Early next year Hi-Rez Studios plans to close out the second season of pro competition in its MOBA Smite with a Microsoft-sponsored eSports event, the Smite World Championships, which will (for the first time ever) include a Smite Xbox One Invitational with a $150,000 prize pool.
That's notable because it will be the first time that a console MOBA tournament with a significant prize pool has been featured in a sponsored eSports event. However, it's still small change compared to the main event at the Smite World Championships, a tournament for the PC version of the MOBA with a $1 million prize pool.
Other, far more populous PC-only F2P MOBAs like League of Legends and Dota 2 have been garnering headlines for years over the size of their own yearly tournaments; last year the prize pool for Valve's The Invitational Dota 2 tournament surpassed that of the U.S. Open; this year it's expected to climb far higher, having already reached over $16.5 million.
While many MOBA-like games have come to consoles in the past few years, none have yet managed to achieve the audience, staying power and (thanks to microtransactions for new characters and cosmetic items) earning power of League of Legends and Dota 2.
Smite launched last month in beta on Xbox One, and Microsoft would seem to have a vested interest in seeing the F2P microtransaction-powered MOBA succeed on its platform.