At a recent Capcom press event in Santa Monica, CA, journalists had yet another opportunity to sit down with the arcade version of Street Fighter IV but this time they had an opportunity to watch one of the true masters of the game, Seth Killian. Seth is Capcom’s senior community manager and their resident SF expert and he is so good at the game that they not only named the final boss after him, he can also play the game one-handed. I would embed the video here but since such a thing is not allowed on WordPress you’ll have to hit the link. [Gamesradar, image credit Gamesradar]
As cool as that it is, what is not cool is Capcom USA’s continued showings of the arcade version of SFIV in the US while still saying nothing about an actual release. The clock is ticking when it comes to the console release and while some fans would prefer to in arcades to the home (from our own poll done here a while back) the historical wisdom is that sales always drop when the home release makes it’s way out and for a game that is rumored to be $14,000 (Capcom USA’s asking price) it puts operators in a difficult position. Especially where it looks like you could still import a kit and an HD cabinet from Japan for about half than that price. Like it or not, operators have to worry about ROI – if they don’t make money they go out of business and there is no place to play. At least there is a glimmer of hope since the arcade cabinet is being shown at various events but I’m beginning to wonder if that is all we will ever officially see of SFIV arcade in the US, as a press event hook and nothing else.
Also in other SFIV news, this time out of Japan the NESYS card system is ready to go, where players can buy save cards that keep track of their stats/rankings while tieing everything together with the internet. There are four different card designs at the moment with others to come. It’s doubtful that such a system would make it to the US, perhaps it would in the UK since there is little aversion to card systems there. Personally I like card systems, it gives something for players to collect and they don’t have to worry about the operator erasing their stats from the machine. [D+ Media]
there is a growing concern that Capcom USA is using the arcade machines as their own private arcade for friends and journos. Keeping the machines away from test or evaluation in facility as was the original plan.
All trade media is being stonewalled over the status of the Two UK and two US machines – we are tempted to go directly to Capcom Japan to see what they say!
It seems to me that Capcom is actually enticing large crowds with the arcade version of Street Fighter IV with the purpose of influencing distributors that an arcade version is still desirable to the public and profitable. I think that Capcom still cares a lot about arcade versions, and this is probably their grassroots approach for a shot at legitimate U.S. distribution and resurgence in new, joystick-based arcade games.
fubarduck – I understand what your saying, but lets avoid revisionist observations.
The fact is that Capcom US has been holding onto their two cabinets, and avoiding talking to amusement trade. The same is true with Capcom UK; I hear that the machines are old code monkeys shipped back in March, but never went on the promised test.
What has forced recent promises to present machines at conferences and tournies is from hardcore player pressure on leading forums, and danger of negative reaction from influential players.
The Japanese were told there was no international arcade business or interest (we have a report from the only UK distributor approahced and it makes uncomfortable reading). Now they find that the player fan bases were baying for the games, and in a reversal of interest suddenly Capcom staffers had to try and present the game.
It is interesting that one staffer had to admit that they have been playing the game (arcade) in secret all the time and were addicted, the system had been shipped for arcade Loctest which never happened (I wonder why!!) Another staffer admitted that they had not really worked hard to get the machine out as they did not want to “over shadow the console release!!”
Best to say that Capcom US and UK have had their hands jogged to show the machines; and this claim is that it is a plan to get arcade support is a little rose tinted spinning!
… oh and by the way, I have the email from a certain Capcom staffer about what they really wanted to do with the arcade distributors – and legitimation was not on the agenda!
I’m sure that your sources are reliable, I just find it far fetched from a business perspective that they genuinely believe an arcade release would cause consumers to not purchase a console version of the game in the U.S. or U.K. How many Street Fighter players do you know that didn’t purchase a console version of their favorite fighter as soon as it was available?
If anything, it would be because they believe arcade distribution would be a burden on the company’s manpower or finances. Do you think something like that has come into play, or that the main reason is less obvious?
My sources did not allude to a fear of coin-op causing purchase problems for the consumer. You are spot on with the burden observation.
The phrase “…could not be assed!” seems to sum it up. Staffers dipped a toe in their respective arcade operations leads – got overwhelmed, made some fundamental errors and then just threw their hands up and stuck the test machines in their back rooms. and emails JP saying “arcade is dead here!”
It was the fan site pressure – i.e. Capcom JP sees irate fans, emails their local staffers, and punches some buttons that caused the ‘reversal’. Word on the street is that the $14,000 cab price may change as well (will miracles never cease).
My crystal ball seems to point to a no show for SFIV (V1) coming to the States or UK, but the V2 kit might make landfall!