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Epic Bans Rocket League Item Trading, Community Calls for Boycott as Thousands Sign Petition

The Rocket League community is up in arms over a controversial decision to remove item trading.

Publisher Epic Games and developer Psyonix announced their intention to remove player-to-player trading from the popular car football game on December 5 at 4pm Pacific / 7pm Eastern / 12midnight UK, insisting the decision had to do with bringing Rocket League in-line with its wider policy around item shops.

“We’re making this change to align with Epic’s overall approach to game cosmetics and item shop policies, where items aren’t tradable, transferrable, or sellable,” a statement from the ‘Psyonix Team’ read.

“This opens up future plans for some Rocket League vehicles to come to other Epic games over time, supporting cross-game ownership.”

Psyonix said the trade-in system for core items, tournament items, and blueprints will let players continue trading duplicate or unwanted items to receive a random new item of higher rarity, and players will not lose any previously traded items when player-to-player trading is removed.

In the same announcement, Psyonix issued a warning to those who may consider using “fraudulent” third-party trading websites or servers. “After December 5, there will be no way to trade items with any player or between accounts,” Psyonix said. “Websites or servers advertising such services are fraudulent and have no connection to Psyonix or Epic Games.”

What if you lent someone an item? “These actions are not supported by Psyonix and all trades are considered final,” Psyonix said. “Our support team cannot help reverse trades.”

The statement sparked an angry backlash from the Rocket League community, with some pointing out achievements that require trading will become impossible to obtain. Epic Games came under fire across social media and in particular on the Rocket League subreddit, which is packed with threads from players expressing their dismay at the decision.

“They can’t add a metric s**t ton of items to the game and then remove player trading, what if you want something obscure?” redditor Odd-Market-2344 pointed out. “Wait for a billion years for it to show up in the item shop?”

"Just sad what this game has been through since Epic took over."

“This right here is the main reason I’m hating it, apart from almost every item from there on being multiplied in price by a factor of five, 10, 20, 50 and so on,” nik8611 added. “Absolute disgrace and what a way to piss off the majority of the community.”

“What an idiotic thing to do,” Amazing_Following452 said. “Your community is already clearly dying and instead of improving the game you go after trading. How to kill your game even more. Just sad what this game has been through since Epic took over.”

“Call me a conspiracy theorist but I'm pretty sure they're doing this to make money, not to align with Epic's policies,” EpicOweo claimed. “Without trading, outside of free drops and free Rocket Pass, there is no way to get items without buying credits. They're trying to get people to use the item shop and they're trying to force people to buy credits if they want any decent items (for building blueprints or otherwise).”

A petition on Change.org was swiftly set up, and is already well on its way to its target of 5,000 signatures. Nick Wallgren, who created the petition, said: "When I first started to play Rocket League, trading was one of my favorite things to do and what got me to play the game more. Taking it away from the player base is an absolute disgrace and the Rocket League team needs to rethink this decision immediately. Sign this to let them know to change it!!"

One Redditor created a series of posters to help get a Rocket League item shop and Rocket Pass boycott going. Some Rocket League players have even said they’re now quitting the game. “It's been a long fun road guys and gals, but it ends here for me,” theonlyepi said. “See you all in the next fun competitive game!”

The reaction to the news is fuelled by a feeling from the Rocket League community that the game has gone downhill ever since Epic bought Psyonix in May 2019. At the time, Psyonix said: "Rocket League always has been and always will be a community-driven game, and now that we have joined forces with Epic, we will be able to serve our community in even bigger and better ways!"

But players say this hasn’t proven to be the case. “The latest decision to remove trading is the last straw in what has been an absolute s**t show for the past three to four years,” didiops said. “You’ve done nothing to improve this game. You’ve made no effort to improve communication for your players and fans. You’ve removed entire sections of the community to drive profit and greed. You’ve destroyed our game.

“I hope you realise that even if you reverse this trading decision, the damage is already done. F**k you, and f**k Epic Games.”

It’s the latest in a string of negative headlines for Epic Games, which recently made sweeping layoffs that affected an eye-watering 830 staff. CEO Tim Sweeney is being criticised for Epic’s pursuit of the metaverse and costly legal battles.

Justifying the layoffs, Sweeney admitted Fortnite growth is currently “driven primarily by creator content with significant revenue sharing, and this is a lower margin business than we had when Fortnite Battle Royale took off and began funding our expansion”.

Wesley is the UK News Editor for IGN. Find him on Twitter at @wyp100. You can reach Wesley at wesley_yinpoole@ign.com or confidentially at wyp100@proton.me.

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