The MOBA Report: Dead by Battle Royale
The time has come, MOBAs are not the most hot thing right now. The Battle Royale scene is the one growing and making money.
From RTS, to MOBAs, to a glimpse of FPS again and now to BR genre. PUBG gained enough track to prove there is a public for this kind of game mode, and money to be made. Fast forward some months, and you will see that nearly one third of the gamers play a Battle Royale game.
Don’t get me wrong, MOBAs are not going anywhere, but grow is now minimal compared to Battle Royale games. Mainly, PUBG and Fortnite, the latter being the clear winner in the past months thanks to quick deployment and smart marketing by Epic Games — add to that Fortnite is FREE. I mean, the pulled out Thanos recently from to the 4th most grossing movie of all time… it should have cost Tim a lot of v-bucks.
What has been made clear nowadays with the introduction of Dota Plus, and some new “Clash” mode for League of Legends to retain players, is that the player base isn’t growing, so the next business action is simple: milk the existing player base, retain them with new features and keep their investment on the game while it lasts.
There is a good analysis on Reddit about how business decisions affect the game life cycle and vice versa, by an ex-F2P product manager.
Heroes are not the way to go, anymore
It’s a shame, really, because there were good games that tried a spin on the MOBA genre, like Master X Master, or Gigantic, but the spotlight now is on Battle Royale games. Making a MOBA game in any form or shape this year onward is a suicide mission.
Let’s be clear. Doing a MOBA right now doesn’t guarantee a player base, due to the difficult learning curve and less attention by the media. A competitive FPS game means to compete (no pun intended) with Overwatch and the likes, and a Battle Royale one with PUBG (paid) and Fortnite (free). If I was in charge of any kind of small-to-medium studio developing a MOBA or Battle Royale game, I would shut down it down like Cliffy B did recently. The genre quickly became something only AAA publishers can opt to compete (Activision) with some kind of positive revenue.
Apart from that, the MOBA genre takes big investment in time to understand and play. Something that the likes of Fortnite and PUBG, and Call of Duty Black Ops 4’s “Blackout” mode on October, doesn’t suffer from.
Just a minor note here. You can see that Black Ops 4 won’t be coming in the last days of November, but the very second week of October. Activision knows the sooner it’s out, the better for their bank accounts. Scraping the single-player campaign surely cut some time and costs out of development.
So, for now on, there will no more The MOBA Report. The genre has become stagnant and doesn’t allow more competition, and I fully expect that lesser projects die in this year like I reported before. Apart from that, Epic Games just made Fortnite the king in just a matter of months. Activision wants their slice of the cake too. The fight is going there.
May be I would do a The Battle Royale Report in the next months.