Crossfire - Europe's Next eSport?
First released by the Korean studio Smilegate back in 2007, Crossfire is a free to play tactical shooter inspired by Counter-Strike 1.6 but with crazy game modes, a cash shop, daily rewards, and all the other Asian bells and whistles thrown in. Crossfire has consistently been one of the most profitable games in the world year after year. The game currently generates about $1.3 billion a year, topped only by Tencent's League of Legends.
Despite its enormous financial success, gamers in North America and Europe may be forgiven for never even hearing about Crossfire. The game's success is largely due to the enormous and persistent popularity it enjoys in China. A Western version is available, but hasn't drawn a lot of attention. Smilegate hopes to fix that this year with a renewed push in the West, Europe in particular. The Korean studio has owned a new office in Berlin with the stated goal of making Crossfire a successful European eSport. The new office is headed by an all-star cast of free-to-play veterans including Emanuel Schleussinge (former CTO of Aeria Games), Andrezj Ilczuk (former director of Live Games at Aeria Games), and Christian Baur (former Gameforge product marketing director.)
The first task for the new office is to translate the client into German and create content suited for the European market. Other languages are likely to follow. Crossfire will be present at the IEM Expo in Poland which takes place later this month. A $15,000 prize tournament for Crossfire will be held there on March 4th. Smilegate is wise to target Europe, specifically Eastern Europe where economic conditions are closer to that of China which has proven to be fertile ground for the low-spec FPS title. Its certainly going to be an uphill battle for Crossfire as it will have to go up against Europe's reigning FPS champion, Counter Strike Global Offensive.