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Is Street Fighter V Set to Become a Game Changer Like Street Fighter II?

Way back in the early 1990’s the Sega Genesis was fighting a ferocious war with Nintendo and their SNES console.  Things were somewhat of an uphill battle for Nintendo when they finally launched their 16-Bit console.  Not only were they coming from the underdog position (not easy for them considering their dominance in the previous generation) but they were also receiving criticism from parents, and gamers alike, over the lack of backwards compatibility for the NES games.  Sega was unique here, they had no such problems but were still quick to capitalize on Nintendo’s situation with the Power Base Converter.  The Power Base Converter allowed Sega Master System (Sega’s 8-Bit console) games to be played on the newer Genesis console.  Nintendo was making up some ground little by little but it was not enough.  Nintendo needed a killer game, one that had cross appeal that Nintendo themselves did not have. 

Capcom had released Street Fighter in the arcades to a semi popular response from fans.  When it came to releasing Street Fighter II though, Capcom took into account all of the criticism that they received over the first game.  They spruced things up and even ignored some bugs that turned into key pieces of fighting games (such as the combo system).  Street Fighter II in the arcades was a phenomenon as people learned the new system, figured out combos and strategies.  By the time Capcom was ready to bring SFII to the home it was a case of which system would they do it on?  Sega Genesis or Super Nintendo? Street_Fighter_Ryu_vs_Retsu

Honestly, I don’t think the Genesis was even a contender for getting Street Fighter II first.  There is no real information on what drove Capcom to the Super Nintendo when they started porting SFII but I have a feeling it had something to do with the relationship Capcom had with Nintendo at this time.  When you are doing great business with one platform (Super Ghouls n Ghosts, Final Fight, etc) it just makes sense to stick with that platform.117523-super-street-fighter-ii-snes-screenshot-ryu-uses-his-new-flaming

Sega was not all in the dumps at this point though. They had released the first game in their mega popular series, Sonic the Hedgehog, the year prior to Street Fighter II coming to SNES.  Sega was also poised to release Sonic 2 shortly after Street Fighter II was to grace the Nintendo console.  This meant Sega was in quite a powerful position, had they been able to swing Street Fighter II also during this period, we might have been looking back at a slightly different 16-Bit war.  Sega couldn’t and we aren’t.111559-street-fighter-ii-snes-screenshot-make-the-enemy-to-suffer

Street Fighter II hit the Super Nintendo after tons of coverage from the magazines of the time.  Take Electronic Gaming Monthly, who put Street Fighter II on the cover over 20 times, or Gamepro, who dedicated countless pages to move guides.  Hype was not nearly a strong enough word for the fervor that was being worked up in gaming.  This resulted in countless fans buying a Super Nintendo just for Street Fighter II, fans that might have been on the fence for this generation.  The Super Nintendo version went on to sell over six million copies alone (source).  The Sega Genesis, over its entire lifetime, across the globe, sold about 40 million consoles (source).

Street Fighter II, in the United States alone and not counting the subsequent releases, sold 15% of what Sega was able to sell of the Genesis console across the WHOLE planet.  I believe that represents a good kick in the sales for Nintendo’s Super Nintendo.  This makes Street Fighter II a game changer in the 16-Bit wars- no other game that was not made by the console manufacturer moved that many copies on any one platform.

Now, Capcom and Sony have announced that Street Fighter V will be a console exclusive for the Playstation 4.  The only other platform it will appear on will be PC.  The question is, will history repeat itself?Street Fighter V Ryy Capcom Fighting Arcade Playstation 4 PC PS4 4

Right now, the Playstation 4 and the Xbox One are pretty neck-and-neck with each other, depending on whose numbers you are reading.  The point is this console race is close, just like it was in the 16-Bit days when the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis were battling it out.

Specs for the Playstation 4 and the Xbox One make them appear closer in their silicon than the Genesis was to the Super Nintendo.  That might explain why it took so long to get Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition ported to the Sega Genesis.  That doesn’t explain the forced wait Capcom imposed while the next SNES version was finished though (remember that “good business” comment earlier?  This is where it probably got a little murky).

The reason I bring this up is because history may indeed be repeating itself here.  While Street Fighter V may be exclusive to the Playstation 4, that doesn’t mean subsequent releases won’t be eligible for release on the Xbox One or Nintendo Wii U.  Remember, the original Street Fighter II was exclusive to the Super Nintendo, for the 16-Bit generation anyhow, while hitting many computer platforms (similar to what is happening with Street Fighter V). Street Fighter V Ryy Capcom Fighting Arcade Playstation 4 PC PS4 2

What remains to be seen, though, is if Street Fighter V will result in an uptick of sales for the Playstation 4.  The hype machine is different today than it was 22+ years ago.  Gamers were not nearly as in touch with each other back in the 16-Bit days as they are today, it remains to be seen if that will work in favor of Street Fighter V and the Playstation 4 exclusivity.  Whereas Street Fighter II’s popularity was displayed at newsstands on the cover of magazines, Street Fighter V will be in comments, likes, shares and banner ads on the Internet.

