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Comparing the performance of Fighting Games this generation.

Best fighting game franchise this gen? (Must have new entries released for current gen consoles)


  • Total voters
    42
Aug 24, 2016
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7,267
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This generation has been a mixed bag for fighting games. If use use a comparable period for the 360/PS3 gen from 2006-2012 and XBox/PS4 gen from launch till now, we see somewhere around a 4505% decrease in sales for the fighting game market in total. let's look at some franchises this gen (and if they were around last gen we can compare their performance then and now) using the latest entries:

  1. Mortal Kombat X: ~11 million
  2. Killer Instinct: 10 million "Players" (Includes across f2p and Retail versions)
  3. InJustice 2: 5+ million
  4. Dragon Ball Fighter Z: 4+ Million
  5. Tekken 7: 3.6+ Million
  6. Street Fighter V: 2.9 million units
  7. Naruto Ninja Storm 4: 2 million
  8. Mvs.C Infinite: 1.3 million
  9. UFC 3: ~1 million
  10. Soul Calibur 6: OVER 1 Million (not sure how much more)
  11. KOFXIV: 550k+
  12. Blazblu Central Fiction: ????
  13. Dead or Alive 6: ?????????

No when you look at this list, it's obvious one of the core reasons why fighting game sales have been down is due to lack of releases (or too many releases for a couple franchises), but another big reasons is just a lack of content or really dismissing concerns or suggestions from the fanbase.

Dead or Alive 6 at this rate will be lucky to sell much at all.

Street Fighter V took quote some time to make it to that 2.9 a big drop from SFIv which sold 3.4 million in less time, then the Super expansion added almost another 2 million units, and the Ultra Expansion, which brought back SFII fatigue syndrome and imo they should not have put out, brought in over 1 million. SFV has been trying to save itself for awhile and just isn't getting the attention. It launched bare bones with bad online, and several other issues tat pissed off fans and disinterested new comers. Sure, it's a better game now, but compared to where the game was at during launch that's not really much of an accomplishment. It also didn't even bother launching with a SP story mode.

King of Fighters went into 3D and did pretty well for the franchise. I suspect that if they continue improving their 3D formula they will have their first million selling KOF game soon enough.

Soul Calibur 6 has some pretty mild anticipation and it's launch sales weren't really good, it picked up a little but and then pretty much dropped off the planet. Another game that launched bare bones, and had several money snatching policies implemented, including microtranactions, to try and make up for sales. Well, that backfired.

UFC is UFC. If EA wanted to make a dramatic improvement with actual effort put in I'm sure this could have been as big a franchise as Fight Night was but EA is fine with modest adjustments for $60.

Injustice 2 tried to one up the predecessor with more content, better animations and cutscenes, more polish, and again more content. Also refined mechanics, a great story, and again, more content.

Naruto Ninja Storm 4 breaks the decline cycle due to this being the LAST Naruto Series game from Bandai. Likely due to the actual Naruto series being replaced by a new one that takes place in the future. No point in selling original Naruto series games when you want to sell merchandise for the new one. But as a result you end up with the developers listening to fans, taking feedback seriously, and creating the best and most content rich Naruto Storm game yet. Too bad they only did this with the last game but at least it ends with a bang.

Dragon Ball Fighter Z arguably did ride off the wind brought in by Xenoverse, also aided by the Brand Name, but the game was still solid enough to take that ride to a whole new level with over 4 million shipped. Likely Arcs best selling game of all time and it will likely remain that way for the companies life time to be honest.

Mvs.C Infinite suffered and suffers from a lot of the same problems that plaqued SFV and SC6. When you compare the Mvs.C series now to pre-MVC3 it's going in a direction most people don't seem to want them to go in. Also, polish was pretty bad at first, and still is in some places, including basic flat CGI renders being used as characters for guys like "X", and a ridiculous nonsense thrown together plot to appease the "SP gamers".

