How can SF get more casual fans?

I consider myself a casual fan but there are not many of us…you look at COD and the EA sports games and you wonder how they can lure people.
People buy consoles just for FIFA and they dont even like video games how can the casual fan get back to fighting games.
I start this thread as Ono said he didn’t have the R&D to look at Street Fighter 5
Capcom need the money of the guy who can only hadoken and shoryuken to keep delivering to it’s more dedicated fans, whether he’s a noob, disgrace or whatever. And in my experience very few casuals play Street Fighter and financially a company cant survive just off the hardcore and dedicated

Capcom tried to address this problem in SFXT by making inputs easier and make it more comic/ smash bros like however this didn’t really work. Lot hard to learn to FADC than fire a gun like a mad man in COD. How can the game be kept pure but attract a more diverse range of players.

Make it F2P with each additional character being $2.

Doesn’t work on consoles, but nice try.

they already did this

it’s called make SF4 and make mashing reversal be awesome

Yup, pretty much.

Also, don’t forget make the inputs more lenient and block stun really low.

To the OP: We have more causal players messing around with SF now than we have since the 90s. Do we really need more casual players?

Add tripping

SF is just inherently hard to play and hard to get into. I’m still a newbie myself and the biggest barrier for me is learning combos and getting the timing right. Games like FIFA and CoD are so popular because they’re easy and are made to appeal to a wide as possible audience. If you know how to use a controller or M+KB then you can play CoD. If you wanna even have a chance at SF then you gotta get down all these mechanics. Spamming Hadokens and Shoryukens only gets you so far.

Also CoD’s marketing probably costs more than developing the game itself.

I disagree, a f2p option (alongside a full release, ala DOA5U) would be an excellent way for folks to try out the game.

  1. Make a free2play PC version and current gen console versions too. Keyword is PC for the bulk of players that cannot find or afford a console. I know how this sounds but everybody and his mother has a $500 - $1000 pc while not everybody has $250 to invest in a gaming only machine. Use the LoL model - characters can be unlocked via points that you win by playing, skins for $2 each. Make an option to buy all characters for $39, all skins for an additional $29. Have 2-3 free characters cycling from a hefty cast each week. Game doesn`t need to be as polished as SF4, can be polished in iterations, people are already used to that.

  2. This free2play version has MK9 level of execution for specials and ultras but depth of gameplay is comparable to SF4. For example swap quarter circle right with down-right, ultras can be performed with the push of 2 buttons etc. This will make it easier for new players to use moves on reaction. The most frustrating thing about sf is that until you invest hundreds of hours in practicing motions you cannot use your moves reliably on reaction. Most players quit in the first 5 hours (or less) of frustration. The advantage is that removing this skill floor doesn`t take away from the skill ceiling and keeps the same level of depth.

  3. Make links easier by allowing a few frames for queued inputs. Again doesn`t take away from strategy, takes away from the execution barrier. Reward good links (1 frame links) with longer combo posibilities or less damge scaling or something to actually give an advantage to the more mechanically skillful player but let people that want to mash enjoy some combos when they want to enjoy them. This is key to removing frustration, which is the most important thing keeping new players away from the game. The first 100 hours you get as a SF player is that you will never be able to perform those fancy stuffs that good players perform = quit

  4. Make an easy to understand system of cancels, similar to sfxt and explain it to them - think of sfxt as the best cancel system around for newbies

  5. Make it social - chats, ingame forums, friend lists, achievements, profiles, icons, replays, straight to youtube uploading, facebook sharing, twitch streaming from the game itself and all that VISIBLE DIRECTLY INGAME. No special “social” layer like steam, gfwl, xbl, xfire. Make it part of the game proper. Also no possibility of opt out of this social features, always somewhere on your screen (not during gameplay, while in menus). The players that would want to opt out of this are not the players you want to cater to. In this day and age, privacy is overrated.

