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Smite for Xbox One is out of beta, and it’s still completely free to play

Smite for Xbox One screenshot
Since July, Xbox One gamers have been able to download and play Smite, the third-person MOBA from HiRez Studios, but it was technically still in open beta. Now HiRez has pulled the beta tag from Smite, but the game is still available for free.

Smite takes the basic gameplay concepts of MOBAs like Dota 2 or League of Legends but swaps out the bird’s-eye view for a third-person perspective more commonly used in action games. Controlling more like a shooter than a traditional MOBA, Smite seemed like a perfect candidate for being played with the Xbox One’s gamepad, and it seems gamers agreed: the beta was downloaded by over a million players, according to GameSpot.

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While the game is now out of beta, there is no new patch to go along with it. We do know that a patch is on the way, however, since the Xbox One version of Smite tends to get patches roughly a month behind the PC version, which is already two patches ahead. The next patch should bring Khepri, a new playable character.

Smite may be free to play, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything to buy. The Founder’s Pack sells for $30 and grants access to every playable character in the game, along with skins for those characters and gems, which can be used to unlock other items in the game. The pack has been available since the beta began, but will vanish at the end of the month to be replaced by the Ultimate Gods pack which offers the characters but not the other bonuses.

Another thing vanishing at the end of the month is the ability to transfer your PC account to the Xbox One. At this point most players should have a good idea as to which is their platform of choice, but those who don’t will need to hurry up and decide.

If you’re a PlayStation 4 owner waiting for Smite to come to your console of choice, that likely won’t happen. Fortunately, HiRez has another game in the works by the name of Paladins, which is coming to the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC next year.

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Overwatch 2 is going free-to-play this October. The upcoming competitive shooter from an embattled Activision Blizzard was expected to launch in 2023, but we learned that it was coming a bit earlier than expected and would be free during the Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase on June 12. Still, this is a shocking shift for one of Blizzard's biggest franchises and one that has a lot of implications for the pace of updates and new content. Ahead of a livestream that gives more details about the free-to-play shift, Digital Trends spoke to some members of the development team, including Game Director Aaron Keller and Overwatch VP and Commerical Lead Jon Spector, to learn why exactly the Overwatch 2 team decided to embrace free-to-play.
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"We don't want to develop things and try to pool it together into a big box release; we'd rather just put content out when it's ready and do it as quickly as we can," Keller says. "As we kept working on some of the more innovative gameplay for the PvE side of Overwatch 2, it meant that it was going to take longer for any of our PvP features to go public. We want to release stuff as frequently as we can, but it was taking us too long to be able to get it in front of our players."
The original Overwatch has floundered since it stopped getting significant content updates in 2020 so Blizzard could focus on Overwatch 2. By releasing the sequel as a free-to-play game this year, that long wait ends -- and players won't have to worry about it happening again for a long time. The developers also stressed that Overwatch 2 would feel more like a sequel than an update when it launches, thanks to the new content and rework into 5v5 matches. Spector explains that many systems fell in place simultaneously, like cross-play, cross-progression, and the seasonal model, so it made sense to lower the barriers to entry and launch free-to-play this year.
"We are dedicated to putting out content frequently and consistently in perpetuity."

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