Console games have had to deal with paywalls for online gaming for a very long time. Consoles have had online gaming for some time, and the launch of services like Xbox Live cemented the idea into the modern era. The newest consoles have evolved into a much more complex ecosystem and it resulted in a much more interesting online gameplay ecosystem too.
This has also helped the explosive popularity of online games like Rocket League to grow to new heights. Although before that particular game went free-to-play, there were some gamers angered by the idea of having to pay for online play, so it looks like Psyonix has reversed course on that at least. So now, Psyonix has fully committed to free-to-play as a model and will allow some free access to content and online play.
Which platforms don’t need an online subscription?
According to a blog post on Rocket League’s site, the plan seems to be that online play is being unlocked a bit as the game moves into a free-to-play mode. The shift has made it a much more accessible game, but things are a bit different. As of late September, PlayStation Plus and Nintendo Switch Online “will no longer be required for online play” for PS4 or Switch. This didn’t used to be the case. You used to have to pay for access to the online features and DLC released for the game, good on Psyonix for making it easier.
There is one downside for some gamers though, you will need Xbox Live to unlock these features on the Xbox One, at least for online play. All of the cosmetics and other content can be unlocked by playing the game.
Will I receive something for buying the game already?
For those gamers that bought into the game before all of this changed, you will be getting some support. Psyonix will be rewarding you with a handful of free DLC, along with an “Est. 20XX” flag if you bought into the game already. You will see those items show up in your account at some point in the future. Unfortunately, those on Xbox won’t be getting the same level of treatment. It seems that Microsoft has locked down their paid structure and hasn’t negotiated with Psyonix to offset the server costs. At least Nintendo and Sony have though.
And yes, if you’re moving over to the next-gen consoles, there’s a very strong chance that Rocket League will make the jump too. The developer will allow gamers to get access to all of the previously unlocked content regardless of platform, provided they link their accounts to the new console. So if you’re moving over to PS5 or XBSX, you have the option of taking your cosmetics with you.
So while it does stink to do the work of transfering, it will be nice to keep playing.