It still might take a while to see the results, however
PC gaming has gone through a heavy transformation over the past 10–15 years by growing from a fairly small niche to popping up in the households of most players, and we’ve seen the shift take place within the fighting game community for ourselves.
Capcom is apparently taking actions to focus on PC development for their titles moving forward after noticing the trend, which could have pretty significant implications for the company’s next fighting games.
Haruhiro Tsujimoto, current COO of Capcom, recently joined Japanese publication Nikkei for an interview where he spoke on the proposed shift in ideology.
The storied development studio reportedly hopes to see their split of game sales between console and PC grow to 50-50 in 2022 or 2023 according to Bloomberg’s Takashi Mochizuki.
They’ve already managed to almost reach that feat with their single best-selling release ever in Monster Hunter: World, as leaked sales data appeared to show the title sold over 5.7 million copies on Steam versus 5.5 million on PlayStation 4 and a further 1.7 million on Xbox One.
So what impact could this potential change have on Capcom’s fighting games exactly?
We’ve already seen a number of competitive scenes make to jump to PC over the past few years between Street Fighter 5: Champion Edition, Tekken 7 and Guilty Gear Strive among others.
From Nikkei: Capcom COO says the company wants to set PC as main outlet for its game software. By 2022 or 2023, Capcom hopes sales of games on consoles : PCs to be 50:50.https://t.co/IsSAu0m3Ml
— Takashi Mochizuki (@6d6f636869) September 30, 2021
Putting more or most of their development efforts on the more open platform would likely result in the PC being the de facto best version to run and push more of the FGC onto Steam or elsewhere.
Most recent fighting games already have the best input latency on PC compared to the consoles, but what if they could take that even further?
More options and optimizations would lead to theoretical higher technological thresholds in just about every aspect of the games.
It would hopefully mean the end of awful and / or broken PC ports too.
While Capcom had a pretty bad track record with Street Fighter 4 and many other computer releases, most of their newer games are at least solid if not better on PC — except for Monster Hunter: World ironically.
It may have taken a minute to get their, but the PC version of SF5 is clearly the best place to play for anyone who can manage to do so.
We’d probably see more implementation of features like 120 fps, which could make fighters even more responsive though it’s only been experimented with in a few titles like Samurai Shodown at this point.
Better graphical and input options could allow players to tune their games to fit their own personal and rig sweet spots to make them run and feel more how they’d like — although that of course depends on how far Capcom is willing to push the benefits of the platform.
Maybe it’d be time to finally see more universal controller support and compatibility on top of other means to make offline tournaments more viable, but that lies in the hands of the computers and driver makers just as much as the games themselves.
The move would also likely have a more negative impact on purely console users, however, as they could feel pressured to shift to different hardware to have access to the best version or best / largest online community — though that’s kinda already happening now.
That obviously doesn’t mean Capcom’s console games are going to be eternally shafted either.
The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S will continue to be a major focus for the company, especially since gaming PC adoption rates are not nearly as high in their home territory of Japan.
With PC being a fairly neutral or agnostic in the realm of the console wars, cross-platform play to Sony and Microsoft’s systems may receive more attention even outside of the realm of fighting games.
Those looking forward to seeing those advancements play out in Street Fighter 6 or whatever Capcom is cooking up next are probably still going to need to wait a good while, however.
Unless this shift to target the PC platform has been ongoing for many moons already, Capcom’s next fighting game entered development years ago and is most likely using the PS5 or Xbox Series X as a base.
Fighting games on computers have already seen crazy progress and growth over the past 5—6 years, so it’s going to be very interesting to see how other studios approach the more open platform moving into this next generation and beyond.
We may soon be headed towards a heavy PC-centric FGC in the near future, which I’m not sure anyone would have seen coming a decade or two ago.