Why Sales of Fighting Games Are Declining .....

Discussion in 'General' started by masterpo, Jun 1, 2019.

  1. masterpo

    masterpo VF Martial Artist Bronze Supporter

    Tekken 7, DOA 6, MK, SCVI, UFC 3, etc didn't sell what they should have or even could have. Its not that gamers have left fighting games, its fighting games have left gamers.

    Since the PS2 and Xbox versions of most of these fighting games there has been a steady de-emphasis on single player content and the AI in fighting games. The focus has move more and more to online features and multiplayer.
    Fighting games started shipping with fewer modes, thinner stories, and fewer characters, fewer unique fighting styles while increasing the number of for-pay customizations as DLC.

    So the fighting game producers have increasingly shipped less features and less single player content, while increasing prices and micro-transactions.

    Also there has been a noticeable (very noticeable) decline in the quality of the AI in fighting games. A good challenging balanced AI used to be the hallmark of a a good fighting game. Now game developers cut cost by investing little or nothing in approving the AI or adding new AI fighting styles to game.

    We are in a time when Artificial Intelligence is making great strides in all kinds of areas. But going in reverse in fighting games. Tekken 7, DOA 6 , SC6, UFC3, etc should have shipped with

    • Adaptable AI
    • Configurable AI
    • Improved AI (as a result of machine learning against the big data of saved on line matches)

    At this point in 2019 the AI in fighting games should at minimum rival human players and tbh the AI in fighting games should offer a far superior experience to the gamer. In 2019 we should be able to get into a match with the game's AI and be in for the fight of our lives. Recent advances in AI technologies are just that goodo_O But , Team Ninja, Project Soul, Bamco,etc are just not spending budgetary dollars on enhancing AI.

    Instead they focus on online modes (where there is no AI expense) and the human players have to supply all the expertise. This is the cheapest possible way to produce a fighting game. From the game developers point of view:

    Good Single Story modes cost extra money!
    Single PlayerGame Modes cost extra money!
    High Quality Balanced AI costs extra money!

    on the other hand 2 player and online modes are the cheapest way to go, and if you can sell costumes for extra cost as DLC the more profit for the shareholders.

    So the next time the publishers or game produces claim to be not making new fighting games because the last one didn't meet or exceed sales expectations, remind them of the fact that they've cut the best features out of fighting games. The features that keep players coming back again and again.

    Players if you can't understand why the FGs don't sell the way they use to consider this, its not because ppl don't like FGs the way they use to, its because the game developers don't make fight games the way they use to.

    Really Good Graphics use to be enough to generate a certain amount FG sales back in the day, but today FGs need plenty of Single player content, they need strong, diverse and challenging AI, and a balanced fighting game engine. These things would be the basic core. On top of those add a wide roster of unique fighting styles. (The trend these days is to remove fighting styles and streamline the ones that remain for online competition reasons :mad:)

    There use to be a time when we looked forward to new and more unique fighting styles in a FG. Now the worry is whether your favorite character is going to be cut from the game (who even looks for new fighting styles) or whether half the move set is going to be taken away (in order to appeal to the broadest possible audience)

    Fuck the FG developers if they won't give the FG community what they really want. AFAIC It can all
    end with VF5FS:cool:

    Fighting games have been here for decades now, it should not be a secret as to what it takes to make a solid fighting game that will keep fans coming back:

    1. A solid Balanced Fighting Engine (lots of offensive options , lots of defensive options)
    2. A solid Balanced diverse AI with (easy, normal, hard, impossible, and adaptable) difficulties
    3. A solid and wide roster of unique fighting styles
    4. The basic fighting game modes (Arcade, Survival, Team Battle, Tournament, Event)
    5. A 2 player mode (where each player can load their own profiles and use any of the other modes)
    6. Some kind of story mode (or at least intros for each character)
    *** Optional Online Modes

    I know many FG fans especially on VFDC would place online modes with a higher priority or at least necessary. But it should be obvious by now that online modes although nice to have are not keeping the FG genre growing and they are not the bread-n-butter of fighting games. In fact the Fighting Game genre did just fine for a decade or so with no online capability at all. Actually in the hey day of fighting games there were only single player and 2 player modes (no online). single player and 2 player in arcades. Single player 2 player at home.

    Actually the Fighting Game genre began its decline as single/two player features were dropped and de-emphasised in favor of online modes .
  2. Lygophilia

    Lygophilia Well-Known Member

    Well, if you ask me, FGs was always past it's prime, with a few exceptions of FGs from early 2000. I still come back to this genre, because other genres tend to be more flat these days.

