New King of Fighters Comi--Oh Wait, It's Another MOBA
King of Fighters is one of the oldest and most respected fighting game franchises in the world. One can safely assume any game in the vaunted franchise will at least get some attention and excitement. The question that remains for King of Fighters Online, however, is one I am getting tired of asking any game developer.
Why in the world are they making a MOBA for it?
It has seriously not been long enough since the last bizarre MOBA announcement for this to even be ironic.
Yes, I can see all the ways in which King of Fighters is technically MOBA material. It has a roster of recognizable, powerful characters. It is competitive between players. These characters are all fully capable of plausibly defeating vast numbers of nameless enemies in the interest of leveling up.
None of those acknowledgements answers why SNK Playmore's fighting franchise is getting into the MOBA scene. If they are looking for a change of pace, there are any number of ways they could jump genres. A side-scroller, even a turn-based RPG, anything but another MOBA. I love MOBA games, I really do, but we really, really do not need so many of them.
Am I the only person who is tired of seeing non-MOBA franchises making MOBA games?
This trend in developer behavior is not new, but it is one of the more complained-about behavior patterns of recent years. Look at all the modern first-person shooters we have seen come out since Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. The game was wildly successful and has spawned numerous blatant copycats trying to cash in on that very success.
It does not seem to register to most developers/publishers that most of those copycat games do not do well, financially. Many of them do well enough to make money, but nothing near what the actual Call of Duty franchise rakes in.
There are MOBAs making a ton of money right now. League of Legends, despite being free to play, is one of the most profitable games on the planet. None of that matters for a new MOBA, however. It actually matters even less for a MOBA than it does for a Call of Duty clone.
The problem is how the money is made.
The Cod-Clone shooters make their money up-front. You bought the game, they got the money. It does not matter after that point what you think of the game. MOBAs do not work that way.
MOBAs make their money over time. Players stick with them and steadily spend more money on them the longer they stay, meaning if the game does not get enough people to play the game continuously it will simply not make money.
Does King of Fighters have a sizable audience? Absolutely. Is that audience one likely to enjoy a MOBA enough to stick with it long enough to make it profitable? Not as certain.