Should the fighting game community turn to primarily online competition in the near future?

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Is this still a pipe dream or the one we really need?

The global coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we play fighting games and interact with the community for over a year by bringing everything online and decimating some local stages.

With offline events trying to make a comeback now, there is some debate as to whether the FGC should look to shift primarily to online formats.

These current discussions seem to have really taken off from RushdownV3’s recent post where he shared his belief that offline locales and regions aren’t necessary if a game’s netcode is up to the task.

“I do not think so [people] are ready for conversation, but if the [game’s] netcode is good (like quality of effort), I think online events on PC should be the norm, ”RushdownV3 wrote. “There’s no need for local / regional offline when the online experience is so similar or in some cases better. “

This of course elicited a myriad of responses from other players, some agreeing and a lot on the other side, but is he right?

Let’s dig a little deeper into the current and upcoming landscape of fighting games to get a better idea of ​​what we would gain and lose by going forward with such a big move.

Since many of you probably have the immediate reaction to wanting the scene back to what it was before the pandemic, we’ll start with the positives of an online FGC.

Flexibility and comfort

As is probably already pretty clear, the biggest benefit of participating in tournaments and online dating is the ability to do it all from the comfort of your own home.

You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars, if not more, on travel expenses or take large chunks of personal time to throw money into a jackpot that they aren’t likely to win.

Many players will say that they enjoy these aspects of the FGC or what they lead to, but still more cannot make it an achievable reality.

There are a large number of players in the world who don’t live in areas with active fighting game scenes, and trying to farm one right now is no easy task.

Tournaments can be run anytime and any day of the week from anywhere without the need to find venues or need to leave before your local hobby store closes for the night.

Considering that RushdownV3’s initial post was released in response to some gamers complaining about competing on PlayStation 4 again in Street Fighter 5 after playing on PC all this time, this illustrates another bright spot in online gaming.

You can always play around with whatever setup you’re most comfortable with – your own.

There is no need to worry about a bad monitor, a slow console, or a poorly configured PC, because you will know exactly what you are getting from your personal hardware.

The games will always look what you want or at least what you’re used to, so there’s no stress in having to adjust to the random setup you sit on.

Online Communities

Places like Discord have exploded in popularity over the past few years, and there’s a home for just about anyone.

Almost every region, game and character has a server dedicated to the broad and specific needs of players who love fighting games and want to broaden their horizons.

Sharing technology and advice or meeting new people has arguably never been easier than it is today, and online communities can be a great way to grow as a player and as a community. .

There are even wider apps through places like Dustloop and even Twitter for people to share their findings or useful information even if they are thousands of miles away and don’t even speak the same language.

Sometimes you just need to be open enough to expose yourself and see what’s going on.

The C in FGC

As we’ve continued to write about the positives of Discord and online communities, many, if not most gamers who have known locals, regions, or majors in person are likely to say it’s just not the same thing.

The atmosphere of each level of competition is its own unique beast, offering players different lessons in the game and in life in general.

Sure, you can meet hundreds of people at once on Discord, but meeting a dozen guys at your local game store can rightfully change your life and your mindset.

If you stick around, you’ll get to know people on a deeper level and learn who they are outside of the game more than you will likely get through text and voice chat.

You can’t really go out and grab a burger after hosting a 3-hour debut with members of your Discord.

Personally, I feel like I’ve learned more from hanging out with a handful of locals than my entire time playing online, as you’ll almost always find someone who is happy to sit down and teach you matches or completely new games.

Without offline, you don’t really get local legends, rivalries, or witness players to take part in bigger events to try and make a name for yourself.

On a larger scale, face-to-face events will often take you to places you’ve never been to before and meet people from states, regions or countries you’ve never traveled to before.

They push you out of your comfort zone and force you to adapt.

Even as a simple spectator, the energy of the majors is quite another thing.

Watching something like Evo Online can’t really compare to the crowds of hundreds or thousands of fans who love fighting games cheer on players, come up with vocals, and react when something crazy happens on screen.

There’s just a kind of electricity that just isn’t there right now with online.

Technical limitations

In a perfect world, online fighting games would probably be the way to go for most gamers, but we don’t live in such a place.

Outside of Killer Instinct and Skullgirls, there really aren’t any modern and popular titles that offer a gaming or tournament experience that rivals offline.

Even with Guilty Gear Strive’s excellent netcode, it still suffers from lobby and connection issues that can make it difficult to tackle specific people, especially if it is to be watched and streamed as well.

We haven’t seen what an entirely next-gen fighting game looks like yet, but it’s hard to imagine they’ll be any better than what’s available right now.

Of course, there are arguments that the PS4 and Xbox One aren’t really suited for competitive gaming anymore, but there are new consoles now that we haven’t seen what they’re really capable of in the genre. .

Gamers and developers are also still grappling with the disparity and quality of internet access in places like the United States, South America, and parts of Europe, making it difficult to getting a good online experience.

With the hundreds and thousands of players we see traveling to majors right now, the community is thirsty to take back what we’ve lost, and the smiles on people’s faces make it seem like they won’t want any more. give it up at any time. soon.

If the issues can be resolved, I can see a future in the next 10 years or so where online is the dominant form of competition through simple ease of access.

That being said, however, meeting and mixing shit with other players is still in the FGC’s DNA.



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