    The genre has been niche for years, but adding unnecessary things and being safe, in my opinion, makes it worse to me.

    Online play is something I don't care for, but if it has the right netcode and a good ranged community, then it can have merit. However, having it forced on us these days with certain fighting games, is where I draw the line. I miss the arcades.

    To me, it doesn't matter the outcome of what developers do with their fighting games, as the audience either like it or they don't, which most won't anyway. I remember making a topic in another forum on fighting games and what are their dislikes. Most say it was too difficult for them over the other crowd saying lack of reasonable content. The other crowd answer was repetitive and boring. It's the same range of answers for years.
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2019
    beanboy and masterpo like this.
  3. masterpo

    masterpo VF Martial Artist Bronze Supporter

    Yes, agreed.

    Fighting games are not for everybody and really never have been. Way back when for a little while they were a fad , and were features in movies and pop culture, and were a major attraction in arcades. But even then that was still a minority of the population. It was at the beginning of the video game craze and game developers and publishers were stunned at just how many people would play video games! The fighting games were just riding that waveo_O Back then, for the video game makers to see hundreds of people a day playing their arcade machines was a really big deal when arcade machines first came out. Or if some early P.C. or game console sold 300,0000 copies that was considered very successful.

    And TBH if a FG sold 500,000 - 1,000000 copies in 1989 that would have been considered a massive success. Those same sales in 2019 are not enough for today's greedy game publishers and producers. If the exact same number of players that bought DOA6 or Tekken 7 or VF5FS had bought Street Fighter in 1987 it would have been considered a blockbuster and would have been on the front page of the Wall Street Journal.

    Some would argue that because it costs publishers more to make games they need more sales, higher prices, micro transactions, a larger audience etc. That's just bullsh#@ I'm a software developer and I can tell you, the software tools are far superior today than they were in late 80's and early 90's. With todays software tools, 3d graphic editors, 2d graphics editors, one developer can do in a day what it would take 10 developers a week to do. The game engines today are so powerful and easy to use(in some instances) that even non professionals could make a good looking game. (just download Unreal Engine 4 or Unity and try it) In addition to all of that VF, Tekken, SC, MK, etc rely on code and libraries, files, animations, graphics, stages and mo-cap that have been in their games for decades. They do not start from scratch every time they make a new fighting game:cautious: So all that crap about recovering costs is just crap. These publishers are just greedy, and everybody is out to maximize profit. Everybody is trying to get filthy rich off their (intellectual property) Everybody wants to make millions and millions of dollars for ideas they had 20 years ago.

    So its not enough for a fighting game developer to make a good fighting game, that FG fans would love, the publishers wants a game that every gamer will buy and any gamer could play (not just FG fans). Its not good enough to sell 500,000 to 1 million copies. The FG Fan market is just too small for today's greedy publishers they want to sell 3 to 5 million copies with every release. So to achieve that goal game publishers/producers have watered down the games and streamlined the features in hopes of reaching maximum market penetration. And all they've really done is alienate the true fighting game fans (hence the decline in FG sales).

    The number of people truly interested in Fighting Games has remained roughly the same over the last 20 years. Its just the publishers have tried to artificially force that number to grow by trying to make a fighting game stretch beyond its original market. Shame on the greedy mother fuckers:mad:
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2019
  4. The_Nth_Degree

    The_Nth_Degree Active Member

    I find it ironic that you are writing walls of text about fighting games lacking modes, when Virtua Fighter has the least modes of any fighting game. Most Sega arcade ports were notoriously having barebones minimal modes on console since the 1990's. Still , Saturn VF2 was the first console fighting game to have a learning AI feature. It was of course limited by the hardware, but it saved it's learned data on the systems built in lithium battery backed up memory.

    My main gripe about fighting games today is the industry has gotten so cheap, the wont publish strategy guides anymore. I miss having the game's bible next to me when learning a new game.
    masterpo likes this.
  5. masterpo

    masterpo VF Martial Artist Bronze Supporter

    Well, I'm not just writing walls of text about VF. I'm making a general statement about the fighting game genre(especially 3D FG). Tekken 7 has less modes, DOA 6 has less modes, compare SC6 to SC 2 (considerably less modes) ,etc. Yes VF has always been bare bones, but even they started to drop single player features e.g VF5FS doesn't even keep count of your wins/losses in single player mode, dropping of replay feature for single player, removing animations of all moves from the dojo command list training, dropping of PR statements in single player, etc. One of the points I'm making is that single player content has been sacrificed in favor of a focus on online mode functionality. Not just in VF but virtually all the major fighting games. Even in Sports Fighting Game Simulators. Compare UFC Undisputed 3 to UFC 3.

