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September 16, 2019
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Digital Hammer: challenging MOBAs in mobile multiplayer gaming

by Sonja Angesleva on 10/22/14 03:19:00 pm

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


In 2001, Finnish telephone operator DNA offered a game called Botfighters (by Swedish It’s Alive) to its clients. The game united clan gaming, spatial data and real-time multiplayer game play. It also brought a whole new experience to mobile phone users. Especially multiplayer gaming was something never before seen. There were reasons for that. Botfighters undergo some major challenges due to network lag and the problems GSM tower positioning brought with it. Often there simply were not enough potential DNA customers aka players in the vicinity.

A decade has passed since Botfighters but the mobile real-time multiplayer gaming is still waiting for the one title to define the market and dominant genre(s). From turn-based Draw Something and Clash of Clans the market is rapidly moving to different types of co-operative and competitive multiplayer games and MOBAs. The CMO of Digital Hammer, Riku Rantasalo knows a number of start-ups that are currently developing DotA (Defense of the Ancients) games on mobile. Digital Hammer believes that the time is finally right for real-time mobile multiplayer gaming but instead of a DotA, they are working on something different.

Rantasalo explains that Digital Hammer wants to provide its players high quality and deep gameplay experiences on a mobile phone and tablet. Although the real-time multiplayer gaming success stories are still few and far between, Rantasalo sees the change began in earnest.

Mobile phones, the ecosystem and the diversity of games is improving all the time. This development will make it easier for real-time multiplayer gaming to succeed on mobile. Besides numerous DotA projects across the globe, another proof for the claim is a fact that technology giants such as Google have started providing APIs for managing real-time multiplayer games.

What’s Digital Hammer’s vision on the future if not MOBA?

Rantasalo sees the opportunities for MOBA type of games but Digital Hammer is more driven by 1vs1 racing and socially competitive game play. Digital Hammer is currently finalizing their debut title Zeta Fighters.

Zeta Fighters was selected as the company's ambitious first game for two reasons. Playing a game has a lot to do with emotions. Rantasalo tells that he used to play PC game called Wings with his friends when he was young. When Rantasalo and the team talked about their debut game, it became clear to the team that Wings has something special. Something that Digital Hammer wants to channel to their debyt game. Wings was a challenging cave flying race for four players and similar game play would work perfectly on mobile. The other reason was Digital Hammer’s plan to develop a real-time multiplayer game. Zeta Fighters was a perfect match to that goal being both motivating and challenging for the gamers. On top of these reasons, Rantasalo notes that it is always cool to be doing something no one else have not yet successfully done.

Digital Hammer's goal is to bring a highly competitive 1vs1 game to the market where the gamers will form a community of Zeta Fighters. A game that is suitable for all but also has all the qualities to fit to competitive game playing category and

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