One of biggest studios in the multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) space is now establishing itself as a force in the shooter category.
Paladins, a team-based shooter with fantasy elements (that competes with games like Overwatch), has reached 5 million players worldwide, according to developer Hi-Rez Studios. That’s the same team responsible for Smite, which is in a fight for the No. 3 most-played MOBA after League of Legends and Dota 2. Paladins debuted on the PC gaming portal Steam in August, and it regularly lands among the top 20 most-played games on that platform. That makes it well positioned to take advantage of microtransaction spending in the $99.6 billion global gaming industry. Hi-Rez still has Paladins in a testing phase, and it will likely enter its full release at some point in 2017.
“The early success of Paladins is a result of a passionate community that helped us through months of closed-beta testing,” Hi-Rez chief operating officer Todd Harris said in a statement. “It is great to see such a strong early response, and what we have now is only the beginning as the dev team is releasing a significant new update every two weeks”.
Those updates are one way that Hi-Rez is keeping players engaged and coming back regularly to the game. Another way the studio is enticing fans is with a growing esports scene.
Beginning January 5, Hi-Rez will hold the eight-team Paladins Invitational Tournament in Atlanta. Those squads from around the Earth will compete over $150,000 in prize money. Every match will stream live from the developer’s Expo set to the game’s official Twitch channel.