Hi-Rez Studios' SMITE Brings 3rd Largest Prize Pool in eSports to SMITE World Championship.
Day One has wrapped here in Atlanta for Hi-Rez Studios' SMITE World Championship, which has eight teams from across the globe competing for 2.6 million dollars. A tournament's prize pool has become a bit of a bragging right across the various eSport circuits, with some companies, Hi-Rez included, turning to community events to further bolster the pot. For SMITE, the community set out on the Odyssey to unlock in-game items which directly fueled the World Championship from the $600,000 initially put forward by Hi-Rez to the ~$2.6 million - making it the 3rd largest in eSports history.
Eight teams qualifying in regional championship events in North America, Europe, China, and South America are battling it out here to see who's best - it doesn't hurt that the winner's trophy isn't some fancy looking chalice but instead Thor's Hammer itself. In Day One, it was a double elimination bracket for placement into Day Two. Each match was played to a best of one, so there was not a lot of room for error. While there were some exciting matches played, nothing too unexpected happened. Coming into this event the North American and European teams are the heavy favorites seeing as they've had more time with the game thus far.
In addition to the tournament, Hi-Rez Studios also had some announcements and reveals during Day One. Today was the unveiling of a playable version of SMITE on Xbox One. As a third-person more action heavy MOBA, SMITE stands to make the jump to consoles that other games simply couldn't manage. It will be interesting to see the impact they have on what's largely an untapped market for MOBAs. I'll have a more detailed write up on the Xbox One version coming soon. Beta sign ups have already begun. The other announcement was a preview of things to come in Season 2, with the big reveal being the redone Conquest map. The new map will feature some major visual changes along with a number of gameplay updates.
Two teams are headed home, but tomorrow the remaining six will battle it out to see who progress to the finals and who ends up fighting for 3rd and 4th - which is still the difference of upwards of $100,000.