Again from our friend Kevin Williams of The Stinger Report, an open letter discussing the issue of the not-so-glowing coverage of the arcade industry in conventional game media:
Why dose the consumer game media want to try and shoot-down Street Fighter IV in the arcade?
We have seen first comments that the arcade version was rubbish, then we heard that it was only for Japan, then only for Japan, Taiwan and Australia, and now only limited international release. But most telling, we were told in a hoard of game web sites that the console version of SFIV was to be at the Leipzig Computer Expo, only to suffer amnesia and try and change the subject where Capcom confirmed they had never said that!
I have been asked by a number of arcade fans, what gives with the console game media – why do they have such a downer on amusement, especially when it comes to Street Fighter?
For me, the reason is able to be split into three parts:
1- We were wrong!
A number of journo’s are really pissed that they missed the Street Fighter hype for players to play it on arcade! You can see from the original coverage when the game was broke last year, media coverage moved from ‘denial’, then to ‘dismissal’, and finally to ‘derision’. They were caught wrong footed totally missing the popularity, and the fan sites gained the ground on reader interest – for this the aggression against arcade has grown, and we see the constant digging at the arcade release no matter how popular.
2- Where’s my money!
Always remember that the amusement industry dose not advertise in the consumer game magazines – so it has always been hard to get these guys to treat the market seriously. There has been a major change in marketing by Capcom to address this, taking Journo’s on expensive benders with SFIV coin-op machines present to try and turn the tide, feeling that they need to get everyone onboard to help push the brand – but some writers still sulk, partly due to the next point.
3- We don’t get it!
Like being wrong footed on gamer interest – a number of the current generation of consumer game writers come from a hard nose background that separates them from the core audience for gaming. They send more time at press junkets and game launches, having to rush reviews of 30-hour playtime console titles and have just lost the loving (if they ever had it) for playing. We are also seeing the fan sites leading the way in good coverage of gaming, getting how popular coin-op still is (which hurt the professional writers ego).
Well that’s my blinkered [I am an arcade head] view of why we have seen such a childish attempt to sideline and marline amusement. This whole Leipzig lie about seeing the console version of Street Fighter IV stands as a stark reminder that arcade is still treated as a [dead] black sheep in the gaming industry.
I also have found it interesting that in the same week where we start getting reports of arcades in the US getting their hands on the arcade version of SFIV we begin to see a flurry of news on the console versions of the game, which should serve as a reminder to arcade companies how the console version of a title can work to undercut their own game in arcades.