The latest X-treme sport joining the ranks of the X Games is, conceptually, the most extreme. Soccer… in cars? It’d be harder to argue that Rocket League didn’t belong in the X Games. Rocket League will receive an X Games tie-in starting tomorrow, January 21. Also, Rocket League will be an official X Games event this year.
Going For Gold in the RLCS X Games: North American Regional
This year’s X Games Aspen 2021 will be taking place the last weekend of January, from the 29 to the 31. The Rocket League Championship Series (RLCS) will be part of this year’s X Games, with additional games played this weekend (January 23 and 24) as well as next. The event will be part of the RLCS X circuit; however, the winning team will still earn X Games medals.
Special X Games items will be available in-game, as well. Winter-themed cars will be available in the Rocket League shop. Fan Rewards, like the X-Board Topper, will drop for RLCS X Games as well.
Bringing Competitive Gaming to the World Stage
This is the first opportunity for Rocket League players to earn a gold medal, technically. It’s hardly the game’s first brush with high-level sports competition. Rocket League would have been part of last year’s Tokyo 2020 Olympics alongside Capcom’s flagship fighting game Street Fighter V. However, the event, called the Intel World Open, was postponed with the Tokyo Olympics. The original plan was for the Intel World Open to lead directly up to the start of the Tokyo Olympics. As of this writing, according to the event’s webpage, the Intel World Open is still “postponed until .” There have been no updates for the event or its qualifiers.
The X Games tie-in reflects the slow combination of Sports and eSports, which has only been accelerated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Faced with unsafe conditions, sports have opted to use sounds from their video game counterparts rather than endanger crowds. Last December, FIBA hosted its second global NBA 2K tournament. This year, the NFL is opting to host it’s yearly Pro Bowl event in Madden 21 rather than in person. There’s little reason to believe the integration of real sport and electronic sport won’t continue as larger events showcase competitive gaming as a legitimate form of competition.
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