Why fighting games are no longer popular

Fighting games have reclaimed some of their long-lost fame lately, but they're still balancing between mainstream and niche. What's preventing the genre that used to be so popular from getting back into the limelight? There are several reasons for that.

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lptmg20d ago

absolutely no mentioning of Evo breaking record numbers every year? I'm not even a fan of that and I gotta admit that thing is big nowadays

Eonjay20d ago

I play Marvel vs Capcom every single day. There are people online.

FallenAngel198420d ago

Statistical data says otherwise

Born2Game8318d ago

Where is this data of yours? please provide it so we can see it. Don't give that google it shit. Cause I then you don't have any source to backup your claims.

FallenAngel198418d ago

Well if you insist

- Mortal Kombat X sold over 5 million units
- Tekken 7 sold over 3 million units
- Injustice 2 sold over 2 million units
- Dragon Ball FighterZ over 2.5 million units
- Super Smash Bros 4 sold over 9 million units
- Street Fighter V sold over 2 million units

I could go on but my point is clear. The fighting genre isn’t dead

WilliamSheridan18d ago

2 million units is a failure... You think these games only cost 70 million to make?

NapalmSanctuary18d ago

There is, in fact, a downward trend, but I wouldn't call the genre dead by any stretch of the imagination. The problem, IMO, is the dlc models. $25-$35 for a season pass is a massive ripoff. Tekken 7 is the last fighting game I bought and I'm not buying any dlc for it. I might buy Injustice 2 complete edition while its on sale for $18, but that game is so ugly that I'm hesitant to pull the trigger. As for games like DBFZ and Soul Calibur 6, I'll wait for complete editions, or big sales. Its just not worth $100+ dollars for a complete fighting game.

Another factor is quality. Capcom has had some serious issues with their big FG releases: SFV and MvC:I. Netherrealm games are plagued with bad animations.

@WilliamSheridan You got way too many people on the team if its costing you 70 mill to make a fighting game.

Flewid63818d ago

Amount sold vs amount that is still playing.

Good list, but the number of people who bought MK vs the folks who still play are abysmal.

Iceman100x18d ago

These numbers are all failures mortal kombat sold the most, but now it doesn't even exist.

Dom_Estos18d ago

If a thing doesn't sell 50 billion trillion units, it's regarded as a failure these days for some reason.

Edit - as perfectly illustrated by the simpleton williamsheridan already.

+ Show (2) more repliesLast reply 18d ago
Apocalypse Shadow20d ago (Edited 20d ago )

Like I've said before, sequel after sequel with the same fight engines and gameplay. It's stale. I've played long enough to know and was playing since karate champ, yie ar kung fu and way of the exploding fist. With way just another karate champ derivative.

Gamers gravitated to new fight mechanics with SF2, VF, mortal kombat, tekken and doa. But the other games are just derivatives of SF and VF. One opened up the 2D combo system over karate champ. The other opened up the 3D combo system over karate champ.

Unless there's a new IP created with a new combo system, it's just going to be the same tired franchises. I love fighting games. I just don't love being fed the same fight engines without something truly new.

We need a new fight engine that patterns real fighting. We have enough buttons and the graphics power to animate the moves. And, we have popular fighters that would bring in the casuals as well as the hard core. No one thinks of putting Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Michele Yeoh, Donnie Yen, Chuck Norris, Jim Kelly, or even masters like Ip Man, Wong Fei Hung,etc in a game. But it would be the ultimate fight game that would sell on names alone. And spread the love of martial arts.

Things won't change unless you ask for a new fighting game with evolved mechanics. Gamers will just move on like they already have to something else to play. And, how many gamers do you think would go to Esports thinking they are the REAL Bruce Lee?

Zeldafan6418d ago

Funny how you don't even mention Smash Bros

awdevoftw18d ago

It's not a real fighting game. More like a party game with some fighting mechanics.

Chaos_Order18d ago

You couldn't be more wrong if you tried. You're either being intellectually dishonest or you simply haven't played fighting games in the past decade.

Apocalypse Shadow18d ago

sure kid. never played fighting games.

