Rocket League, one of the surprise best games of 2015, has ascended to heights previously unheard of for most indie titles. Psyonix’s bizarre mix of traditional sports and futuristic bumper cars has struck a chord with gamers all over the world, and the game’s popularity has catapulted it onto the competitive multiplayer scene as well, with thousands of viewers tuning in to Rocket League tournaments taking place on Twitch.tv. Unikrn, an online platform that allows users to bet real money on competitive gaming, has taken notice, and released a statement yesterday that Rocket League will be joining its roster of games that Unikrn users can gamble on.
Unikrn, which has offices located in Seattle, Berlin, and Sydney, announced that Rocket League betting would be available in Australia in time for Season 3 of the Rocket League Championship Series, and that the website would also be offering odds on the World Championship in June. Psyonix, however, responded quickly, suggesting that the developer was not pleased with the fact that fans would soon be able to win or lose real money on its game. Psyonix VP of Publishing Jeremy Dunham stated:
“Psyonix is not affiliated with Unikrn, nor do we support or endorse online betting for our game.”
It makes sense for Psyonix to want to distance itself from Unikrn’s betting service, given how competitive video game betting has been received recently. Valve’s inability to reign in illegal betting on CS:GO tournaments, for instance, has put the practice in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons, and Psyonix likely doesn’t want the developer’s biggest title under the same scrutiny in the future.
To its credit, Unikrn responded to the statement from Psyonix in a very professional manner. Unikrn CEO Rahul Sood stated in an interview with GameSpot that:
“We are not in any way associated with the publishers of Rocket League. However, we love the game, and like other titles in our sportsbook, we create odds and content on the pro matches and their top tier tournaments.”
The confidence in Sood’s statement seems to indicate that Unikrn is confident Psyonix can’t force the betting website to stop offering odds on Rocket League, so it appears that Unikrn’s expansion will be moving forward as planned. It’s certainly not a lucrative proposition to ignore Psyonix’s title for sites like Unikrn – Rocket League was the most downloaded PS4 game in 2016, and continues to be one of the most popular games on online streaming services.
Rocket League is available now for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.