Some Thoughts on MOBAs Moving to Console
I haven't had a chance to see SMITE on the XBOX One yet (click here btw to enter into the beta), but I do think that consoles are a great avenue for MOBAs like SMITE to move into. For games like League of Legends born from a PC only RTS, it's difficult to give the kind of control that you get with a keyboard and mouse - for instance, in LoL you need to be able to view the map while at the same time control and direct your character. A task unsuited for a controller.
Guardians of Middle Earth is a prime example of a game that was built from the ground up for console support, but failed to provide any quality of life improvements for players, like you know the game continuing when the host left. The critical thing to note is that it was built from the ground up for console control.
This means that if a MOBA were to attempt to make it to console, it'd need to be built from the ground up, or be a third person view like SMITE and Monday Night Combat. MNC did rather well on consoles, but learned the harsh reality of publishing content to the marketplace and pulled away to work on Super Monday Night Combat which arrived with great fanfare to the PC.
Interestingly, there isn't much in the way of MOBAs that are on console and we may never see a revolution to bring them there, but I do have a strong feeling that SMITE is going to perform very well on the consoles - maybe not as a full eSport, but as a game it should do fantastic. It's setup perfectly well to work with console controls due to the limited skills (4) and limited other abilities (easily mappable to the XBOX One controller).
I'm looking forward to trying SMITE on the XBOX One and, really, I have high hopes for it bringing more of the MMO / MOBA attitude to consoles. So far, online games (virtual worlds and MOBAs) have very little imprint on consoles, mostly dominated by shooters. Diablo III is one of the few console games that really have caught on (mostly due to it's couch co-op), but others like DUST 514 have had to follow the path of MNC and retreat back to PC due to the lack of interest and other issues plauging consoles.
Of course we all know the alternative, put your PC game on the TV with either a Steam Box (something that I don't specifically enjoy the concept of) or with an HTPC (home theatre PC) that is a little beefier than just regular HTPCs. The issue is, without the full load out of a regular gaming PC, games can quickly fall short of enjoyable. On bigger screens there is also the issue of aliasing, artifacts become very noticeable when the pixels get bigger (TVs run at a similar resolution to your monitor, except the size is much larger).
I'll be posting some hands on with SMITE on the XBOX One over the weekend from the SMITE World Championships. In the mean time, check out our contest giving away some free gems for SMITE and, also, be sure to check out eSportsPools.com and enter to win some real life cash while we wait for the championship to kick-off.
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