    Yes agreed on missing the strategy guides. ( My VF5 strategy guide is in my view right now) Originally the argument was Prima, Brady stopped making them because of the printing cost or they became obsolete too fast. So Brady and Prima for a while were producing E-versions of the guides. Now they don't even do that. Dude its all about making maximum profit for these publishers/producers if they can't sell millions and millions of something they don't bother making it.

    And VF's Trainable and adaptable AI from VF4 (I've never played VF2) was an incredible innovation. AM2 was way way way ahead of the curve on that. IMO that trainable adaptable AI should have been a standard part of every VF release;)
  6. beanboy

    beanboy Well-Known Member


    And yeah, I miss the days of strategy guides, and game pro magazines too.:)
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2019
  7. The_Nth_Degree

    The_Nth_Degree Active Member

    If it's a dead topic then why are you reading it? What have you contributed to this conversation besides your own narrow minded opinion. Nobody buys fighting games for story modes? And you speak for everybody ? Have you seen the sales of Tekken 7 , Injustice and MK 10? Those games have excellent story modes and have sold over 4 million copies each. No correlation, right? Nobody finds satisfaction in beating an AI opponent? Again very subjective. Not everybody wants to win the nerd olympics or finds the time to travel to play a damn fighting game. Some people enjoy the convenience of just picking up and playing a game against AI. Unless the game is fundamentally poorly designed, it should still be fun to beat an AI opponent. The wider the range of demographics a game developer tries to reach, the better the chances of high sales. Why don't you take off your fanboy blinders, stop smelling your own farts and wake up and smell the coffee.
    Wiztick and masterpo like this.
  8. masterpo

    masterpo VF Martial Artist Bronze Supporter

    Sadly Epileptech after all this time, you really have no idea what you're talking about.

    1rst. Even after 7 years Virtua Fighter is demonstrably better than every other 3D Fighting game being sold today. That is a true fact because I say so. And I'm after all of this time what is called in the vernacular an expert on 3D fighting games. VF currently has the best AI of any fighting game being sold today. Not just a little better but better by a factor of at least 5. From my 4k television VF running on my Cell powered PS3 looks better than any fighting game being sold today.

    2nd, you obviously, obviously know nothing about the history of chess in the field of Artificial Intelligence. If you did you would not have made such a ridiculous statement. I can only imagine that you really truly don't understand the Kasparov vs Deep Blue Saga


    And personally I play a Fuckin lot of chess against the computer. Its about the only real competitor I can find within 200 miles. And I feel fucking magnanimous when I win.

    I can only assume your knowledge about Artificial Intelligence is at the layperson's level. And that you probably have the same misconstruction about Artificial Intelligence in games that most ppl do. Here is a fact. For a true fan of a fighting game there is no better competitor than a properly designed, dynamic adaptable Artificial Intelligence. I have played a few hundred thousand rounds of VF against humans over the past 15 years. Besides the fact that those humans are not always ready to play when I want to play, or the fact they are not always available to play when I want to play, or they don't want to play as long as I want to play, humans ultimately become predictable, and boring. The game play ceases to be fresh and surprising or refreshing. I would have none of these problems with a properly designed dynamic, adaptable, and scalable AI opponent. In fact some of my most enjoyable game play is against the AI that I trained in Virtua Fighter 4. With an AI ,I can strive for complete perfection.

    Human players are if nothing else, fallible. That is probably why you enjoy playing against other humans so much. Capitalizing on mind games, looking for their weaknesses, flaws, counting on their mistakes, and slow reflexes, hoping and wishing that they drop the combo. :sneaky: On the other hand, I prefer pitting my skills against algorithms, heuristics, machine learning, answer set programming, first order logic models all implemented in impossible to beat cpu opponents. Its the only truly refreshing fighting challenge for me. Of course the AI that I have today, is not the AI that I want. But it will get there. For me , my ideal AI will be my ultimate sparring partner, where there are no limitations in style, speed, reflex, or character movement permutation where I can engage in virtual martial arts bliss.

    3rd, Fighting Games were Single player, before they were 2 player. Again you're simply wrong. The first computer based fighting games featured a person vs the cpu. Two player was added after they figured out how to do single player right.