  6. Give the illusion that everybody is competitive. Make a world ladder, but have small ladders for all the reasons you can think of - character ladders, continent ladder, country ladder, city ladder, neighborhood ladder, skin ladder, ladder created from people on your friends list, ladder for each and every game mode, time spent in game ladder, time played with a character. Whatever you can think of and combinations of them so that everybody is top 8 somewhere. Doesnt matter if you think its pointless that someone is nr. 1 on “time spent in game doing nothing ladder” - the guy`s ego is still boosted enough to play more.

  7. Make automated tournaments. The server creates hourly server-wide free entry tournaments that act as qualifiers for server-wide daily tournaments that act as qualifiers for monthly tournaments that act as qualifiers for yearly tournaments. Dillute this number of tournaments until you get a possible tournament for anybody that has 30 minutes to play per day. If they win, reward them with qualification for something bigger and something to brag about. The key here is to prominently feature this tournament results in your social features and that they have to reward with something tangible - points or something

I am rather sure that game like this, if done right, will not only be hugely successful riding on the hype around fighting games lately but a good and rewarding game in itself. Also a huge plus for the future of fighting games, might usher a new era.

Now hate on me

Good post, it is hard to get into and what everyone here forgets is they represent about 5% of the sales or less if it was just the Shoryuken crew playing Street Fighter the game would be broke dead and buried the more the merrier.

f2p is a possibility. If done right it could bring in new players as they can try it out without any risks. The only problem is it’s critical that it’s done right. There’s not many games that did it really well. LoL did it well but even then it could be a lot better. Valve probably has the most ideal model but the problem with theirs is that aesthetics could be harmed. SF characters are very distinct for the most part and some costumes just don’t work.

I’m not sure about making the game easier though. Lowering the skill floor may also unintentionally lower the skill ceiling, some people are already mad that SF4 is “dumbed down”.

Making the game social and giving people a tangible goal is definitely something that should be considered. SF might also need some fun game modes like what MK has.

As for competitive ladders, I don’t really think that’s too necessary. They tried to do this in LoL but in reality no one cared what position they were in their ranking bracket. All they cared about is how many wins it would take to be promoted.

There’s a lot of ways SF could improve but I honestly don’t see any of it happening until SF5.

My 2 cents about making the game easier - fighting games will never be popular outside of the hardcore community unless they become piss easy to control. You shouldnt give a damn that some sf4 players are mad that the game is easy (which is not, its the hardest game i have ever played, and that says something as im 30, been playing games for 25 and work in the industry), make it as easy as call of duty even if you lose some skill ceiling (that loss can be avoided or minimized with good game design) and ignore the "angry" players. Its better for the community to have 10 mil scrubs that duke it out online and offline than 100 masters that are angry that everybody can play. Sensible, less angry people will move to the easier, more vibrant game while the too hardcore will still play their game. Win-win. Maybe that out of those 10 mil scrubs 100 new masters at their game will arise. But probably more. Again, see LoL competitive. Even if its not necessarily my favourite game of all time, i do believe that its one of the best games ever made from all possible aspects.

Playes in LoL didnt care about what position they are in ladders because there was a promotion in the first place. Dont label the ladders (gold, silver blah blah), just make different ladders for different things (as i explained above) and give position to every player in all that ladders. At the end of the match, update that position and let him know. Let him see that he climbed from place 25 to place 10. That`s more rewarding than anything.

If you design for mass market success and you already have a good, appealing game,your main goals are the following - minimize frustration and shower with rewards. The more extreme length this is taken to, more chances are that someone who wouldn`t play your game in the first place will pick it up and like it. Zynga did it and for some time they seemed unstoppable. Their failure was in the basics - shitty games and money grabs. Currently fighting games - aside from Mortal Kombat/Injustice and SSMB - offer nothing but frustration and lack of reward for hundreds of hours of gameplay but their advantage is that they are solid, fun, appealing games which gives them a huge advantage over other free2play games

The monetization model has to be balanced and must not, by any means, resemble Zynga or Candy Crush Saga. I will repeat, MUST NOT ASK FOR MONEY EVERY 10 MINUTES or ever for that matter. MUST NOT LIMIT THE TIME YOU CAN SPEND PLAYING THE GAME. MUST NOT LIMIT YOUR ABILITY TO WIN. Let players decide that they WANT to buy your shit, just like LoL did. Let them see those fancy skins on others and want to have them too, because the game is fun and they keep coming back to it. You cannot win or get ANY advantage in LoL by paying cash. And LoL has one of the highest conversion rates in the industry (free customers that turn into paying customers). And make it so that if someone wants to buy the full game, upfront, with all chars and costumes, they are able to (LoL is at fault here for not really having this option).