Chaos_Order18d ago

"We need a new fight engine that patterns real fighting."
And we pretty much have that in the UFC series. A fight can be ended with a single well-placed blow to the head and the games have a depth that mirrors actual fighting on a high end level rather than the movie-fight "HOYYAAA!" approach. The mechanics may not be perfect, but they're at least close enough to what you seem to be asking for. Failing that the more recent games in the Fight Night series turn boxing into something more realistic and not a combo fest. Then we have more alternative fighting games trying new things like Divekick and Rising Thunder made to be much more accessible than the likes of SF and Tekken.
The thing is, you say fighting games can be so much more and then give your own personal example, but the fact is not everyone is going to like that. People enjoy regular fighting games because the mechanics, as rooted in the old as they are, WORK. Just like how the general mechanics and ideas for how 2D platformers should work from the original SMB can still apply to current gen games. Also while fighting games aren't as popular as they used to be they're still pretty popular, with games like MKX selling upwards of 5 million. It's more that other genres are now more popular and new genres have sprung up over the years giving fighting games some competition, and I don't think a game with martial art celebrities and more realistic fighting would change that in the slightest. It might have the looks but for a brand new system getting the balance right while still offering tons of variety would be near impossible without years of testing by hundreds of fighting game players. Balance is one of the most important aspects to current gen fighters for a lot of people, especially in an age where information is shared at a rapid pace, and balancing a fighting game can be a ridiculously arduous task. Games as broken as Tekken 4 would not fly in today's market of fighting game fans. Melee is only still played because it has a tournament rule list of banned tactics and stages the size of the Magna Carta.

agent453218d ago

Best comment ever, why the disagrees I don't understand. You are absolutely right is always Street Fighter, Tekken, Mortal Kombat, and now Soul Calibur over and over again. The only difference is the visuals but same gameplay, engine, etc....

Apocalypse Shadow18d ago (Edited 18d ago )

They don't understand because most of them are from this era of gaming. They don't know what has come before. I mean, I loved all of them in different ways like soul calibur(course soul edge was first when I played it in the arcade), and almost all SNK fighters. Loved Them. I still wish Sega would have updated Last Bronx to modernize it like Namco did with Soul Edge.
But Sega forgot about it and moved on.

Since I'm attacking their favorite fighting games, they don't see that companies like capcom, namco,etc are just updating the backgrounds, adding a few new characters and calling it a new game.

It's funny that eveyone calls for Bethesda to update their graphics engine as it is the same thing over and over looking stale. Everyone asks EA to update madden instead of their continuous roster updates. Activision updating Call of Duty and it's the same thing over and over.

But ask gamers to look for the fight engine to be updated beyond SF and VF, and they go crazy. The same rote motions to throw specials. The same tap tap nonsense. The same juggling nonsense. They just don't want any change. It's sad really. The fight genre will never move beyond where it is. And will never hit the level of popularity and craziness as when SF2 first showed up or when Yu Suzuki made Virtua Fighter. Now those were great times. Almost as big as when Pac Man showed up.

boing118d ago

Don't be ignorant. And Tekken changed its engine with latest iteration.

garos8218d ago

you dont know what you are talking about Street Fighter V is vastly different to SF4. cant comment on the latest tekken and sould calibur to be able to comment on that

UltraNova18d ago (Edited 18d ago )


I totally get what you are saying, the same thing can be said for the infinitely repeated soccer engine in FIFA and PES. Thing is, people got addicted to these formulas, its what they came to know and expect through decades of playing and getting addicted to them. They depend on this unchanging concept because they feel their competitive experience is carried over from iteration to iteration allowing them to feel confident in knowing their past experience will help them beat their friends or others Online and Pros win tournaments - familiar mechanics have allowed the development of a sense of dependability and security if you like among fighting/soccer gamers. Fighting and sports games mechanics in general have become an unshackable standard expected to carry over forever and we cant blame people for expecting, wanting this to stay the same.

You, me and others might see this as progress stagnation but some things are good and people enjoy them simply because they don't change, just like beer and burgers/pizza on a match day; I wouldn't have it any other way...

Hope this is clear.

agent453218d ago

I understand what you are trying to say. But shouldn't fighting games progress. We as gamers saw a CGI trailer of Tekken for PS2 which showed the future of fighting games; yet, it still remains a trailer. I understand with sport games due to you can't change the objective of the sport. Especially if the sport videogame is trying to be realistic. But with fighting games is possible to bring something new. During the PS One era fighting games did not only changed visually it changed gameplay wise. It was a time for fighting games to go from a 2D plane to 3D but also when game developers/publishers were willing to take risks. It was a time that gamers were playing fighting games like Bloody Roar, Bushido Blade, Tobalz (Square Enix fighting game). For crying out loud we got a Star Wars fighting game. During the PS2 era Mortal Kombat introduced a legit story driven fighting game. It was also during that era that BlazeBlue was born. Is time for the fighting genre to evolve again don't let it go to sleep again. Look at the PS3 era when in the final years of that era we saw fighting games again; do we want to go back to that.

UltraNova18d ago

"You, me and others might see this as progress stagnation but some things ..."

Notice the second word on the above quote from my comment? That means I also believe change and progress should not halt. But I cant fault devs being hesitant to disrupt their loyal customers expectations as I have described above.

For the sake of discussion, I'd love to see a AAA story driven semi-open world fighting game, think Yakuza but in Mortal Kombat, SF etc universes with some RPG levels, one that you dont get dragged into a 2.5D arena every time you need to fight someone but engage in full 3D real time combat. I'm not talking about some half-asses mode here, I want the full fat AAA treatment.