    Of course there are some ppl who only play fighting games so they can play against another person. But you obviously don't know there are thousands and thousands of players who play fighting games and are only interested in the single player experience. So, you're simply wrong. Just because the single player experience is not for you doesn't mean that its not for me:cool: Just because you could care less about a good story mode, it does detract away from the fact that I might buy a FG only if it had a good story mode.

    To clarify things a little further for you Epileptech. I'm shaolin, the mirror match is the only true match for me. In the Shaolin temple there are three kinds of men: students, disciples and masters. Development of the mind can be achieved only when the body has been disciplined. From the crane we learn grace and self-control. The snake teaches us suppleness and rhythmic endurance. The praying mantis teaches us speed and patience. And from the tiger we learn tenacity and power. And from the dragon we learn to ride the wind. All creatures, the low and the high, are one with nature. If we have the wisdom to learn, all may teach us their virtues. Between the fragile beauty of the praying mantis and the fire and passion of the winged dragon, there is no discord. Between the supple silence of the snake and the eagle’s claws, there is only harmony. As no two elements of nature are in conflict so when we perceive the ways of nature, we remove conflict within ourselves and discover a harmony of body and mind in accord with the flow of the universe. It may take half a lifetime to master one system.

    My friends call me masterpo, and it is commonly known that I am lastmonk defender of the weak, and protector of the helpless. I currently hold the title of VF Martial Artist and here is my advice to you:

    Respect the game son, and the game will respect you. Disrespect the game and the game will disrespect you:holla:
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2019
  9. masterpo

    masterpo VF Martial Artist Bronze Supporter

    For some of us, the forums give us an opportunity to be who we really are, or who we would like to be. For some of us the forums give us a chance to discover who we are or who we are not. Every thought that a person has is a 'real thought' or they wouldn't have it. That thought can represent many things, but it exists and it is real. When a person has a thought it is a manifestation of some inner reality. A person cannot even play a character that they do not relate to in some real way. I bring life to Lei Fei and Lei Fei brings virtualization to me. Out of all the characters in VF that I could have chose to main, I chose Lei Fei. He extends my sense of self to the virtual martial arts.

    Epileptech, before you can really do the 'two player thing' you've got to work out the 'single player thing'. The thousands and thousands and thousands of us that prefer single player are doing just that. "Know Thy Self" From Kemet to Socrates its always been about single player first.
  10. beanboy

    beanboy Well-Known Member

    Gamers including myself, have always known for years, that nerfs, ridiculous nerfs and moves being removed, are a big part of sales declining.
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2019
  11. beanboy

    beanboy Well-Known Member

    You wouldn't believe how close to true that statement is.
    I myself have said the same thing as well.

    Interestingly, back in my fighting game days, I have heard numerous fighting game veterans, and fans, make similar statements.

    Game companies eg. capcom, namco, midway etc. are to blame for that too. Because they have a tendency, to ditch their original game audience, who helped make their game popular etc. And strip down and nerf their fighting games, with a ton of balance patches, in order to try to cater to casual gamers, who they categorise as the larger broader main stream audience. And throw in a ton of guest characters, to get new players to play their game, and make more money etc.

    In a sense, fighting games have left gamers, and become something else, other than being a fighting game. They're more about making easy money, guest characters, tons of ridiculous nerf patches to appeal to certain pro gamers and casuals, paid dlc, and repetitive basic boring gameplay, than being a fighting game. It's all about business.


    Hopefully, if VF6 is real, sega doesn't get greedy after time, and become like other fighting game companies, like namco, capcom etc. nerf all of the VF characters, and strip down the gameplay, to appeal to evo pros, Tekken fans and casuals. I think that is what worries some VF fans, including myself, that sega as a company, might go that route, to fit in with what people call main stream gaming.

    The thing is, if sega does end up like that, or do that crap with VF6, then I will not buy Virtua Fighter 6. Instead, I'll save my money and buy something else.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2019
  12. Jason Elbow

    Jason Elbow Well-Known Member

    Jason ELBOW AKT
    ...Or keep playing VF5FS.
    MadeManG74 and beanboy like this.
  13. beanboy

    beanboy Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I'm not surprised at all.

    A few months ago, I heard gamers including Max Dood say, that MK11 sold well, but poorly, in comparison to MKX.

    In the case of Soul Calibur 6, I'm not surprised at all. I mean alot of their original Soul Calibur 1 fanbase, left a long time ago, since the dreamcast Soul Calibur. Probably because, they were pissed off, that Soul Calibur 2 and it's sequels, were nerfed down, basic versions, of Soul Calibur 1 that they played on the dreamcast. And that guest character fan service thing,........is another story.:p
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2019

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