Just when I thought the MMO genre was taking a back seat at Gamescom Hi-Rez Studios pulled out the big guns. The developers of the popular free-to-play MOBA game, SMITE, have revealed that they will be landing on Chinese shores with the support of publishing giant, Tencent.
The Tencent games portal has over 460 million registered users representing an astonishing 65% of China’s online market share. The portal only hosts 7 games but each celebrates more than a million concurrent users.
The MOBA genre is big news in China, far bigger than here in the West. Just last year Tencent reported a growth of 70% in the genre making this the perfect time to announce a collaboration with Hi-Rez Studios.
SMITE may not have the numbers to compete with League of Legends but the game is currently just outside the top 10 for the most viewed games on Twitch and just recently the developers announced the reaching of the 2 million registered
Accompanying this announcement is exciting news for both Eastern and Western audiences, an update to the Chinese Pantheon. The popular Sun Wukong will return, after his removal to make way for the Monkey King. Guan Yu, the infamous definition of over-powered melee characters, will also be getting the heavy treatment with a new selection of skins and abilities. Finally an entirely new God will be added, Zhong Kui.
The video below highlights the abilities of the new Gods and may I add, Guan Yu gets to ride a horse. I’m sold.