Psyonix must have had an faint suspicion that a game about playing football in a car would attract an audience, but the sheer size of Rocket League’s audience took everyone by surprise at launch, it seems. VP of Marketing & Communications Jeremy Dunham tells PCGamesN that the team had to “completely rewrite our networking code” to support the 180,000+ players flocking to their servers.
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Only two games currently have more than 180,000 players at daily peak on Steam – Dota 2 and CS:GO. Team Fortress 2 is third with 67,000. Those numbers provide the context for quite how explosive Rocket League’s early success was.
“We had to have people ‘on-call’ all day and all night the first week of release to handle the fact that our servers kept going down for multiplayer and that demand was not decreasing at all,” Dunham tells us.
“We had to completely rewrite our networking code to keep up with the huge number of simultaneous players – 180,000+ at our peak.”
During the first 24 hours, many players simply couldn’t get onto a server to see what all the bonnet-to-ball fuss was about. By no means did that initial negative experience impact Rocket League’s long-term audience, though, and perhaps Psyonix’s subsequent gesture helped smooth things out: “we also decided to give our players some free in-game items as an apology for the outages.”
After the first week or so, Dunham continues, the team “managed to get into a routine where we could go to sleep again, and from that point forward, we started solidifying our plans to support the game the best we could.”
That support has yielded a sizeable amount of free DLC, and an upcoming update which includes ‘mutators’ – explosive balls and moon gravity are just around the corner.