A Look At SMITE's Rise In eSports Gaming And Its Growing Success

SMITE, Zeus, MOBA, eSport, Hi-Rez
Featured splash art of the game’s playable character, Zeus. Since its release on the PC in 2014, SMITE has quickly become one of the most played & streamed MOBAs spanning across multiple platforms

How It All Started For Me

I have been a SMITE player since 2014 and the days of its original beta on the PC. After coming off of a long stint of League of Legends, my friends and I felt it was time to try something new and refreshing.

With SMITE, we figured we might as well give it a shot and see what this new take on the solidifying frame work for the growing MOBA scene was. With a TPS take rather than the usual top-down, full-map view, it took some getting used to but felt at home with its basic mechanics and lane controlling.

After becoming comfortable with the new format the game offered, along with the engaging and unique gameplay, we found ourselves logging in and playing almost daily. Along with the constant updates of new gods, in-game events, maps, skins, expanding to the console platforms and maintaining a free-to-play model the entire time, Hi-Rez executed their strategy perfectly for growing the game and continue to do so. With the competitive nature that comes with MOBAs, on top of finding huge success, SMITE inevitably found its way to the world of eSports and has become a staple there ever since -along with streaming services like Twitch in which it consistently finds itself in the top 20 of viewer totals.

Splash art for one of the most recently released, playable Gods in SMITE – Kuzenbo. Content updates like this continue to make the game interesting and fresh and draw players in.

The Competitive Nature

The first time I turned on a live eSports match, I was taken off guard. With announcers commentating on every single aspect, it came across as almost comical. It’s just a video game, right?

Some people still hold that same view while others take eSports and their growing popularity across the world far more serious. Long past are the days of causally inviting three friends over for an all-nighter, N64 game-fest until 2AM. Now, with competitive video games taking such a center stage in both pop culture, mainstream media and accessibility, more and more people are getting involved. Because of this, greater amounts of players are creating or joining teams with aspirations to make it into the spot light and become essentially “pro” like that of any other competitive / team sport.

SMITE’s Rise to eSports

It was in early 2015 that the first ever SMITE World Championships were hosted. With the top players around the world invited from the games launch season, and more players experiencing the game for themselves by that time, the publicity and noteworthiness of SMITE soon snowballed into where it is today. With most reviews coming out for the game around the 80-90 out of 100 mark, plus the F2P model, the game set itself up to naturally progress onwards and upwards. At this point, four Championship series having been conducted with an annual prize of around $1 million. As SMITE continues to bring in new audiences and players while maintaining fresh new content for those who have been playing since the early days in 2014, the game is looking at a “skies the limit” scenario for its own future and its eSports presence as both continue to rise.

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Beard-clad, pirate-at-heart storyteller from the Pacific Northwest.
Currently Playing: Overwatch, Zelda: Breath of the Wind, Planet Coaster, Astroneer, SMITE, World of Warcraft (Private Server)
Top 3 Favorite Games:Dragon Age: Inquisition, Fable: The Lost Chapters, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

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