Street Fighter V debuted this past week to both critical applause and equal public confusion. The game has been praised for its superb mechanics as a fighter, yet the game also has been criticized for lacking standard core features.
So far the cricitism is pretty balanced, at least in terms of factions. On one side professional players and commentators feel that the latest Street Fighter entry is a complete product, providing all the core features needed for the professional scene. Meanwhile, the casual fanbase and more critical media are lamenting the lack of the features, some going so far as to call Street Fighter V a version of Triple-A early access.
Yet, for the criticisms levied at the title, are they valid? Do fans have a reason — or a right — to be upset?
Street Fighter V is clearly designed from the get go to be a “service,” with may features coming as “free updates” at launch. However, “games as a service” has become a disturbing trend within the gaming industry itself, and Street Fighter V is yet the latest, and possibly highest profile case, of this practice in play.
Oftentimes game creators are accused of developing content only to strip it away from the final game to sell it piecemeal back to the consumer. Street Fighter V‘s claim is that all of the content currently missing or coming will be added as a “free” update. Yet this does nothing to dispel the notion that with Street Fighter V Capcom has, in a sense, tried to fabricate a service-based model where there really didn’t need to be one implemented.
This is keenly felt by casual fans who maybe don’t want to be forced to play online as their only way of really playing the game. The way it stands now, Street Fighter casuals, as they’re called by the “elite” of the Fighting Game Community, don’t have much to do. Sure, if you have a friend you can play some of the versus mode. I guess if you really want you can replay the five-minute long story segments for each character. But the idea of being able to choose a character and play a “best of three” match against the AI has been stripped out of the game.
Consequently, this is especially known to those players who don’t want to pay for PlayStation Plus just to play the core features of Street Fighter V. Let’s face it: with Street Fighter V’s dependency on online play, if you don’t have PS Plus, you quite literally don’t have access to the vast majority of the title. PC players needn’t worry about this as the platform doesn’t force players to pay to play their games online, but the instability of PC servers right now in Street Fighter V might as well feel like it. The lack of an arcade mode — and the sheer fact that Capcom didn’t truly make this public knowledge before the game launched — has burned a lot of fans, as evidenced by some early tweets above, looking for a way to simply sit back and play a few rounds of, what is by all accounts, a superb fighter.
So what can Capcom do to rectify this? For starters they can patch in — for free — a true arcade mode, as they’ve told Forbes they are looking into doing. Secondly, the company needs to be a bit more transparent and truly try and bring all of their consumers into the fold, not the select few that’ll make it to the top tournaments. Capcom gains nothing by alienating the fans, without which Street Fighter V cannot be a financial success. The company already had to rely on Sony coming in to foot some of the bill. Casual fans make up a larger fan base than the hardcore, competitive players. Don’t disregard them and their spending power.
Playing Street Fighter V? Have an opinion on the lack of Arcade mode in Capcom’s current fighter? Sound off in the comments below.
[Images via Capcom]