Self described “Leading publisher in the world,” Tencent, has announced its financial backing of Smite, a MOBA with a different take on the genre, combining fixed viewpoints with a third person perspective. This might not sound like the smartest move, considering how saturated the MOBA market is becoming, but it did this in the early days with Riot Games and its League of Legends and look how well that turned out.
Tencent, isn’t going to be doing much in North America or Europe however, taking over publishing duties for the game in all other territories, while leaving developer Hi-Rez to handle the publishing in those two Western territories. This might seem like we’re being shunned, but Tencent is focusing on its strengths. It apparently already controls 64 per cent of China’s online market, with almost half a billion active users playing its games last year.
“Smite is a totally new type of MOBA with some traditional mechanics, but also providing different modes of battle and gameplay,” said Tencent vice president Steven Ma in a statement (via Venturebeat). It’s popular too, having generated over two million account registrations in the past year and is one of the top 15 most viewed games on Twitch.Tv in the past month.
Hi-Rez has a history of producing critically acclaimed games too, being the company behind Tribes: Ascend and the slightly less well received Global Agenda. It’s also invested heavily in developing a free to play platform and believes there’s more than enough room for another MOBA on the scene.
“We believe the MOBA category will be a genre that can support multiple games. We want to grow the market by adding an action element,” said CEO at Hi-Rez, Todd Harris. He won’t be the only one hoping that though, as Infinite Crisis is another competitor in the genre that is gaining a bit of traction.
KitGuru Says: Smite looks like it’ll be different enough to offer something other MOBAs can’t. It also has the potential of drawing in players of other genres, like FPS and third person shooters. League of Legends and DotA 2, with their fifth person perspective are much more likely to attract RTS and RPG gamers, because of their familiarity with the control system and vantage point.