Street Fighter V has had its share of disappointments since arriving in 2016 from a poor release to installing dangerous backdoors for malware on players' computers. Capcom's latest brilliant idea is to extend the entire game with ads, transforming the most celebrated fighting game franchise of all time into a billboard.
The decision to insert "sponsored content" into Street Fighter V was attached to a recent update that made the game free-to-play for a limited time, allowing people to try out the game without buying it until December 19th. These new ads, which can be disabled in the options menu, slap Capcom. Pro Tour logo everywhere, from strategic positions in each character's clothing to the stages in which they fight. Leaving the linked ads will allow players to receive insignificant amounts of game currency. Players who leave the feature have also been treated with static full-screen ads for downloadable content before matches, and even when they enter the training mode.
While ads with downloadable and downloadable content are annoying and ugly, they are the characters who suffer most from this new initiative. Capcom did their best to cover each fighter in the colorful Capcom Pro Tour stickers, making them look more like Nascar vehicles than the individual and iconic characters they are. Guile, for example, trades his traditional American flag tattoo for the decal of the tournament.
Dhalsim's skull-and-cross necklace, which he uses to honor the young people of his village who succumbed to the plague, was desecrated on behalf of the promotion of the Capcom Pro Tour.
Some characters even had pieces of clothing added for your clothes in order to make more room for ads. Dhalsim, as you can see above, received a champion belt along with the elegant Urien, seen below.
The most notorious example, however, is courtesy of Akuma. The classic demonic fighter Shin Shun Goku Satsu super, who ends his back to the camera to display the Japanese kanji "sky", now shows the logo of the Capcom Pro Tour. It's hard to exaggerate just how iconic the attack inside the fighting game community is – Hajime "Tokido" Taniguchi posed in front of a projector in 2010 after defeating his opponent with the change – but I think Akuma's back was very immobile for developers to leave undefiled.
To be fair, this is not a new phenomenon, at least when it comes to Street Fighter VStages. In recent years, Capcom has launched downloadable content packages that include special arenas that highlight the importance of the Capcom Pro Tour and are commonly used in large events. These stages were often modified to display logos for Evo and Red Bull to match the current competition. The prevalence of logos in the last update raises new questions about the extent to which Capcom will promote brands within the Street Fighter V structure. For now, Dhalsim's necklace is honoring Capcom, which is odd enough given the context, but it would be even stranger to see a Red Bull logo there.
Street Fighter VOptional advertisements are a product of times. Many video games no longer contain experiences that only require shelf price and nothing more, and are ongoing services that continue to offer bonus content to the player for a price. Street Fighter V is a $ 60 product, and so far, the game would only milk its wallet by offering you more DLC fighters to buy. Ads in the game are predominantly predominant in free games, not in games for which you pay.
Is that a sign of things for a franchise that used to reign in the world of fighting games? Ads will remain endemic to brands that are common in the fighting game community (Red Bull is a frequent sponsor of tournaments) or will eventually expand to things like Burger King and Jones BBQ and foot massage? The pessimist in me thinks things will only get worse from here, but hopefully the community's negative reaction will encourage Capcom to be more careful with the logos, and how many expect players to stand.
Ian Walker loves fighting games and writes about them. You can find it on Twitter at @iantothemax.