Smite Xbox One Producer Discusses Why MOBA Games Will Be Big on Consoles

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The Xbox One will soon be getting its first free-to-play multiplayer online battle arena game in the form of Smite, which launches into open beta on July 8. The game draws its cast of characters from gods, and deities from different mythologies including Greek, Egyptian, Chinese, Roman, and more. To find out more on how developer Hi-Rez Studios is adapting the game to the Xbox One audience, I chatted to producer Andy Anderson.

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GameSpot: Smite will be a free-to-play game on Xbox One. Traditionally, this genre is more known for being part of PC gaming. What do you think is stopping the free-to-play genre from getting bigger on consoles?

Anderson: It's been interesting because I think a lot of people haven't really figured that out in some ways. We've been trying to message that but I think early on, people placed a higher value even on beta keys because they think that, "Hey I'm getting access to the game for free, that normally I'd have to pay for." No, it's going to be a free game, you're just getting it early. It'll definitely be a free-to-play game which has the exact same economics that the PC has.

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I think you're starting to see [the free-to-play] shift on consoles; there are a couple of decent titles that have come out recently and done pretty well on the free-to-play market. I think we'll be next in line to help keep pushing that forward. Some of that comes from quality. I think, at least in my mind, the free-to-play games from years ago were kind of associated with smaller shot, not very deep games. Now, you've got games like Warframe or Smite that are coming on board and have a large following from PC and bring a really high-quality game, even though it's free. People will see the graphics and get excited about it. I think that will help shift the flow as you see more free-to-play games migrate to the console.

GS: Where do you think the MOBA genre and free-to-play are headed for on the Xbox One in particular?

A: I think as the first MOBA on next-generation consoles, we feel like we will translate to that very well. I think that we're introducing the MOBA genre to a whole new group of players.

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With free-to-play, I think you'll see that publishers like Microsoft are embracing it, and they're learning the best way to navigate the market. We're partnering very well with that and we're working with each other. They've been very flexible.. their processes are more geared around discs and paying for a game, and now they're adjusting some of those processes to better support a free-to-play game where you get more frequent updates of content and things like that. Basically, I think it's going to take off.

GS: Do you expect to see a wave of clones hitting Xbox One?

A: It's hard to say. I don't have the industry background to make those kind of predictions. We don't want too much competition too soon! I think you'll definitely see other confident software companies trying to come up with, "How can we compete in that market," and understanding how those economics work, and how they can make money off of that. If people can make money off of it, they're going to do it.

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GS: The MOBA community sometimes draws criticism for being quite toxic. What are you doing to curb toxic behaviour on the Xbox One version of the game?

A: We have the ability to mute. We have a feature where you can mute people with a bad reputation automatically. You just set that up and if you go on the game and someone has a bad reputation, they're muted automatically. That's a Microsoft setting, not our setting. You can mute individual players or mute all players so you don't have to deal with [voice chat] if you don't want to. It allows you to do a combination of face buttons to initiate commands for strategy in the game; like attack right lane, attack left lane, call missing right lane. So that way of communication means you usually do not have to deal with the voice interaction. I've actually been surprised at the lack of people using voice in the game so far. I hope people get over that fear, I'm guessing that's more of an Xbox systemic thing. I assume on consoles in general that people aren't using voice as much as I thought they would… I think you'll find in general that people are pretty nice, and if they're not, just mute them.

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The Smite community in general is not as toxic as others… I think people are embracing the fact that MOBA is new and people are new to this. I think they are more patient than maybe they would be if you were playing a game for two years. You may not be as patient as, "hey this is all new to everybody."

GS: There are players migrating over from the PC version who are more knowledgeable and experienced, versus people coming to the game completely new. Will there be a system in place to ensure that people get matched up correctly?

A: Absolutely. We're initiate the same matchmaking that we have for the PC side of things… we have asked people to be patient with us because it's absolutely been a challenge. You've got two things that are being factored in. One, you might be a ranked player that comes into the Xbox version but to the Xbox system you're brand new. And until you've played a certain number of games we're not really sure how great you're going to be. So you come in at the same level as someone else who's brand new, but they're truly new. To the system you're both brand new players, they don't know how good you are. The other thing we're challenged with, intentionally during the Alpha and Beta we're limiting the number of players at one time. The fewer people you have, the worse your matchmaking is going to be. Unless you want to wait a really long time for a match, you're going to have to balance the [win] rate versus how quick of a match you can get. We've already seen our matchmaking improve a lot as we got more people in the game.

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GS: Is there any friendly rivalry in the office between the team who works on the PC version of the game, and the Xbox One version of the game?

