It’s been a while since we’ve seen any dramatic changes in the viewership hierarchy of MOBAs on Twitch. At almost any given time, you’ll see that League of Legends has secured a place near the top three most watched titles. With League most likely sitting in top position, Overwatch and Dota 2 are often among the top four games with the most viewers. This past week we saw Smite sit in the highly coveted number two position on Twitch during the Smite World Championship (SWC). Smite managed to beat Overwatch, Dota 2, and Heroes of the Storm–all titles which routinely draw more viewers and attention. For a MOBA that has almost consistently been outwatched by its competition, it’s exciting to see the game bring in high viewership numbers.
Is it who you know?
The Smite community is understandably excited about this recent turn of events. Smite’s subreddit is understandably ablaze with posts congratulating Hi-Rez for their record-breaking tournament. One post that was full of praise drew attention to Coca Cola’s sponsorship of the SWC. I admit, I was a little shocked when I learned about Coca Cola’s decision to back a Smite tournament. While the beverage company has sponsored esports teams and tournaments in the past, the scope of their involvement has been primarily focused on League of Legends. This is what is so surprising about Coca Cola’s sponsorship–it’s the first time they’ve shown an interest in financially supporting Smite.
Of course, Coca Cola’s decision to support Smite isn’t the only reason why SWC was successful, but it represents a significant milestone in Smite’s development as a game. There’s a strong correlation between the sponsors that you’re able to attract and the success of your brand. With Coca Cola on board, Smite’s future as a competitive title is somewhat more secure.
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After SWC: Where do we go from here?
With SWC under their belt, Hi-Rez has a short window to capitalize on their high-profile success as a means of increasing their playerbase. It’s typical for a successful tournament to attract new players to the game. Holding on to current players, as well as attracting new ones, is a top priority for Hi-Rez.
I’ve written previously about how positive the Smite community is. Passionate and friendly players filling your servers is precisely the sort of thing that helps with player retention. Smite has the ability to become a top-tier MOBA, and the success of the SWC is an important turning point in the game’s rise as a title for both competitive and casual players.