MultiVersus could overtake Smash Bros if Nintendo’s fighter doesn’t go free to play

Andrew Highton
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and MultiVersus cover art

Warner Bros. platform fighter MultiVersus looks to be a surefire winner, and the rival to Nintendo’s Smash Bros. franchise may force the Japanese company’s hand if it wants to stay competitive.

From the second it was announced, MultiVersus was immediately placed under the microscope as fans of the fighting genre knew what it was attempting to imitate, and it also wasn’t the first game to try and replicate it.

Since its 1998 debut, the Super Smash Bros. franchise has dominated the platform fighting game market, battling off plucky hopefuls such as PlayStation All-Star Battle Royale, Brawlhalla, and most recently Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl.

To this day, Smash Bros. stands tall and reigns supreme, although its superiority could be about to be tested as a new challenger has entered the game — step forward MultiVersus.

MultiVersus’ free-to-play model is a winner

The gaming landscape has shifted considerably in the last few years with free-to-play titles such as Fortnite and Apex Legends offering players the chance to play premium, polished, AAA games at no cost.

On the other hand, Smash Bros. remains a full-price game that churns out DLC characters and costumes as Nintendo is understandably trying to make as much money as it can from its profitable cash cow.

The difference is that MultiVersus’ new characters can be acquired through natural gameplay, although slower unlock progression will make the process of buying characters more appealing.

In Smash Bros., there is no other option, you have to buy new characters with real money, and the more accessible approach is certainly provided by its new rival.

bugs bunny talking to arya stark in multiversus
MultiVersus offers up some truly intriguing matches.

Free-to-play is as viable as it’s ever been and Warner Bros. has taken the smart decision to go down the live service road of continual updates and new Season Passes. Why? Because they have an ungodly amount of recognizable game, movie, and TV licenses.

Hollywood’s elite could expelliarmus Smash Bros.

While Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. games – in particular Ultimate – bring together a star-studded roster of undisputed gaming greats, MultiVersus’ roster can be a lot more diverse and offer up some of the most ridiculous battles possible.

In what other universe is LeBron James going to go toe-to-toe with Tom & Jerry in an outrageous battle of wits and wackiness? Or Batman becoming embroiled in a battle of fisticuffs with Velma to see who’s the world’s greatest detective?

MultiVersus simply has more mainstream appeal than Smash Bros. could ever hope to achieve, especially as it features a plethora of almost mythical fantasy match-ups.

We’ve barely scratched the surface of the title’s current roster and we already have the hit duo Rick and Morty still to come, Black Adam and Stripe from Gremlins are on the way, and rumors are rampant that The Lord of the Rings, The Matrix, and a bunch of anime characters could be bound for MultiVersus too.

Not only that, but when you consider that Warner Bros. also own Harry Potter, Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, The Flintstones, and King Kong and Godzilla, then it becomes a mouthwatering prospect.

Will Nintendo change its ways to beat MultiVersus?

Whether it’s for the Nintendo Switch 2 or maybe even this generation’s console, it seems inevitable that Nintendo will eventually drop a follow-up to the mega-successful Super Smash Brothers Ultimate.

sora and mario shaking hands in super smash bros ultimate
Will the new Smash Bros. game go free-to-play? Or will Nintendo stick with what they know best?

Ultimate has sold around 30 million copies, making it one of the highest-selling games of all time, and it still retains a fervently loyal fanbase that will follow it no matter what, but MultiVersus is definitely turning a head or two.

One of the many reasons that MultiVersus is already doing so well and keeping players happy is the constant back-and-forth communication between the devs and those engaging with the product.

Co-founder of Player First Games and Game Director for MultiVersus, Tony Huynh, seemingly lives on Twitter as he spends a great deal of time interacting with users and answering questions about the game.

He duly obliges and keeps fans up-to-date with all the game’s happenings, acknowledges glitches and bugs, and promises fixes are on the way — which they actually implement!

On the other hand, Nintendo is very tight-lipped about Smash Bros., and information about the game is usually delivered via the special Nintendo Direct events.

Not only that, but Smash Bros fans have lamented the lack of a focused competitive scene for years and Nintendo recently went as far as to pull Ultimate from EVO 2022.

This marked the first time that Smash Bros. had missed the event since 2007. Not only that, but MultiVersus was present at the event and absolutely killed it with its first official tournament.

All things considered, I’d say the future is very bright where MultiVersus is concerned. It might be naive to suggest that it can usurp Smash Bros. anytime soon given the massive headstart the franchise has, but the new kid on the block has got plenty of pep in its step and might in its bite.

Free-to-play is becoming the idealistic business model for many gaming companies, as MultiVersus is already proving, and you have to feel that despite its brand recognition and established success, Nintendo might be better served following suit to stay ahead of the competition and remain king of the fighters.

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