A: There's really not a rivalry. It's interesting because it's a challenge trying to get the content that's on the PC version out on the Xbox One as close as we can to the PC release. We'll probably always be three to four weeks behind the PC. Right now we're a little bit further than that because we're still developing the foundation of some of the game and features, so the content sometimes has to wait. Once we're live and we're launched, we should be about three weeks behind. There's not really a rivalry per se, I actually think more will develop over time, but it's fun. We have a good time.

Smite will be released for Xbox One as a free-to-play game this year. The game was released for PC last year, and was well-received in GameSpot's review where it scored an eight out of ten.

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Dexyu

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Edited By Dexyu

BEcause there is nothing else to play xD!!

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dogman7

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As someone who's been playing Smite on X1 religiously, I can say that it's a really good fit for the console. Can't wait for more players to hop on on the 8th!

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erostad01eb

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This genre will be huge on consoles, zero doubt. Now they just need to make it so those on different consoles can play together

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DuaneDog

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I definitely could see these times of games doing very well on consoles. Unlike WOW where you have 20+ spells you absolutely need once you are max level or RTS games where you can't control units easier with a controller... this genre I can imagine could play quite well.

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BuzzLiteBeer

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Edited By BuzzLiteBeer

What they should mention is that console MOBAs are fundamentally different from PC MOBAs. It's more of a 3rd person team action game using a controller without the possibility of true micro or viewing other parts of the map.

While MOBAs are still more viable on console than games like StarCraft, they were made to be played with keyboard/mouse.

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Quoluc

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I have been playing the beta for some time and it is fun. Hope the xbox version gets some scene in eSports.

Btw the new Squirrel god is fucking awesome. SQUIRREL POWER!!

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Cl0ud

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i think it's genius how MS is going into the moba and mmo space on xbox one. becoming more diverse in the game library is a key strategy to phil spencer

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Avatar image for deactivated-5ce97e3367e28
deactivated-5ce97e3367e28

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@Cl0ud: No strategy can save the X1 now.

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steelmouth

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The more this MOBA and multiplayer games grow the more I get alienated and left behind as gaming evolve

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Tr4newreck

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yay another industry prediction, do these people never stop themselves, or are they pressured by management to make such outrageous predictions... strategy without mouse/keyboard...gl

remember being told that mobile gaming is where the future of gaming is headed ...rofl

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fafafanta

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Played Smite for at least 200 hours. Got to max level and bought the god pack, but the community steadily got too toxic for me to even want to play the game anymore. The game's reddit page is full of people saying the same thing and until they have a real reporting system; the amount of toxic players will continue to grow.

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soulsolus

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Edited By soulsolus

@fafafanta: Well so far on the Xbox community everyone has been so awesome. My fear is that Smite grows into League or DoTA communities but even at that I still want it to grow though! it's so tough cause the toxic community is part of the MoBA fan base, however that being said, most of those people hate Smite lawl. I love this game so much, just won another 2 conquest matches even though are chips were down due to good teamwork and a sneaky maneuver loll. don't give up on Smite! They are or have implemented a system where you can simply mute shitty attituded players i believe, also you can leave em a bad rating!

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MMaestro

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"We have the ability to mute."

Muting teammates in the team-based MOBA genre. What could POSSIBLY go wrong?

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soulsolus

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@MMaestro: well if those players continue to be muted and blocked they too will also suffer. See chances are if the person is aiming to make the team lose, he's gonna do it with speech or no speech. However, if that person wants to win, they either learn to re-evaluate their attitude or eat continuous losses all the while complaining to only themselves since no one can hear them. Effectively meaning THEY (whomever is acting toxic) are responsible for the losses and what goes wrong.

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MMaestro

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Edited By MMaestro

@soulsolus: In other words: Piss off everyone you want and then make a new account because theres no way to get out of the shitho-I mean "probation" group.

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soulsolus

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@MMaestro: You could do that... if you like starting over and over again not ranking your gods up, not progressing and in the case of xbox, making new live accounts over and over... but i mean does anybody really wanna work that hard, I mean by all means people can take that approach but I doubt they'll continue playing Smite at that rate lol.

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Gravity_Slave

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Edited By Gravity_Slave

Consoles are just digging into PC territory, gotta be eating at the PC purists. Honestly, what's left to do? MMO's are already being done (for free even) I don't like MOBA's but good to see the expansion.

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Kunakai

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@Gravity_Slave: They can only go so far until MS/Sony implement mouse and keyboard controls and such. Either way, I'm sure such overlaps are good for everyone in the long run.