If any one company understands how to market a game, it is Capcom.  For proof, just look at how many times they have convinced gamers to purchase Street Fighter II again and again over the last few decades.

Catch up on the Street Fighter series below:
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Carl Williams

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11 Responses to “Is Street Fighter V Set to Become a Game Changer Like Street Fighter II?”

  1. DrGhettoblaster says:

    SF1 to SF2 was huge difference, night and day. Personally didn’t care for SF3 that much. SF4s evolution/progression both presentation and gameplay was absolutely amazing. While I am excited for SF5, it really just looks like a polished updated SF4 at this point. I’d have to say “no” would be my answer to your headline/question.

    • Carl Williams says:

      Are you saying no based on your feelings about how 5 looks like a polished 4 or is that based on something else? I ask because a lot of people around the net feel that 5 is not going to be as big because fighting games are just not as integral to gaming in general as they were when 2 was released.

      • DrGhettoblaster says:

        Well, yeah i guess it’s primarily because 5 looks like a polished 4. My feeling in response to your headline question is 4 would have been the game changer if any cause it was such an improvement in all areas. What’s 5 going to do that 4 didn’t besides obviously look better, and introduce new characters/stages, maybe a new combo mechanic? Plus not to mention the audience is now practically cut in half due to no XB1 support, which I personally do not agree with for such a long time popular 3rd party title. Great article – great discussion 🙂

        • Carl Williams says:

          I agree, 5 is just a polished 4, at least as far as we know right now. It could be more as time goes on though.

          I also agree that they are effectively cutting their potential audience in half (or so) by not supporting the XBox One. The thing is, just like they did with 2, they could be building up such a fervor for an XBox One version that fans snap it up immediately and propel it to the top of the charts for the platform, possibly surpassing the PS4 version.

          Personally, I think that is what is happening here. Capcom knows how to push multiple purchases of the same game across many platforms.

          Had 4 been exclusive to one console over the other then it would have probably been a much bigger impact on sales for that platform. True. Maybe Capcom missed the boat on this one. Maybe 4 was their chance at putting SF back on top of the gaming heap.

          Great discussion is right. I love the responses and discussion across the board in response to this article. I will definitely be doing more of them in the future.

          • DrGhettoblaster says:

            You can’t have discussions like this on IGN, i tried earlier today with SFV and the whole SF2 SNES temp exclusive then future versions brought to Sega Genesis angle as you mentioned, I literally got attacked and insulted countless times over. Very nice to find sites with open minded individuals open to healthy discussion such as yourself sir. I will book mark your site now 🙂 Oh, I also started on Atari 2600 and have been hooked ever since 😉

          • Carl Williams says:

            While we don’t have a lot of discussions going on here, I am glad that they are all open minded and respectful. This is gaming after all, it is supposed to be fun. That fun is sapped right out when people become jerks over things or can’t form words into a coherent sentence due to bias over a game or platform.

            This article on N4G is getting a ton of hate comments flaming each other (or me or this article). It is a shame.

            I love the Atari 2600, even worked getting Nolan Bushnell into a movie (Gameplay by the Armchair Arcade guys) and soon, possibly in a “competitor” magazine because it is for the fans, not my ego.

  2. jacksjus says:

    The difference this time is that Sony is actually co-producing the game so subsequent releases would likely benefit Sony financially.

    If you take a game like SF and keep it on one system it should lead to quite a few sells. Especially with the new focus on social and on-line play.

    • Carl Williams says:

      The additional console sales is what I was trying to bring up in the article. While fighting games in general are not as popular as they once were, there are still a ton of SF fans that will show support for this game. For now, those fans have to buy a PS4, or a powerful PC, to enjoy the latest SF or gamble that a future version will hit other consoles (not guaranteed).

  3. Guest says:

    It looks like a polished SF4, nothing really new like DrG says. This won’t change one thing and the subsequent Super or Turbo versions will be on the Xbox One and other platforms anyway. It’s a waste of money, especially for a dying company like Sony.

    • Carl Williams says:

      That is a good point. At this point in time, no one knows what Capcom plans in the future with updates to 5, especially if they will remain PS4/PC exclusives or not.

      As I mentioned in the article, just because SF5 is exclusive, that doesn’t guarantee any future editions that build on the base game will be exclusive. The only SF2 game that was exclusive in the 16-Bit war was the first one which was most limited compared to later iterations.

      How do you see Sony as a “dying company”? Not sure where you are getting your information there, can you elaborate a bit?

  4. […] carry over to the home version.  It did, and it continues today with Street Fighter V being a console exclusive just like Street Fighter II was.  Street Fighter II got around in the gaming world, it hit the […]

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