All other concerns, like aesthetics, can be addressed with good design. That is not for us to debate, that`s for a creative team to find a good balance. And i am sure that Capcom is competent enough to do that (or any other company that is contemplating making game on the lines i detailed above).

you need to be more specific about what you want changed. you want execution to be easier? you want the game to slow down so people have more time to think about spacing and reactions? you want defensive options to be heavily stacked so that new players don’t feel in danger against strong players with well-developed offensive games?

if not those, what else? all those things already happened in the transition from classic SF to SF4. and people still think it’s really hard.

I think you have a real misunderstanding of the genre or at least the players. People aren’t mad that “everyone can play.” New players still get smashed in SF4, same as they ever did in any fighting game. They just get destroyed in a different environment where a different set of decisions are rewarded. People who hate SF4 don’t hate it because everyone can play, they hate it because the offense-defense interaction and risk-reward of specific situations do not line up with the games they love. Decisions made in development to make the game more inclusive did not actually accomplish that goal. They just made it so you had to respect poor defense more and develop technology to get around it.

As a noob, sf is not easy. So stop saying it is. Maybe it is for some people. But I tried practicing and was still garbage for like a year and a half. Most people are not willing to practice and then games like sf and kof require lots of practice time to actually be decent. Casual and practice do not go together. The most obvious answer is lower the execution barrier to make for less practice time and more playing time.

SF is as easy as any other competitive game. other competitive games are just better at convincing you you’re better than you are by matching you with like-skilled players or giving you small rewards along the way. so it’s fine that you got second to last place in a FPS because at least you got two more kills than last time or you moved up your SC2 local ladder by one step. you feel the improvement on a micro level and see accomplishments.

the problem is not with the game. it’s that the level these new players are trying to get to is really far away and they don’t perceive it correctly. add that the game isn’t making any effort to pretend you’re better than you are (matchmaking is basically random and every match is either a win or loss) and you get new players with the perception that SF is really hard because they can’t do the same stuff they see Daigo doing or they get raped the first time they venture into online matches.

I think most other competitive games are better at lying to you or at least breaking the truth to you gently. Most people don’t complain that SC2 is too hard because they can’t play like the top Koreans. they just accept that the top Koreans are better at the game by a very large gap. suddenly when you move to fighting games it’s not that the skill gap is immense it’s that the game is just too hard. skill gaps between new and top players will always be immense in any good competitive game. if it isn’t, you aren’t playing a competitive game. you are playing some variation on Mario Party. if fighting games had the kind of playerbase some of these PC titles have and they could match you to players of close skill and good connections, I think a lot of these misconceptions of fighting games being hard would disappear.

It IS pretty easy, though. Most people are bad for reasons that have nothing to do with pure execution. Making execution easier won’t change that.

Maybe something like teaching footsies would, but I’m not sure how a game could go about doing that on its own.

A good tutorial mode that teaches specific concepts would go a long way towards helping with the initial hurdle as well. You can teach player the moves, zoning, anti airs, footsies, using throws and mixups to break defense. All these things can be taught in a guided tutorial mode that would help new players immediately grasp how the game is played.

In that sense I suppose fighting games are difficult. The beginning plunge is quite large and you’re expected to just walk in, get beat a lot, watch a lot of footage, and hopefully connect the dots on your own. When new players show up we tell them to read the footsies guide, practice their execution, watch footage of good players, and post their own footage for feedback. But there is still a gap there. Some people will take to it immediately and some people will have friends who are already experienced players and they will do well. Others will be missing vital pieces of information and struggle just to comprehend the basics of the game. A straightforward and step by step tutorial would do wonders for this type of player.

