The popular competitive esport Rocket League has become the latest victim of review bombing, following news that developer Psyonix is being acquired by Epic Games. Concerns that the acquisition would mean the game will be pulled from Steam led to a flurry of negative reviews on the platform, before Steam’s new anti-bombing tool was deployed to stop it.
Steam reviews submitted recently dipped from “Very Positive” down to “Mixed.” That prompted Steam to implement its tool that excludes periods of “off-topic review activity” from the aggregate score. The negative reviews are still visible, and they almost universally reference the Epic acquisition, but they’re no longer counted in the average.
Concerns about the game’s exclusivity stemmed from a statement (via The Verge) that mentioned the game will be coming to the Epic Games Store later this year. It said “in the meantime” it will still be available for purchase on Steam, and that “thereafter” it will continue to be supported–reportedly through the release of patches and DLC.
That gave the impression that once it appears on the Epic Store it will be pulled from the Steam storefront, though no formal announcement has been made. The official Rocket League Twitter account issued a vague statement that stresses the game “remains available on Steam” and that current players can “look forward to continued support,” but didn’t necessarily rule out pulling it off the store at some future date.
Epic Games has made a habit of securing exclusives on its emerging Steam competitor, even recently issuing an ultimatum to Steam aimed at improving developer revenue splits. This has led to similar controversies over games like Metro Exodus and The Division 2–but in both of those cases, the switch was formally announced, rather than inferred by fans.
Though Valve has expressed its dissatisfaction with Epic’s aggressive moves against its store, it has been stopping users from review-bombing over the rivalry. This is the second high-profile case of the tool being implemented in the last month, the first being when Valve stopped the review-bombing against several past Borderlands games upon news that Borderlands 3 will be a timed exclusive on the Epic Games Store.