Marketing a New Fighting Game to the Old Skool
How? It’s very simple – dress it up as a new game but really… it’s the same old game. Before the arguing begins, I have a couple of valid points and some truths that should hit home. With XIII just around the corner, I feel we’re faced with a question: what lies in our future, as fighting game fans?
I recently sent out an email to the regsitered ON members to see how they were doing, wondering why everything was so quiet these days. I had a good guess but wanted confirmation. I received this in spades… which was a bit disappointing, to tell the truth. However, it’s not all doom and gloom.
Our members have grown up. Well, obviously we’re not all Peter Pan clones but when I say grown up, I mean like they have gotten a full time job and with that, barely any time to put in the practice that fighting games require. XII was a huge disappointment and certainly didn’t help. Now here’s the interesting thing: many of them were interested in playing Blazblue, but were daunted by the new system they would have to learn. As fighting game fans, they still wanted to get their kicks, but quickly and easily.
Guess what game they ended up playing. Nope, you won’t get a medal/trophy/achievement for the answer.
Yes, it’s good old Street Fighter IV. And I stress the use of “old” in the title. If you were wondering why SFIV contained all the original world warriors, it’s because Capcom made a correct guess about fighting games and the current market. All those SF2 fans have grown up and while they still want to bang the machine, they’d rather do it at home on their shiny next gen console, without having to do any training at all, so they can have a quick go before tucking in the kids and go watch some TV with the missus.
So what? Well, you want people to play with, right? XII annoyed fans with its new system and lack of service. SNKP are once again on the verge. I was supposed to point out the silver lining around this cloud… ah… well, the fact is, with all the people that have retired, given up, or are just too busy, lots of people who emailed me were still hopeful. Hopeful about XIII, hopeful about sorting out their lives to get some time to play. There are still people who want to play KOF, even if it’s just a quick bash. There are some people kicking around on GGPO (and they’re not Chinese) and Supercade; armed today with a faster PC and broadband. Legality aside, all we have to do is make sure everyone gets connected… hopefully XIII will solve this.
The other thing that might help is a little list called… The Marked Men. More about that later.
Hopeful I remain, but realistically, I doubt things will ever be the same again. We can hope, of course, but at the same time there seems to be a hypocritical attitude amongst many: we want a new game but we want to play it the same way, then when we get it, we get bored of playing it, because ‘it’s the same old game!’ Blazblue represents the future… but who’s playing it? The new skool? Certainly not the old. SF caters for the old geezars and their 2d mentality. Pun viciously intended. Getting an old dog to learn new tricks, taking a horse to water… will XIII try to emulate Capcom and instead of graduating skool, stay behind a year? I’m not even sure which would be the better decision.
Regardless of what happens next, regardless of the size of our fanbase, even if there’s only 100 of us or even 10, I’m going to start working towards bringing us together so we can actually play.
Remember the trading card giveaway? I have a few little gifts from my recent trip to Japan to give away, to celebrate XIII, or my retirement. Stay tuned, stay hopeful!