There’s been lots of ideas and talk about how to make the FGC and it’s genre more accessible for years now. Simple things like removing overly complicated commands and replacing them with single motion + multiple buttons to get ultra or super moves would do a lot to convey the action a novice would want, versus requiring a certain barrier of execution in order to get results they see from more skilled players.

The idea for casual fans is to give them the rewards of high damage, flashy animations and long combos without having to devote too much time in the lab, or researching frame data. Kind of like pressing a single button for a jumpshot in a basketball game instead of having a whole motion to mimic the shot, the idea was to remove the overly-complicated inputs to get right to the meta-game.

What would probably result, if all execution was taken away was that a fighting game would simply turn into a turn-based, rpg-ish theory fighter. Player one wants to jump in and do combo a. Player 2 sees this and counters with reversal b. player 1 then goes into parry c, which player 2 quickly counters with super d. Twitch reaction, reflexes and execution are what make the fighting game interesting, and just knowing what moves you want isn’t enough for anyone but coaches and armchair stream warriors.

fighters are deep, and even the most basic of concepts have layers and fundamentals that will always require a certain amount of study. You get out as much as you put in, and the top players put in a lot of time. If casual players want a fighting game where they can feel good about themselves right away without much practice, then maybe they should try wii boxing, but fighting games will always have a barrier that separates high level play from the casuals, regardless of how simplified the mechanics and controls are (divekick, smash, doa).

In short, someone with a fighting game mentality and approach is always going to be better than someone who kinda sorta likes the game. It’s just the nerd part of us geeking out about stats and frames…things that the casual player won’t even care about, and that’s what will always make some better than others.

Recently there’s been a strong increase of noob players on PSN, seems the first thing they learn is how to mash uppercut through links or others learn combos before learning the most basic aspects of the game.

In either case they’ll get frustrated by getting punished to death or losing to basic shit.

these points in particular I disagree with. most SF games are not link heavy, the combo system of SF4 is already basically what you want. there are easy smaller combos for good damage you can learn in 10 minutes. I taught my friend who has never touched fighting games in his life and doesn’t play many games in general how to do Ryu’s jump in roundhouse, crouch fierce, roundhouse tatsu in a few minutes and he was doing it reliably by the 15 minute mark. the basic execution and reactions you are talking about do not require 100s of hours of practice.

cancels are easy to understand, they just require you to look up the definition. they work the same in every SF game so I don’t know why you’d single out xT as an ideal example.

moves with more difficult motions have those in place for gameplay reasons related to what their function is. whether any player can react with a tiger knee input is not the same as a forward input regardless of what level you are playing at. using MK9 is not a great example because MK9 is not a well-designed game at all and the high level play is just as inaccessible to new players as any other FG.

fighting games might be perceived as difficult by a new player but not for the reasons you are suggesting. I like your ideas about how to organize the outside the game content (tournaments, leaderboards, etc) but your criticism of the actual gameplay I disagree. all of your problems with gameplay would be solved with a better matchmaking system (which requires a wider playerbase).

it’s like the equivalent of micro in WC3 - bad players cannot do the things that Grubby can do. the solution to this is not to simplify micro so your micro isn’t so different from his, it’s to match you against other players with bad micro so you can play competitive games and you will pick up the skills from playing often. and you’ll want to play often because playing competitive games where you are not outclassed is generally pretty fun. what you are describing isn’t a problem for new players until you step into ranked as a 0BP/PP guy and get curbstomped by the 5000 point guy who had no indication of how good you were just by seeing you at the matchmaking screen. it is not the fault of the gameplay or the other player when that happens. it’s only the fault of the crappy matchmaking.

the tl;dr version of my last few posts:
making fighting games more accessible needs two things:

  1. a strong tutorial mode
  2. good online play with good matchmaking and a playerbase to support it

anything else suggested will not actually help new players and risks hurting the high level metagame for absolutely no benefit to anyone else.