Since its launch about a year ago, more than five million players have been smitten with Smite. Part of that comes down to it being a good game, and part of it is due to it offering the third largest prize pool in eSports history. Now, in association with Cybergamer, Australia has been brought into the fold, with a local competition leading to the World Championships.
For those not familiar, Smite is another 5v5 MOBA game, albeit with an over-the-shoulder view that puts much more emphasis on aim. It's already garnered an Australian following and our eSports establishments have been acquiring teams, the latest being Avant Gaming.
Weeks ago I spoke with co-founder of Hi-Rez, Todd Harris (for the upcoming Game Informer AU), who mentioned the process for Aussie competitive players was still being sorted out, but there would definitely be a path to the World Championships. Depending on the strength of our Smite play, it was unclear whether or not we'd have to further prove ourselves to compete on the world stage, a la Australia vs Uruguay in the World Cup.
It looks like that won't be the case. Winning the Oceanic region will guarantee a trip to Atlanta to compete with the rest of the world, as well as an as-yet-undetermined cash prize for local victory. Without anything official announced yet, Hi-Rez will almost surely use the crowdfunding model (selling skins, etc) to boost its global prize pool — a strategy that inflated last year's pool from $600k USD to $2.6 million USD.
After a combination of online ladders and LAN events starting March 30th, the finals will be held at PAX Aus in November.
For more information, head to the Cybergamer announcement.