Another great day to be a gamer…unless you bought an Xbox One. Sony and Capcom revealed that Street Fighter V will be exclusive to PS4 and PC at the PlayStation Experience event held this past Friday.
First off, this is a great move from Sony’s perspective. They don’t have their own first-party fighter. Microsoft have Killer Instinct and Nintendo have Super Smash Bros, both of which are doing extremely well on their respective consoles. Sony needed something to plug the hole and Capcom had the answer.
Second off, this looks a good move for Capcom, or at least a risk-mitigating move for Capcom. Capcom haven’t been doing too well of late, with poor sales for a lot of their big franchises. Resident Evil has been declining in quality and sales for a while, the latest Devil May Cry sold below original expectations and even the Street Fighter franchise itself is hardly a big hitter, making money of its many revisions rather than through sheer selling power. Add to that dismal failures like Lost Planet 3 and it’s easy to see why Capcom are being a bit tight with their money of late.
Yoshinori Ono, the series’ executive producer has been outspoken about wanting to continue the franchise, but hinted in the past that Capcom wouldn’t front the money for such a large investment:
“Realistically speaking, developing a title for next-gen consoles requires a huge amount of staff members, and a large sum of money.”
So it makes sense for Ono. He gets to make his game, Capcom gets to keep what little money they have to fund something else (*cough* Monster Hunter) and Sony gets its fighter. Everyone’s a winner. Except anyone who bought an Xbox One. Just like Microsoft’s acquisition of Tomb Raider’s timed-exclusivity, this is bad for gamers.
I know what you’re going to say. “But Ian, Street Fighter V wouldn’t have happened without Sony, so this is good for gamers”. Maybe. Maybe it wouldn’t have happened without Sony, but it should have. Street Fighter is one of Capcom’s most iconic franchises. If they aren’t willing to fund that, they or the franchise are in trouble.
Capcom are up a well-known creek without a paddle at this point. They can’t afford to be making the safe play if they want to dig themselves out of the hole. Capcom is allowing Sony to throw money at this because they aren’t convinced it’ll be a worthwhile investment. The money Sony gives them is a safer bet, but to be sure it’s less than they could make with a successful multiplatform release.
Fear has cost Xbox gamers the chance to play Street Fighter V, just as fear cost PlayStation gamers the chance to play Tomb Raider next holiday. Square were scared of running into Uncharted, Capcom is too scared to know what to do with its money and they don’t believe in Street Fighter.
Sony might have saved Street Fighter V, but Capcom is still a sinking ship. On the plus side for Sony fans, when they go under in a couple of years, Sony will probably buy the franchise rights for pennies.