Apocalypse Shadow18d ago (Edited 18d ago )

Ultra, that was on point. Exactly.

They are so used to playing with the same game mechanics that they want to bring that over to the new game. The new game may have a few tweaks, but it will play almost like the one they already played. They're too scared to try something new.

When I played SF2, it didn't play like anything out there. Then other companies copied the formula. When VF came out, others copied the formula. Tweaks here and there. But I still recognize where it came from.

Doesn't mean I don't enjoy them. Or love ryu and the gang. Akira, Pai Chan and the gang,sub zero and crew, morrigan and the other night warriors,the kof gang,forrest law, li,Nina and the tekken roster and so on and so on. But nothing is changing.

The gamers waiting for smash brothers already know how is going to play without even playing it. They know. They just won't admit it.

And agent, yup. I still remember that tekken and Paul surrounded by fighters. I was like yeah. Can't wait for next Gen. Then tekken today still plays like the rest. Still love tekken 3 and the characters and music was on point. But it just never changes.

But you guys know what I'm talking about. Long time ago, I thought there was some potential with urban reign from the soul calibur and tekken team.

But they didn't take that engine and do anything with it after that game. And no game today matched the feeling of when bushido blade came out. Guess we'll just see companies just update the roster with one or two characters, new graphics and new background like always. Oh well.

AK9118d ago

You kinda sound like your talking outta your a** Apocalypse I’ve been in to fighting games since Tekken 3 and they’ve just been getting bigger and more popular, Now whilst I’m not a fan of Street fighter 5’s broken release the fact the game is still being supported and still has a lot of hype whenever a new character is announced.

agent453218d ago

Bigger how, you remember the CGI trailer of Tekken for the PS2 right. That was a glimpse of where fighting games should strive for. Don't you want the fighting genre to evolve?

Apocalypse Shadow18d ago

And you sound like a child ak. How many sf do you expect before you get something different?

SF25 :old man edition where they fight with canes and spit out dentures. After playing all the sf games, the championship editions, the turbos, the alphas, the 3D ex game, strike and the rest. You would think gamers would want something different with a new engine and a new combo system.

Guess not. You just love roster updates like madden. With a new mode thrown in. Stick a $60 tag on the box and call it new. How fun.

AK9117d ago

@Apocalypse the only child here is you, your argument is essentially fighting games aren't the way I want them to be so they suck, what kind of logic is that?

Look I despise how the FPS genre has become so microtransaction heavy, in the past it was one of my fav game types and even though I don't like the direction the genre has gone it would be silly to say it sucks because I don't like what it's become.

BigTrain17d ago (Edited 17d ago )

@Apocalypse @agent4532 @UltraNova
I totally agree with what you're saying and I laugh at all of the downvotes you received. The only explanation for those is youth. Don't get me wrong, some not so young people could be in that crowd but I'd put money on most of them being sub 28 at the least. My buddy and I loved the fighting genre since its inception in arcades, but now as it stands its rehash city. I get what Ultra was saying about gamers with invested time in these games wanting things to pretty much stay the same but gamers like myself, mostly older gamers are worn out on the industry being heavily sedated in the area of innovation. I am somewhat a collector of AAA franchises in certain genres across numerous consoles since the NES era. Ultimately I've been playing games long enough to see and feel *in my opinion* that the industry has changed wholly into a corporate profit driven business and when that happens the core of what once drove gaming as a hobby, which was innovation/tech no longer takes precedence over making a profit. For me personally this is why I'm glad all 3 console creators exist and is why I support all 3 even though I havent purchased a Switch. Unfortunately though, I think the disease that is the fighting game business model is nothing but a reflection of the entire industry. Bottom line, I am sick of purchasing games that are basically the same as the games I've been playing for 37 years. Sports games fall into this category as well, they dont get a pass from me just because they're sports. Sega and Visual Concepts created 2K sports and their football game was great. It's death was caused by EA securing the license from the NFL to exclusively make NFL football games and we've been stuck with Madden's annual rehash for over 13 years now.
Ultimately Apocalypse, I think that for these younger gamers to feel what we feel is gonna take them another 10 to 15 years of them playing and paying for the same rehashed games and I definitely believe that's exactly what will take place. When the marketing budgets match and sometimes exceed the development budget for games it shows you where the priority lies for publishers.
@ Ultranova The answer to addressing stagnation is to release a new IP altogether. That way whatever franchise fanboys have attached themselves to will be completely safe with their annual touchups. A truly new fighting game is something my friends and I have been dreaming of ever since Tekken, SF, and VF all reached iteration number 4 and we're well past that now.

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mcstorm17d ago

For me ide love to see more developers take the ki approach. Give us a game and then update every 12 months or so in the way ki did as this adds to it rather than paying £60 for a new game very 2 or so years.