Hi-Rez has done several not so popular things over the past few months. These things have in so many words…cast doubt over the developers ability, or willingness to support their titles in the long run.
After all, the developer only recently shut down all of their official forums and announced no future updates for Tribes: Ascend. So naturally when it came time to discuss the future of SMITE, players were concerned over whether Hi-Rez would also close the curtain on SMITE once Global Agenda 2 -Hi-Rez’s next upcoming title- launches.
In an effort to reassure fans, Hi-Rez’s CEO Erez Goren posted a thread titled “What will Hi-Rez do with SMITE?” on the official SMITE Reddit page. In the thread Goren did something unexpected, he broke down the apparent financial failings of Global Agenda and Tribes Ascend.
According to Goren, both Global Agenda and Tribes Ascend were not profitable. Despite continued content creation, both games apparently suffered from a continued decline in user base. When it was all said and done, Global Agenda and Tribes: Ascend cost the developer close to $40 million while only seeing a return of around $10 million. A majority of the money came from Goren’s own personal funding.
SMITE on the other hand, is Hi-Rez’s golden goose, one the developer intends to keep happy and healthy. Goren recants the MOBA’s success in the post when he says:
Smite is one of those rare games that’s actually growing every month, and is also profitable. This is allowing us to grow the Smite team and deliver weekly updates and content (from 15 people initially to about 80 people now). In addition, many outside publishers were interested in Smite and we are fortunate enough to have made a deal with Tencent who is the most prestigious partner we can have for our type of game.
Given everything we know Smite should have a long and successful future which is why we are very excited as a company and continue to work our butts off to make Smite the best Moba game in the world.
So it appears as of now, all is well for SMITE; but what about Tribes: Ascend? Recently, Hi-Rez made mention of the possibility of adding mod support to the FPS, giving players the opportunity to continue development. According to the Reddit post, this is no longer an option.
Speaking specifically about Tribes: Ascend, Goren spoke about community created content stating:
Some people have asked for us to provide more tools for community content creation, but our infrastructure and development platform does not support that ability well and the cost and time to develop those features is extremely high.
Oh so this was all just off the record then? The gesture of transparency is nice to see from a developer, however it is still only a gesture. Actions are what speak louder than words and as of now Hi-Rez’s previous actions have spoken loud and clear. A good way for Hi-Rez to win back the overwhelming support of their player-base would be to use some of SMITE’s profitability to finish what was promised only a few short months ago.
What are your thoughts?