MultiVersus Shows Promise of Becoming a Competitive Esport

Abhimannu Das
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MultiVersus Season 1 is expected to go live later this month.
Player First Games has optimized the game's netcode to minimize input lag and the studio is already focused on the game's esports circuit.
The first major MultiVersus event is set to take place at EVO 2022 with a prize pool of $100,000 USD on the line.

MultiVersus is a new fighting game by Player First Games and Warner Bros that is set to release soon. Season 1 was supposed to drop in the second week of August but it has been slightly delayed and players will be getting their hands on the title soon. The game is currently in Open Beta on platforms and feedback has been positive from players. But can the game become a competitive esport?

Decoding the Multiverse Hype

MultiVersus has gained a lot of attention because of its incredible cast of characters that have been added from comics, movies, TV shows spanning several generations. Almost everyone can identify and connect to at least some of the characters in the game. From Batman to LeBron James, the cast of characters is already crazy and it can only get bigger.

The game has already crossed an estimated 5 million players and it isn’t even out yet. Fighting games are nowhere near as popular as shooters and MOBAs on PC and yet the game comfortably finds its place among the top 10 games on Steam before an official release.

A lot of gamers dismissed the game as a “Smash Bros clone” and it honestly feels like a shallow statement to make. While Smash Bros is a fantastic fighting game that has generations of fans behind it, it is playable on just the Nintendo Switch at the moment. MultiVersus on the other hand brings a similar experience with an equally impressive cast of characters to PC, Xbox, and PlayStation. The game is available on older-gen consoles and the hardware requirements on PC are not too demanding, making it significantly more accessible than Smash Bros.

MultiVersus is geared to become a competitive esport

Fighting games in general do not share the same amount of mass appeal as other genres when it comes to esports. While the fighting game community (FGC) lives and breathes titles like Street Fighter, Tekken and Mortal Kombat, the popularity of the titles is mostly restricted to Japan and the United States.

MultiVersus might be able to introduce millions of players to the world of competitive fighting games if it gets its esports strategy right. The game has already taken great measures to make the gameplay experience as competitive as possible. Upon testing, it was discovered that MultiVersus has just 2ms input lag (on PS5) compared to 4-6ms being the standard in other fighting games that are created on the same engine. This is a huge technical achievement as fighting games boil down to split-second decision-making and perfect reactions.

One of the biggest challenges of games that feature dozens of playable characters is maintaining the power balance. Player First is actively keeping outliers in the game’s meta in check and has already issued numerous balance changes in the past few weeks.

MultiVersus is one of the titles at EVO 2022 and some of the best fighting game players including Dominique "SonicFox" McLean and James "VoiD" Makekau-Tyson are participating in the event. EVO has seen a ton of new titles being added in recent years including King of Fighters XV and Melty Blood: Type Lumina but they do not share the same mass appeal that Multiversus’ colorful cast of characters brings to the table.

Only time will tell if MultiVersus lands on its feet or falls flat on the ground as a competitive esport. But as it stands, Warner Bros and Player First Games are looking to make MultiVersus a success and they so far seem to have taken the right steps to make it succeed.

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Abhimannu is a PC esports writer at AFK Gaming. With over seven years of experience in esports journalism, he has worked on a myriad of games and their ecosystems including Valorant, Overwatch and Apex Legends.

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