Super Street Fighter IV is a Bad Move for Capcom
Capcom announced Super Street Fighter IV for Spring 2010. But it seems like the gaming giant forgot that the arcade is dead and incremental yearly updates to fighting games has little appeal to the home console market. It was a good idea in the arcade era because it drove players to habitually visit arcades in hopes of being surprised with another iteration of their favorite fighter with a brand new suffix/prefix tacked on. Heck, it didn't cost us players anything -- we drop the same 50 cents we always do in the same cabinet but this time we get an updated arcade board. The home market is not so conducive to this behavior of putting out perpetual betas and expecting gamers to buy it every year. Madden and its annual roster updates are bad enough. Should the fighter genre really model themselves after the sports genre?
In their press release, Capcom calls the upcoming Super Street Fighter IV the "ultimate vision of Street Fighter." It's as if to imply the version we bought in February is anything but an unfinished, unpolished beta they rushed to market and it'll take till Spring 2010 before they can release the "complete" version they meant it to be -- with T. Hawk and all. Do they expect players to pony up $40 next year, and then again in 2011 if they decide to release a Championship Edition of Super Street Fighter IV with another 3 characters added to the roster? We wouldn't put this move above publishers.
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Why again, I ask, won't Capcom reward early adopters and extend the life of their game by releasing these additional characters as optional DLC. Burnout Paradise is still going strong and Criterion's DLC release structure is a great model to follow. Capcom would easily have gotten my $5-10, but now they end up with nothing because I won't be buying it. Releasing a glorified expansion pack as a standalone game is simply a big mistake -- not choosing to release it as DLC may turn around and bite Capcom in the butt and slam support of the game headfirst into the floorboards.