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Opinion: The many reasons  Street Fighter X Tekken  sold less than expected
Opinion: The many reasons Street Fighter X Tekken sold less than expected Exclusive
May 25, 2012 | By Christian Nutt




Capcom's most recent fighting game, Street Fighter X Tekken, didn't sell as much as the publisher expected it to.

ďSales of 'Street Fighter X Tekken' have fallen short of our plan. We believe one of causes is cannibalism because of the large number of other games in this genre that were launched within a short time,Ē the company said in a brief Q&A on its website last week.

The company blamed competition -- and, of course, if youíve followed Capcom over the years, you smacked your forehead. Thereís competition, and then thereís self-competition. Capcom has always saturated the market to the point of pain, and that is, in fact, the most obvious criticism of this news.

In reality, thatís just a small part of the problem with Street Fighter X Tekken. If Capcom wants to blame the competition, publicly -- thatís fine. But if the company wants to understand just what went wrong, there are some hard truths it has to face. And if youíre thinking about launching your own game -- particularly launching in a segment with an ardent community -- there are plenty of lessons here for you, too.

Letís consider what Capcom did to set up stumbling blocks for itself:

Special: This game was made by Dimps, the same development team that handled Street Fighter IV -- and that should mean quality.

Counter: This is the first and arguably the most important point, and itís strange that Capcom hasnít publicly admitted it, at least in its results. This game is a mess. Capcom did a good initial job with PR -- building interest in the community by exposing the game early and often -- but quality issues destroyed those gains immediately upon release.

The game is one of the sloppiest games Capcom has ever put out. Yes, most fighters have infinite combos -- particularly console-based ones that didnít enjoy prior arcade releases and have their bugs beta tested out by hardcore fans. But infinite combos should not be this trivially easy.

Even more confusingly, the gameís latest patch, which presumably was designed to take care of this sort of thing, added a brand new crash bug.

Itís not clear why this game is so sloppy. Was it rushed? Was it low-budget? Was a B-team put on it? Even incredibly funny YouTube videos, like this one of bugs with Mega Man make it incredibly easy to dismiss. In fact, videos like these make the game look way worse than it actually would play for an average player, too, whoíd likely rarely if ever encounter them. Hardcore fans are the ones uncovering these bugs, but the damage applies to all audiences.

I would have said Capcom could have addressed this with a patch and some good PR, but the patch was obviously a failure; and the PR is deep in the hole for other reasons youíre about to read about.

Special: The competition is to blame -- Street Fighter X Tekken didnít have a chance.

Counter: Capcom, perhaps more any other publisher in the industry, is notorious for milking its games with add-ons, ports, remakes, and new versions.

Sometimes that backfires. Hell, it has backfired in this very market. Before the company released Street Fighter IV and brought 2D fighting games back into the mainstream, it took the genre through its first boom and bust, back in the 1990s. Excess inventory of Super Street Fighter II cartridges for SNES and Genesis reportedly badly hurt the company as it transitioned to the PlayStation and Saturn.

Youíd think Capcom would learn.

Still and all, Street Fighter X Tekken came out less than four months after Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, and less than three after Capcom launched UMVC3ís Heroes and Heralds mode -- a major content update designed to keep players focused on that title post-launch.

Letís not forget that all of the fighters the company released this generation feature Street Fighter characters. This was far from true of the Capcomís output during its most prolific period. How many Ryus do you really need? This is the companyís fifth Street Fighter-based retail SKU since 2009.

Itís true that Namco released Tekken Hybrid late last year. But the truth is, nobody really cared about Tekken Hybrid (itís an obscure fan-oriented title) and it didnít even ship on Xbox 360. The decks were effectively clear. Sure, when it comes to casual fans, Tekken is not the draw Marvel is -- an IP that thrives even outside games. But itís still one of the best-respected and most popular series in fighters.

Then there are the real competitors. Yes, other companies released games around the same time, such as Skullgirls and Soulcalibur V, neither of which sold nearly as well as Street Fighter X Tekken. More relevantly, any student of capitalism tells you you weather competition by having a superior product; whether or not you like Street Fighter X Tekken -- and many seem to -- itís clear that the game got the least attention of Capcomís recent fighters. This is thanks to the way the company primed people to actively not want to buy the game -- as weíll see.

The open question is whether Capcom saw Street Fighter X Tekken and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom catering to different audiences. If so, it might have lost perspective on its own products.

Special: Sure, Capcom released a lot of fighting games in rapid succession -- but thatís normal for this hardcore genre.

