, like Square Enix and Ubisoft, have created NFT-gaming projects that were poorly received by players. Additionally, NFT technology is relatively new, making industry players hesitant to incorporate it into their games.
But perhaps the most significant factor is the lack of economic incentives. EA Games, for example, rakes in billions by selling in-game assets to players through the ultimate team game mode. Studios have no incentive to abandon their highly profitable business models, where they retain full control of the in-game assets, in favor of decentralization.
While the intersection of gaming and blockchain technology shows immense promise, we may be years away from witnessing NFTs being incorporate into games of the same magnitude as Rocket League.