It feels like someone lit a fire under the MOBA genre lately as there are so many new MOBAs being released, all trying to be the next League of Legends. I mean, who can blame them? League of Legends is the most profitable MMO in the world with over $1 billion in revenues in 2014 alone. That number is also growing, not shrinking, with 2015 expected to be another record year for Riot Games. So which games are gunning for the top dog MOBA spot this year? S2 Games’ newest MOBA Strife is one of those games.
Having just recently sold Heroes of Newerth to Garena, S2 is now fully focused on developing Strife and making it as much as a household name as League. Up until May 22, 2015, Strife had been in early access beta on Steam, but now it’s officially released. Having grown Heroes of Newerth into one of the most popular MOBAs in the world, S2 is an extremely capable MOBA operator and I suspect that Strife will grow and become a successful MOBA. It doesn’t take much to be consdiered successful in the genre either. Just reaching Smite level popularity would instantly make Strife the #3 name in the industry.
Aside from Strife, there are at least a dozen or so new MOBA games launching to grab their own piece of the MOBA pie. Several of these games launched in late map – one in particular caught my eye, Victory Command. Victory Command is a military themed battle arena game where players control multiple units. The game doesn’t have any RPG elements and feels more like a real time strategy game than a MOBA, but the core gameplay still makes it very moba-esque. I played a few rounds of it and the gameplay was unique. Having played countless generic MOBAs like Infinite Crisis (generic, but still fun) and Heroes of the Storm, I quickly appreciated the unique spin on the genre that Victory Command offered. Unfortunately, the game is still too new to gauge its success. I do hope it does well though.
Sins of a Dark Age is yet another relatively new MOBA to hit the scene in 2015. Name sound familiar? That’s because it’s made by the same company behind Sins of a Solar Empire – Ironclad Games. Odd to see a strategy game developer enter the MOBA genre, but given how much money there is to be made, it’s not too surprising. Aside from existing game developers, newer indie studios like Lightbulb Crew and Wyrmbyte are also embracing the genre. Lightbulb Crew launched Games of Glory on May 27, 2015. Games of Glory is a bit different in that it mixes shooter style gameplay with the battle arena genre. Dragons and Titans from Wyrmbyte stands out since it’s cross-platform compatible with PC (via Steam) and mobile devices through Android.
It’s interesting to see so many new MOBAs in 2015. I suspect that we’ll see some more announcements before the end of the year too. With League bringing in over a billion dollars a year, many more game developers are going to want a piece of that action.