So the talk of the gaming town right now is Street Fighter V and I had a couple of thoughts.
First: I just have to laugh at everyone on Twitter who is jabbering about it being a PS4 “exclusive”. It’s coming to PC which means that the word exclusive does not apply <insert: “that word does not mean what you think it means” meme here>. But for some weird reason, many seem to think the PS4 or Xbox One have all these “exclusive” games just because the particular game isn’t on that opposing platform, when there is a PC version. I’ve mentioned before, I’m a little perplexed by the hype for the two machines as they have an awful lot of multiplats and few actual exclusives anyone wants to play.
The only time it was easier to use your PC as a game console was the late 70s when platforms like the Atari 800 or the TI 99/4A used regular TVs and had cartridge ports. As I type this, my daughter is using our main PC on the big TV. I’m pretty sure fighting fans can figure it out and the performance of a midrange PC at this point will be better than the PS4 anyways if that sort of thing matters to you. And getting a fighting stick compatible with a PC will cost about $100 but it won’t be impossible to obtain for anyone that really wants it.
Second: As some of you know, I operate a traditional arcade. I got suckered in by the Capcom guy who always posts pictures of his little Blanka toy and back in 2011 I believed him when he claimed that the Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition of the game was going to remain an arcade exclusive. Between that and player reaction (who at the time also thought he was being honest), I went ahead and spent about $10,000 on getting a Taito TypeX2 board with the English software of the game, which also supported 2 players on one board. (Most “kit games” like it cost about $2000-$3000 but you have to pay a Super premium for Street Fighter). It not only took 4 months to get the board, about a month before it arrived Mr. Ono suddenly changed his previous tune saying that the balancing in AE couldn’t work at home. That Summer console players would enjoy the same “unbalanced” game. Taito, who had commissioned the work on the English tranlsation and the kits I and some others paid for was furious but there was little they could do. I could not get a refund and I got a whole 1 1/2 months of exclusive play out of it. It was amazing for that short time, I had crowds of 40-50 people at my store regularly. But as soon as they could play it at home – nothing. I had to lower the price to 25¢ a play and on occasion one of those guys might come in to play but I have never made my money back on it. Yes some of that comes down to the risk of business, I get that but it didn’t stop there. When SSFIVAE2012 was released for free to everyone on the planet, there was one exception – American Arcade Operators. People ask me to get Ultra but I don’t know why, they won’t really play it and at a quarter, it will take years for it to pay itself off at the several thousand dollars it takes for that upgrade. Capcom made it clear that people like me which gave them a bunch of money for their game don’t matter to them aside from serving as marketing props. If you don’t believe me on that point, watch the new SF5 trailer and notice how often they show people playing in arcades, yet not even a Japanese arcade version is announced.
If you have wondered why there are practically no fighters released to Western arcades anymore, than this above paragraph is one of hundreds examples as to why. Arcade operators are tired of flushing thousands down the proverbial toilet when a fighter comes along. Almost every time a new fighter is released, it is guaranteed a console release, the only exception at the moment is if the fighting game comes from a Chinese company like Chaos Generation by Sealy. When the console version comes along, arcade sales drop off a cliff. We don’t get exclusive characters or stages or anything, all of the extras and more go to the home version. The amount of money something like Super Street Fighter IV AE currently makes is almost twice as much as Super Street Fighter II Turbo – a game much older than it. But compare AE to contemporary light-gun, driving or other games and those whip it every week at the cashbox by very wide margins. To give an example, last month my SSFIVAE made $159.75. My Fast And Furious Supercars made around $1300 and it cost a few thousand less to purchase originally than the SF kit. I have bills and a family to feed so when it comes to purchasing decisions, it is not terribly difficult when the numbers are that stark.
I’m sure they will change their minds at some point in regards to an Xbone version, someone just has to waive a big enough check in front of themselves for the whoring to commence. I would just say think twice before giving your money to a company like them. They are in the dire straights they find themselves for many good reasons beyond what I laid out above.
So overall, Capcom can go (Q*Bert) themselves for all I care and I hope they fail.