Counter: Yes, this is a genre thatís struggled with oversaturation from the moment it became popular -- and Capcom, which propelled it into the limelight, has always pushed things to the very edge of sustainability.

But itís worse than that, these days. Capcom drew ire from fans by releasing Super Street Fighter IV to retail rather than updating the original release of Street Fighter IV with DLC -- but players accepted it, because it was 2009/2010. Things were different then, and Capcom seemed to figure things out, eventually, by offering the final upgrade, SFIV: Arcade Edition, as a moderately-priced DLC pack as well as a retail disc.

Even so, Capcom didnít run with this strategy. Prior to the reveal of the full-priced, disc-based Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, the company had planned to keep updating the original MVC3 with content -- but after one batch of DLC characters, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 was announced.

Guess what happened? UMVC3 sold worse than Super Street Fighter IV, Capcomís Christian Svensson admitted.

Hereís an obvious cautionary tale: donít change your plans. If youíre promising (or even implying) one thing and then delivering something else, youíre going to hurt your reputation.

But there are times when you might just have to change your plans, of course. Producer Ryota Niitsuma cited the 2011 earthquake as throwing a wrench into Capcomís MVC3 strategy, which of course arouses sympathy. Would an aggressive, timely DLC plan be thrown off more significantly by losing a week or two of development than a retail release would be? It seems plausible.

But a week (or perhaps two) is likely all that would have been lost. Tokyo, where the game was developed (by Eighting) was not drastically affected by the quake, though itís quite possible developersí families lived in hard-hit regions, causing more significant disruptions to the schedule. However, if Capcom had said ďthe DLCís delayed by two weeks due to the quake,Ē fans would have been sympathetic.

Obviously, I canít say what the true scope of this tragedy was on the gameís development plans. It seems any plans could have survived this trauma if they were solid, though, and in this interview, Niitsuma suggests that there were always fundamental weaknesses in the DLC plan.

More importantly, the company had a real opportunity to start treating its fighting games as living, breathing services at this point, and squandered it. Earthquake or no, no doubt it would have required more effort for Capcom to get people to buy into Marvel vs. Capcom 3 as a service rather than to kick out another disc-based update, but it would have been a great chance to try and build a real interlocked community and DLC effort for the title. The company still hasnít gone down that road, and the poor design of and reception to SFXTís DLC plans means it still wonít, as weíll see.

The takeaway here: build goodwill through transparency and honesty in advance, not after youíve already made an unpopular decision. If you have to make a major change thanks to circumstances beyond your control, let people know. And think ahead; donít be forced to react when you hit a bump in the road. You will definitely hit one. The good thing is, your fans care.



Special: How can you blame Capcom for not jumping into the digital age properly? The gameís gem system is custom-tailored to todayís marketplace, and brings new strategic depth to the series.

Counter: Itís true that Street Fighter X Tekken has an interesting new system. But itís interesting for the wrong reasons: it was a PR disaster well before the game arrived on shelves, and it throws player anxieties about pay-to-win items in sharp relief.

For those who donít religiously follow the genre, the company planned a new gameplay system for Street Fighter X Tekken in which players could equip their characters with ability-enhancing gems. When the gameís producer, Yoshinori Ono, first dropped some vague info about the topic, all hell broke loose.

The fan community, dismayed by the idea of microtransactions, pay-to-win, and unfair advantages destroying the gameís balance, was horrified, and some tournament players quickly argued that the game might not be able to be used for competitive purposes.

Itís still debatable whether or not the gems system itself is critically flawed. The basic idea: adding collectible card game-like strategy to a fighter, allowing players to build a customized team, is in fact sound, and even clever. But the messaging and (crucially) the execution were the real problem points here.

Seth Killian, the companyís lead community manager and tournament player, argued that he loved the initial idea long before it was revealed to fans, when he was asked by Gamasutra.

Note that I say ďwhen he was asked.Ē The company didnít get ahead of this entirely predictable controversy. Killian is a tournament veteran and longtime fighting game fan. Thatís why he got his job in the first place; he knows his community. Whether he struggles against the strictures of dealing with corporate overhead, whether he just didnít think ahead, or whether he got taken by surprise by the mouthiness of the gameís producer Yoshinori Ono, I just donít know. But there was seemingly no plan in place for dealing with the fallout.

In the end, Street Fighter X Tekken was selected for EVO 2012, the most important North American fighting game tournament. But how much say does the tournament have about whether or not it chooses to run with this yearís big game from the biggest name in the genre? We donít know, but we do know gems are excluded from tournament play.

That, however, hasnít killed the controversy, because it affects the gameís balance (it was designed for gems) and because expert players have continued to harp on exactly how the gem system is exploitable in the worst possible ways -- which deflates Capcomís defenses. Is this another example of sloppy development or was the lure of DLC profits that got to Capcom? Itís impossible to say, but the PR disaster is unmistakable.

Special: On-disc DLC is fair -- because there are solid technical reasons to include this data on the disc.

Counter: And then there was the on-disc DLC. People hate on-disc DLC, of course, but even if you accept the companyís rationale -- the fact that players who donít buy the characters should still be able to fight against players who use them online without wasting hard drive space -- what was hilarious is that (A) they werenít available from launch and (B) theyíre included, for free, in the upcoming Vita version. The full roster of characters costs $20 for the unlock on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

People have long hated on-disc DLC. Even with a credible pro argument, the con argument of ďpeople hate it, and they have always hated itĒ is well worth noting, particularly in such a community-driven genre. The pro argument isnít that credible, either: Namcoís Soulcalibur V offers an free DLC pack which allows players to experience, but not use, DLC they donít own while playing online; Arc System Worksí BlazBlue allows users to easily step down to an older version of the game to play with players who havenít upgraded.

Worse yet, the characters were all available in early builds of the game distributed to the press; itís unclear what the original plan was, whether it changed, and if the characters were even done in time for launch. But either way, it was a major PR mistake.

Further insult came when it was revealed that the Vita version of the game comes with all of the characters for free, as noted above. Yes, it doesnít come out till October, but itís not as if the player base isnít aware that it costs $10 less and has $20 of free DLC characters included, for a total of a $30 difference. And the Vita version is cross-compatible for online play with the game on PS3. Would you buy a game knowing that -- even if you donít have a Vita or plan to buy one -- itís a ripoff? Itís simple.

Iíve also heard it suggested that the fact that all characters being on the disc drove piracy -- fans felt like they were being ripped off and so felt justified in ripping Capcom off. Iím not defending that position, but even if itís neither true nor significant, itís still not very smart to put the data on the disc -- simply because pirates will crack the game and get early access to content your paying players canít touch, frustrating them tremendously. Like aggressive DRM, this is a recipe for punishing, primarily, those who legitimately purchase your content.

Would players be complaining now if the company had gifted one DLC character immediately and accelerated the release of the rest? Probably not. Even without that, this was another predictable PR disaster.

Special: Console-exclusive characters? Cool!

Counter: Itís not uncommon for multiplatform fighting games with large rosters to have platform-specific characters on one system or another. It works well, too... when you do it right, as Namco has done with the Soulcalibur series in the past. Who can forget Zeldaís Link in the Gamecube version of Soulcalibur II?

Hereís how to do it wrong. Street Fighter X Tekken has five characters that appear only on the PlayStation 3: Mega Man, Pac-Man, Cole (from Sonyís Infamous series), Kuro, and Toro (from Sonyís Japan-only Dokodemo Issho series.) Yes, three of those characters hail from Sony IP, but two donít. More importantly, thereís nothing on the 360 side to even up the odds, which is how Namco keeps the peace. Once the game got hacked, rumors began to fly that some or all of these characters were also on the 360 disc; whether or not it was true, it just was one more way the on-disc DLC story metastasized into something even worse, and turned an insult (for 360 owners) into an injury.

K.O.

As you can see, an overly simplistic explanation of what went wrong with this game ignores a majority of major flaws with this game, its release, and especially Capcomís messaging around it. There is a top-to-bottom lack of planning and community engagement around this game, and that, I would argue, is what lead to the poor sales Capcom is now bemoaning in its earnings statement.

The story here is, no matter how good your community outreach and PR is leading up to a gameís release -- and aside from the onset of the gems controversy, Capcomís was good for this title -- it will all unravel at lightning speed unless you can really address these concerns in a proactive, fan-friendly way.

Capcom producer Yoshinori Ono has become a celebrity to hardcore gamers; his name is widely recognized as the man who brought Street Fighter back into the limelight. But given the amount of confusing and contradictory information the company spreads about its fighting games and their release strategies for them, "Onoís lies" has become a meme. Thatís not great for your PR strategy, is it? Ono isnít entirely to blame, but as the face of Capcomís fighters, heís become a divisive figure largely due to company-wide PR gaffes that could have been avoided with more careful planning.

Now, Iím not saying the company is fatally flawed. Capcom gets a lot of things right -- just nothing to do with this game, pretty much. The bright side of its financial results was that the critically-maligned Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City sold well beyond expectations. Why? Because it correctly taps into both the zeitgeist (itís a Western-developed shooter) and nostalgia (itís set during the events of the fan-beloved Resident Evil 2). It doesnít matter if it kind of sucks. It even offered free DLC to fans who held onto their discs after beating the campaign: a clever touch, and literally the opposite of what happened with Street Fighter X Tekken.

Donít exploit, insult, and fail to engage with your audience. Nurture and respect them. While I wouldnít go so far as to say that Street Fighter X Tekken is a completely cynical or needless game -- the core concept, of pitting two rival franchises together, is reasonable, even exciting -- it came out too close to the companyís other titles, with too many slip-ups in every possible regard. By the time it released, the well was poisoned, and things only got worse from there. Is it any wonder people didnít feel like buying it?


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Comments


Ryan Marshall
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Amazingly, none of these reasons have to do with the game "not being fun"; it is a great game, and fun to play, but that doesn't mean it's going to be a blockbuster mega-hit when you take all of the above factors into account.

Olivier Riedo
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Is it really fun though? A lot of feedback I get from fighting game player acquaintances is that it's a lot less fun to play and to watch as Capcom's previous offerings, with several mechanics turning out useless (pandora) or too complicated to really be usable.

Ryan Marshall
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By and large, the useless/complicated mechanics don't affect the game much. Sure, Pandora is way too easy to time out, and quick combos double penalize by consuming your gauge while forcing you to commit to the entire string ahead of time, but you can just not use those. At worst, they are over-hyped, but then they aren't really that big a part of the game anyway... unless you're in that rare situation where it *does* save you. It's like the castling rule in chess.

On the points that matter, the game is a nice middle ground between SF4 and MvC3.

Bob White
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Put me under the On-Disc DLC category. Any game that practices this is just begging for black-listed boycotting from the avid gamer community. Myself and countless others won't even consider touching this game, NEW or used, for that simple fact.

It's too bad really, because many mistakes and imperfections can be overlooked on games when they have true potential. However, On-disc-DLC isn't an imperfection, it's just stealing. Plain and simple.

Capcom needs to pull a serious 180 if they hope to have any chance of recovering a fraction of the loyal fan-base they have driven away with these digital-age-nickel-and-diming tactics they have been shoving down our throats as of late.

E Zachary Knight
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Anthony,

I think the article pretty clearly explored workable solutions to DLC that is not on the disk. You don't need to have it to overcome limitations between players playing off different versions of the game.

Wolf Wozniak
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Tony,
With as many patches as they are putting out, the rationale that "offering this content as DLC because of 'we dont understand that you can patch content into non-paying customers' games'" is just straight up silly.

This is the year 2012, and people patch games, and patch in new content.

Dedan Anderson
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Two things can happen when you do a cross-over title, one you get the union of both markets OR you get the intersection...

[User Banned]
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This user violated Gamasutraís Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Cary Chichester
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Great write-up, I definitely agree with most of what was mentioned. I would however disagree with placing the blame on Capcom for the game's quality. From a systems perspective, the game is incredibly deep. There's a huge amount of mechanics that were added to this game, and when you combine those with all the equippable gems on the 38 characters available at launch, this become's what is probably Capcom's most complex fighter to date. Street Fighter IV had a few minor issues, then Marvel vs. Capcom 3 brought a much more complex game that had quite a few bad bugs, and SFxT added to that complexity and brought with it its own batch of new bugs. It's understandable that increasing the complexity of the game will bring about more bugs, but at least Capcom has been reliable in addressing them after they've been found.

I think even with all of the points that were made, the fact that it came out a few months after UMvC3 (which came out some months after MvC3), the gem system PR nightmare, and the on-disc DLC fiasco, the main reason it didn't sell as well is because it's not that new of a game. The hardcore fans will see the difference, but others will see another Street Fighter game that doesn't look too different from the one they already own. It's not like Call of Duty where players can expect a new campaign to accompany a familiar multiplayer experience; these games are really only good for the multiplayer, but it came after players already picked up SFIV, SSFIV, and SSFIV:AE. Now I love Street Fighter, I'm really excited for the 25th anniversary set coming out later this year, but after spending close to 1,000 hours on Street Fighter games this generation, I think I can speak for a lot of people when I say WE DON'T NEED MORE STREET FIGHTER THIS GENERATION. NEW GAMES PLEASE!

Justin Benoit
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Being complex doesn't automatically make it good. And complexity has absolutely nothing to do with the bugs.

When Rolento throws a knife, and it hits ANY other projectile, the game crashes. We've had air projectiles for as long as Akuma's been around. That shouldn't be a problem.

The old Kuro infinite "mash standing strong after a switch cancel" didn't involve complexity at all. That was just a basic frame data/hit stun fail.

Cary Chichester
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I didn't say being complex made it good, just that the complexity is what led to the unexpected amount of bugs. The Rolento bug was introduced in the last patch, I don't think the patch had anything specifically intended for him so he probably wasn't tested too thoroughly.

The Kuro bug probably should've been caught though.

[User Banned]
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This user violated Gamasutraís Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Aaron Burton
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I agree 100%. New games all the way. They should hire more people and create more subdivisions. Does capcom even have a puzzle division? I know they have been doing everything else. Or maybe even mobile. Mobile games are hot right now.

Clifton Jewett
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I would have bought this game if not for one thing: gems.

Trenton Ng
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Does SF x T have the option of playing without gems? In UMvC3, Capcom allowed regular versus as well as the card system in Heroes vs. Heralds. If players online HAD to use the gem system, I can understand why so many gamers are upset about it.

Ryan Marshall
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There is no option to play without gems. Personally, I kind of like them, even though I end up using a default set of the same three +damage gems for most characters... which I had to set manually for each character.

I like how I can decide which gems work best for my playstyle, but I'm really glad that there's no way to play a re-match (at least in ranked online). If I had to set up contingency gem sets based on meta-game knowledge of whether a particular player likes to throw or might possibly use pandora, that would be a huge headache.

Joe Zachery
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It's pretty simple really. Capcom accomplished in a matter of 3 years what it took them 2 console generation before to do. Over saturate the market with fighter upgrades. Including DLC there has been 3 Street Fighter games, and 2 Marvel vs Capcom games in a matter of 3 to 4 years. If I was a fighting fan I would wait for the eventual release of the final perfect version. Maybe just buy the game used at Gamestop. With Street Fighter X Tekken we already know there is DLC characters that will appear when the Vita version is release already on disc. Yet Capcom will release them as DLC at a latter date, and also a retail copy. After the SNES, and Saturn generations gamers are just tired of this, and finally are just not buying. Why buy a new Street Fighter game when you already have at least 6 different games.

Trenton Ng
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This was a good read. You might not have pointed out all the reasons, but most of the reasonable ones were brought to light.

-Quality: I think Capcom had the development team rush this out. I'm not surprised to see games pushed out for sale before it has the chance to be thoroughly tested and debugged anymore.

-Competition: I also agree that Capcom's biggest competition is themselves. They've established such a large community with SFIV and UMvC3 that they'd be only moving their audience to another game, and it's so soon that not everyone is ready to move onto a new game.

-Over-saturation: This is actually the reason why I didn't get SFxT yet when I really wanted to. I bought SFIV only to have SSFIV release but then bought SSFIV:AE. Then MvC3 released which bought in the first week only to have UMvC3 come out in the same year. Upon hearing that SFxT has 10 more characters it hasn't released on launch, I've decided to wait for the next iteration. The problem is that they've decided not to release another disc but keep the characters exclusively DLC. I fear it might turn out to be even more expensive than a $40 disc. Fans of Capcom are getting tired of these shenanigans I guess and either decided to skip SFxT or wait for the next iteration of it.

-Gem System: If they had a mode that doesn't use the Gem system, a lot of competitive players might be okay with the implementation of it. I don't know too much about the mechanics, so no comment on this.

-On-disc DLC: DLCs were created to add content long after a game's release, so it's no surprise that it upsets players when a game's content is purposely blocked and sold as a DLC when they're paying for a full game. This seems to be a growing trend and I hope it doesn't continue.

-Console-exclusive characters: Having extra characters sounds great, but it's rather unfair for one side of the community to have them when the other doesn't when the game is sold at the same price for both sides.

Trenton Ng
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I really want to cheer Capcom on since they make a lot of great games, but their actions seem to show that they care more about revenue than about their fans.

Matthew Mouras
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So who has forwarded this article to Capcom? It's spot on.

Terry Matthes
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Our local fighting group has completely dropped the game from all tournaments due to what was agreed upon as poor mechanics and overall gameplay. It's sad to see, but the mechanics take way too many shortcuts to be friendly to new players. There are gems that give you three full super bars just for teching a throw. That is ludicrous.

Truth be told these fighting games are coming out with way way too many characters to Balance. Street Fighter IV had more development time than this game with less characters and still had Balance issues, mind you not as glaringly as this game.

I also had a bit of a problem with all the reused Street Fighter IV characters, the poor texture quality (See the Jurassic level) and the overall mashed together feeling of the art assets in the game. I would like to praise the art direction on the Tekken characters though. They really did feel like they fit into the Street Fighter universe.

The largest flaw to me though was the sound that dropped during online play. Sometimes I wouldn't even get half of the sound effects.

DanielThomas MacInnes
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So Capcom released a mediocre, buggy fighting game, into a market they themselves over-saturated, then attempted to nickel-and-dime the fans to death by locking away content behind a paid firewall. Game fails to reach sales goals. Company bosses are baffled and confused.

No thanks, count me out. I will not become a mindless, willing lab rat, pulling levers and running mazes just to get my sugar pellet. I would much rather treat my fans with dignity and respect. I'd rather build communities instead of mindlessly exploiting them. True gamers know better than to be used.

My thinking is this: if you're going to flood the market with fighting games - and I'm a big Sega Saturn fan, so I love fighting games - at least make them affordable. Heck, I'll sell you Capcom's 4-Meg Saturn fighters for the price of a CD. That's a fair price, I think, not $40-$60. But it's easy to talk that way with vintage catalog titles; newly-developed ones are a different story.

Amir Sharar
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I have some CPSII boards that I'd love to buy over XBLA/PSN/Steam rather than having to swap them in my arcade.

Nevermind online play or HD upscaling (which may be requirements for XBLA, but not PSN and Steam), just emulate them and release them for decent prices. I'm quite sure the costs would be fairly minimal. y'know, fans of Capcom could run the company better than they can, I'd argue.

Anyways, this is off topic, so I'll touch on a relevant point you've made. "Company bosses are baffled and confused." The proof is in the fact that if they knew anything about their audience they would not have made all of these mistakes, they've already made them before in recent years.

Sure, let's give Capcom the benefit of the doubt in regards to SF4. They didn't consider making it a platform game (and when I say this, I allude to games like Rock Band, Guitar Hero, even Forza Motorsport that offer hundreds of DLC items after their launch at fair prices). Super SF4 comes out and they then realize they could have handled it better. Sure. I'd argue it was still avoidable but hey.

Then MvsC comes out...and has the same issue. The people at Capcom seem to never learn.

Even when it comes to making money, Capcom hasn't explored all potential revenue steams. There are DLC that hardcore fans want, that do not negatively affect gameplay or balance. One of which are more costumes, which Capcom has done quite well, but another that they haven't addressed is more backgrounds. Not everyone wants it, but the fact that Capcom hasn't even done it once in any of their recent fighters is quite odd.

When you have a incredible IPs like SF, Marvel and Tekken, making money shouldn't be hard. Apparently Capcom found a way to make it hard.

Ken Squires-Kavanagh
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As an avid (once competitive) fighting game player, the reason I did not buy the game is because of poor gameplay quality above all else.

Strangely enough, the game has one of the best feature sets for a fighter released in recent memory. This is overshadowed by the fact that the game simply isn't fun. The pace is generally quite slow and boring or a complete blowout. Fighting game pace takes a long time to explain, unfortunately, so you'll have to make do with that point without any sort of backing up. Many, many tournament matches end in time-outs or close to it because of this. There's a lot of weird pacing issues beyond that. The way the game breaks to different perspectives for throws and launchers is disorienting, especially since players can act almost immediately after them. This creates confusion of game positioning.

A lot of the slow pace comes from how difficult it is to open someone out to damage. Most overheads and throws are very, very easy to deal with. This makes it very easy to safely block without any sense of danger and makes the game take a while before any damage happens. Combine this with auto-block gems or auto-tech gems and it's even more difficult to force damage in a game that's pretty difficult to force damage. With two healthbars to deplete and regenerating life, this causes a great deal of the time outs.

Gems weren't even that bad of an idea on a pure mechanics level. Character customization can be good and provide for an interesting metagame. However, it's cumbersome to equip gems in any situation but on your own console (which I admit is what much of the target audience will be doing), and they aren't implemented in a way that really makes the mechanic shine. They offer boring stat boosts at awkward to control moments of the match. Gems give no clear indication of utility other than "this increases power" and "this increases options" before they activate. It's confusing and hard to understand. There are other games that do customization much, much better in a much more understandable format.

The game is really noisy. The UI shakes when you get hit, making it difficult to gauge how much damage you took or dealt. There's no clear visual difference at a glance differentiating recoverable and existing life. Gems add bright colors along with the loud hitsparks turn the game into fireworks. Flash can be fun in a competitive game, flash is good when it's during justifiable and super climactic moments. Cleanliness is super important in competitive play. It makes the game easier to understand for newer players, and easier to play for hardcore.

It's generally not well received of the competitive community for these reasons and gems being both imbalanced and paying for power. The other stuff was a shot in the foot from a consumer perspective, but perhaps justifiable if the game was actually good. I agree that a lot of the reasons in the article for many of the sales issues are present and certainly affected the game more than what I mentioned, but what I mentioned helped a lot to make people I know not buy it or put it aside very quickly after their purchase. It really is a shame and I would honestly like to believe the game suffered from a lack of development time or testing resources.

wes bogdan
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When target was doing a b2g1 free i bought :mass effect3,sfxt and resident evil so even if re sucked it was free. Yes puting content under lock that is there and that you by all rights already paid for remember it's on the disc but they want to keep the sale going...not like they could come up with dlc not already in play like new arena's and various holiday outfits if you want to see chun lee or cammy in elf or santa suits for example or how about visable fatuge as you play so your character starts fresh and over the match cloths tear bruses appear etc.

All players might simply wait for the super ultimate nova turbo edition if fighting games are going to iterate as offer as mvsc3 did or sf4-ssf4.

First music games were out whether there needed to be a new version or not and now fighting games are following suite well what happenes when cod and shooters fall because if you don't get black op's 2 wait 6 months and bo3 will be closer at hand.

Pushing so hard til games break usuially has them end up like other past gen games that see no action anymore dead n buried.

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Michael Stevens
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RE:ORC might have sold better, but my experience playing and talking to people in-game was that people were *tremendously* let down by that game. They should be genuinely embarrassed about what that game says about their expectations for their products.

Capcom wouldn't get nearly as much stick for their DLC if their base games weren't so content-poor.
Also, I don't think the roster expansion would be a major issue if SFxT was an original IP. If these were new characters people would be excited to explore them; players already know what Blanka is all about and are frustrated they can't get at "their" character.

Kofi Jamal Simmons
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I'm a fan of Capcom games, I collect the artbooks, games, all that. I was very hype for this title, but that went away as soon as word leaked about the DLC. I don't mind DLC, I do mind the complete roster only being set if you buy them. And the price is a factor as well. We became use to unlocking characters, colors, stages. Now you pay for them and for me the price is a bit steep. I don't play fighting games as much as I use to, so to drop $20 on characters I may or may not a lot isn't worth it. But it you HAVE to just so you can learn how to attack/defend the other fighters. It's almost a few steps away from buying guns to play a FPS.

What I would love to see would be a new IP or a new game from one of their many IPs. Put in the time and effort into a new Power Stone or Dino Crisis or Project Justice: Rival Schools or Mega Man, but we have more than enough fighting games. Now if they can manage a Avengers vs X-Men (no cards, no gems, just straight fighting), I'd be very happy.

kevin williams
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A rush job, by non-fighting-game executives, with the hope that using the good faith of the producers to ensure the title gets well received. It was a shame to see the Capcom/NAMCO management high-pressure promotion cause the ill health of the popular producer - trying to create interest in a game that was flawed from the start.

I personally feel that the rush job to miss a arcade release was the major failing that crippled the title from the start - but there was another issue, as touched on by this well written feature - the game came at a time for both companies that meant is saw B-team management. We have to ask what the future will be for both operations seeing hard times!

Terry Matthes
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"A rush job, by non-fighting-game executives"

I'm just curious as to why you think this or what you know about it.

brim leal
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DLC is dlc= downloadable content, not ODC(lol, made it up)= on disc content ....It wasn't proper planing on capcom's part allowing content to be on the disc and charging for it.
Getting your customer base to test your games isn't cool... that's why there called beta's.

What baffles me is that if you have the time and money to put these extra char's on the disc,instead of vesting time on that, use that time to fine tune the game?!
Then the dlc!.

I get patches...heck i even get mistakes, but when your playing skyrim or diablo, you know your getting more bang for your buck and you know that there's going to be glitches,lol.but you also know that the dlc is going to be awesome.
they rushed it.
simple.