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virtuaSEGA

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Smite looks like a ps2 game, wow is it ugly.

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Quoluc

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@virtuasega: I presume you don't have a PS2 or an X-Box for saying such foolishness.

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AyatollaofRnR

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MOBA's have never really appealed to me, but I'll probably give Smite a go. Seems like it'll at least be accessible.

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Fallenstaph

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Well that depends, mobas like smite could work just fine with a controller and console settings, but mobas like let's say League of legends or Dota 2? Hard to say yes, because playing a game with a isometric gameplay who requires "clicking" like a RTS it's hard to deal in a console. Smite it's a 3rd person Moba so it could work surely but I see hard that a LoL or a Dota2 working great on a console just because of the controller fact and the camera, but yeah moba's could do wonders on console where casual players are a great part of the owners of the hadware itself and some mobas like lol, dota or smite are pointed to either hardcore gamers and casuals.

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Slannmage

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They'll be big if they support the Steam controller.

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SyntaxKT

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Edited By SyntaxKT

Won't trust a guy who created 2 failed fps games on the pc and releasing another one in the future. I don't care for league but the fact that riot games can create 1 successful game more than anything this company has made says something.

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Saidrex

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@syntaxkt: LOL. what? Failed fps games? Tribes Ascend is excellent game and fairly popular, requires extreme aiming speed and precision. One of the most fast paced shooters out there. Just because you Call of Duty kids don't like real shooters doesn't mean they are failures.

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NoodleFighter

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@Saidrex said:

@syntaxkt: LOL. what? Failed fps games? Tribes Ascend is excellent game and fairly popular, requires extreme aiming speed and precision. One of the most fast paced shooters out there. Just because you Call of Duty kids don't like real shooters doesn't mean they are failures.

The developers abandoned Tribes Ascend in less than a year for Smite in a desperate attempt to get that MOBA money. Global Agenda is also dead.

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joebananas89

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this game could work on consoles since its 3rd person, you dont have to navigate away the camera from the character on the minimap, or micro several charachters like say meepo ,syllabear,etc... in dota.

but stay away bec. rts/moba community is filled with cancerous assholes,kids, russians, peruvians, hue hue hue br, scum, stay away from this shit.

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deactivated-5ce97e3367e28

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@joebananas89: Haha, well put lol.

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Aragorn823

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@joebananas89: lol agree with the cancerous assholes, kids, scum.. not sure about Russians or Peruvians. Peruvians?? And no idea what you mean by 'hue hue hue'. It's been so long since I've played it though. This type of game can give people stress as if you don't do well then team-mates 'might' talk shit to you.. well the a-holes will but others might not talk at all... but not everyone is bad come to think of it..

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joebananas89

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@Aragorn823: brazilians start dota matches in all chat laughing their strange laugh "hue hue hue" then ask br? or breath like pervs in mics, i cant tell you about pinoys or russians though you have to experience to know.

thats why im done with pc online games, ive been playing platformers, fighting, racing games or any single player game for a while now,

i am currently doing research to weather buy a PlayStation 4 or Xbox one, since they are better for these type of games, havent got a console since PlayStation 2. so yeah~

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johncas89

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Not really into MOBA but hey if we can have em so bet it, variety is always a good thing

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Barighm

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Meh. Can't stand MOBAs. Hit'n'run, hit'n'run, hit'n'run...over and over and over again.

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cHeStRc0pPeRp0t

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im not really into those type of games but why not have them? more choices are always a good thing

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Wesleypipes77

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If the controls are done right, I'd be more interested in playing a MOBA with a control pad than KB & M.

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jaoman9

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Smite works because it is not a traditional moba other mobas like lol and dota would do crap on console.

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Xristophoros

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don't want 'em, don't need 'em in the console market. pc can keep 'em ;D

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DomisBatman

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Smite works because how it handles. Dota 2 and LoL would never work on consoles

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Gravity_Slave

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Edited By Gravity_Slave

@domisbatman:

That's what they said about First Person Shooters 20 years ago.

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ratchet200

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@Gravity_Slave: Yea and 20 years ago they were right.

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TashunkoSapa

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Another huge win for X1.

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soulsolus

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It's so funny, I've been playing this just recently and love it. Having tried league, I didn't like LoL. The fact that everyshot is a skillshot in this game is awesome and makes me feel 100% engaged. Just bought the Founder's pack, hope to be playing this for a long time :)

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Portlandman420

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Actually a fun game way better then league of legends or heroes of the storm and that's saying a lot since I don't like mobas

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