Big Money for Skilled Victors
Burgeoning but increasingly popular MOBA: SMITE, just secured over $2 million in prize money for their World Championship competition, taking place in Atlanta, GA on Jan 9-11. A rather unique form of crowdfunding was used to obtain the money. Microtransactions were employed to buy a special “Odyssey” class of buffs and cosmetic changes typical of the free to play MOBA genre; however, profits from the Odyssey transactions were funneled into the prize pool. While exact usage statistics were unavailable, SMITE must be doing pretty well to raise such vast funds from its player-base. The developers claim it is the 3rd most played MOBA on the planet.
SMITE is a PC title released in March of 2014, and it’s not that different from most MOBAs, aside from being in third-person. It will soon claim an edge after its immanent release on Xbox One. Another defining feature is the fact that characters from SMITE depict various Gods from different cultures, offering a familiar variety for just about any region. More importantly though, gamers seem to really enjoy the title — its Metacritic user-score rests at an 8.3, notably higher than both popular competing MOBAs, DOTA2 and League of Legends.
SMITE was developed by Hi-Rez Studios, an independent developer. To commemorate this funding achievement they have released a short developer diary that highlights its evolution in both gameplay and the competitive eSports scene.
If you haven’t seen SMITE yet, here’s a gameplay trailer: