Esports with Cars: Racing Games and Rocket League

Historically, racing games have been viewed as highly competitive games, yet they are underrepresented in the esports scene. Gamers refer to this as a comment on the skill-to-luck ratio of playing racing games, and most manufacturers still see racing games as suitable for playing in the living room, not for major competitions.
Running a good race
The Forza game series supports some competitive events, which you can learn more about on the Forza Motor Sports website. Some of the other sporadic events include titles such as Formula 1 Racing and Gran Turismo. Racing in esports is more than just a casual gaming experience. Game developers are working on games and competitions that might make racing esports relevant, but for now, that’s a far-fetched goal. Just as sports simulations in general have led to mixed results in the esports ecosystem, so have racing games finding terrain difficult, keeping their wheels spinning.
The most popular racing game is the Nintendo Switch game, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. This title has not gained traction in the esports world due to the way the game is organized. It’s meant to be a team game, and as a result, it’s totally unbalanced due to random power-ups that change player abilities during matches. The game tries to help those who are late to win, and randomly occurring power ups such as an item that increases speed or causes an opponent to crash can invalidate any individual player’s skill. Nintendo continues its attempts to popularize Mario Kart among the masses with its new mobile game, Mario Kart Tour, which you can play on iOS and Android devices. While the mobile game is unlikely to catch fire in North America, it could be gaining traction for esports in China and Korea, where there are major mobile gaming tournaments such as Clash Royale and Arena of Valor.

Only time will tell if racing games play a bigger role in the esports world, but at the moment, few organized events and tournaments focus on racing.
The only place where racing games have a strong foothold is the Formula 1 Esports Series. One of the biggest esports leagues few people know about, the F1 Esports series features an esports team for each of the 10 actual Formula 1 racing teams, and in 2020, the league is trying to expand into China. With a 2019 prize pool of $500,000, the F1 Esports Series is the place for esports players interested in racing.

Play football with cars
Perhaps the most surprising game that has seen an exponential growth in esports over the past few years is Psyonix LLC’s Rocket League. Although the game has an amazing level of strategy and depth, its description is simple. It’s football, but you’re driving. The cars hit a huge ball and tried to score goals in their net.

The game Rocket League, shown in the following figure, has grown so rapidly that in May 2019 Psyonix was acquired by Epic, the makers of Fortnite. With the strong esports scene, the main attraction of Rocket League comes from the following:

  • Psyonix went to his fans who were making grassroots effort and helped these fans grow their community and competitions.


  • Rocket League is a classic “easy to learn, hard to master” game that almost every player feels empowered to learn and take advantage of. The strategy can initially be as simple as “hit that ball with your car”.


  • Rocket League is a game that allows you to play on multiple platforms without requiring different skills or skill levels. Although you can play games like Overwatch, SMITE, and Call of Duty on PC and on consoles, these two platforms present huge differences in speed and shooting ability. However, someone who plays Rocket League on console can have the same experience as someone who plays Rocket League on PC. In fact, Rocket League is one of the few PC games in which most players choose to use a console

With Rocket League now falling under the Epic Games umbrella, supporting the game and exposure to Fortnite’s massive audience should only help as the game looks to expand and take on a bigger role in the esports scene.
Rocket League is a high-profile sports game heading into Season 9 of the Rocket League Championship Series, an event held in partnership with NBC, ESPN, ELEAGUE (on TBS TV) and DreamHack gaming event. The final season’s prize pool totaled nearly $1 million.