P.s. Lets not talk about the atrocity that was Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City hahahahahahahahhahaah ha ha

Federico Oro Vojacek
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Please, take note of this. For some reason I really don't understand, SSFIV and SFxT is simply not available in our region (Argentina). I bought SFIV though Steam, but both SSFIV and SFxT are not available.

Now explain me how in the world, you expect to SELL a game, if you don't make it available to people. How is it possible, to STILL today, have in less than 5 minutes have access these games in torrent sites, and is not POSSIBLE to BUY he game?

I waited months to buy SSFIV, because it was going to published on PC several months later after the consoles release, and when it got published on Steam, it said: Not available in your region.

Oh, bravo!, this is an excellent way to push gamers to piracy. Congratulations. Then you complain about bad sales.

Rodolfo Camarena
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As someone who is involved in the fighting game community and not just 'my community', this article hits the nail on the head. If I had put a wager on it, I'd say either the writer is also a competitor or has really done their homework.

I would also like to add to the topics, 'Tournament Friendly'. Before the release of SFxT the issue with gems and DLC came up a lot among Tournament Organizers such as myself and others. Shoryuken.com's Keits and Skisonic brought this up quite a few times on the WakeupSRK podcast. If gems were allowed in tourney play, that would mean TOs would have to purchase every new DLC gems that comes out on multiple consoles. Then DLC characters that players will be allowed to use would mean we would have to shell out money for them too. With the latest update, version 1.04, TOs are put in a position to either ban Rolento from being used, allow Rolento but warn that if the glitch is caused during gameplay they forfeit the game, or use revert to using an earlier version of the game. The latter is being used at UFGT 8, a Road to Evo event. Keits, the TO for UFGT8, stated that they will be using version 1.0. Of course infinites are restricted to 3 loops and any other game breaking glitches are banned. This will be the same thing that I'll doing for my upcoming event next weekend.

So it isn't just the players that have negative feelings about the game, it is also the tournament organizers. I personally bought 3 copies of the game for a few of my systems and did enjoy the game for a bit. Then...ran into issues with the online play, critical bugs, and discovered infinites. It felt... incomplete. Everyone is still playing AE and Marvel.

I think the biggest issue everyone has is the DLC this is already on the disc and Capcom wanting to charge for it. There has been few people who have hacked the disc to have these new 'DLC' characters playable, but I won't get into that.

Hopefully, they'll make things right with the next product and IP.

Ryan Marshall
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I've never been big on the tourney scene, but couldn't the gem issue be dealt with by restricted everyone equally to the core gems?

Mike Murray
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As a longtime fan of Capcom (since the late 80s), and not just their fighting games, I'm dismayed at Capcom's actions as of late. They're turning into the typical "evil publisher," and I hate that I have to use that term and Capcom's name in the same sentence. The warning sign was when Inafune left the company (or maybe even before that, when they closed down certain studios). That was a huge blow, having a vet like him leave under bad terms. After he left, they killed off their Mega Man projects for vague reasons, and then things just went downhill from there. As far as reviving old franchises, I was really hoping that we'd get another Rival Schools, but given Capcom's current state, the prospect doesn't seem so exciting anymore.This article basically affirms my fears.

Ron Dippold
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You cover this, but for me it was that Skullgirls is far more fun to play.

It's the future now, Capcom. You certainly dominated the past, but then there was Arc System Works and now Reverge. We have jetpacks now. Cramming more characters into the same old systems isn't sufficient.

Ryan Marshall
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Arc System Works is still turning out great games. I wouldn't be surprised if they remained competitive for years to come, regardless of what happens to Capcom.

Eric McConnell
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I'm pretty big into the Fighting Game Community, and it comes down to one simple thing, the game sucks. The jab pressuring alone is cringe worthy. Capcom seemed to put zero effort into this game as a recent "balance" patch made a top tier character unplayable (Rolento crashes the game if his knife hits a fireball), so all the tournaments are still running ver 1.0.On top of all this adding gems, dlc gems, on disc dlc characters, charging for extra colors, making dlc gems WAY better than their regular counterpart. Everything was just plain rubbish.But really at the end of the day the game is just not fun. It's boring to watch as well. You can't follow up UMvC3 with this unpolished crap.

Mike Murray
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I think it's safe to say that SFxT is getting dropped from Evo after this year's event. I planned on getting SFxT but all the crap surrounding it killed my interest. That vid with the auto block is infuriating; I actually supported their decision to include gems, but not if you can pay to have unfair advantages.


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