Killer Instinct was rebooted and came back with a bang. A lot of people have played the f2p digital version and the Retail editions that have been coming out. With over 10 million players it's clear that the sequel will get a lot of hype, especially if they make a proper sequel with a ton of content. Of the fighting games that will likely show up again next generations this is one of the surprises.

Tekken is still for right this minute, maybe only until the 23rd or so, the best selling fighting game franchise of all time. It is doing the best of the japanese old guard by a good margin outside of the wave that helped DBFZ hit 4 million shipped. Tekken 7 has been a pretty solid game with a good story mode, new characters coming out, and many refinements. Assuming you didn't play the original arcade release. A definite change in direction compared to Tekken 6 or Tekken Tag 2. If Namco managed to bring all this together at double the quality with Tekken 8 then Tekken popularity may return.

Mortal Kombat is the biggest winner here. With around ~11 million units it's managed to bring fighting games to sales that were never expected. Breaking the 10 million unit threshold for the first time is a major feat for real fighting games. Especially one with as controversial a presentation as Mortal Kombat. Yet we already saw hints of this success before. MK was already selling 3 million on average until he Reboot, which went all out in presentation and content, selling over 5 million by the time MKX came out (might be over 6 million now). Since then, MKX has sold almost ~11 million copies and the new title is already looking like a major seller. I expect maybe 2 million sales or more first week, possibly putting the MK franchise past Tekken within the first month, and becoming the best selling fighting game franchise of all time.

if there is a lesson here to take away it's that you can't crap on your fans, or isolate new comers for your core base (and try to milk them for money) forever. Eventually things don't end up working out. Tekken managed to learn that and has started driving on the correct side of the road. However, despite Capcoms revitalization of its other franchises, their fighting game division is still not getting it which really seems crazy to me.

I think the biggest dark horse is KOF. It's starting to actually put up higher than expected numbers outside of Japan while still keeping a decent Japanese audience. I can see a potential 1+ million selling KOF game if they play KOFXV correctly.
 
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DunDunDunpachi

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if there is a lesson here to take away it's that you can't crap on your fans, or isolate new comers for your core base (and try to milk them for money) forever. Eventually thinks don't end up working out. Tekken managed to learn that and has started driving on the correct side of the rode. However, despite Capcoms revitalization of its other franchises, their fighting game division is still not getting it which really seems crazy to me.
Guilty Gear Xrd is a good illustration of this.

It entered the generation early as a relatively unknown franchise. Yet, its tutorial inspired every other fighting franchise to step things up, it expanded the series to hundreds of thousands of new fans, it trimmed the fat from GG^C+, it proved that you can make a good-looking 2D fighting game using 3D graphics, and the gameplay remains solid to this day. Sales might not be the highest compared to the others but its definitely the most noticable growth of a fighting franchise this gen. Titles like BlazBlue, KoF, Street Fighter, Killer Instinct, Tekken, etc seemed to struggle to recapture their old audience let alone expand to a new audience.

I am happy to see KoF regaining popularity. The only way the golden age of fighting games will return is if these companies compete with one another and improve their franchises.
 

Tiamat2san

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Killer instinct was a blast!
Gameplay was fun, graphics were cool and the music was incredible.
I need a new season or a new game.
 

kingbean

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Jun 27, 2016
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From a personal impact the answer is clear as day for me.

Street Fighter 5.

Yeah it's got issues, but as someone that isn't very good at fighters but loves watching them, it's been great for spectating.

The game that I wish I played more is Guilty Gear Xrd.
 

kunonabi

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Taking my personal preferences out of things the answer has to be MK, Tekken or DBZ. Assuming MKXI is succesful and if it ends up a better competitive game than the last few NRS titles it should be the clear winner.

Personally I've had the most fun with KoF, FEXL, Central Fiction, and UNIEL.
 

Celcius

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Street Fighter V has been my favorite fighter this gen and I've spent the most time on it.
 

Jigsaah

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if there is a lesson here to take away it's that you can't crap on your fans, or isolate new comers for your core base (and try to milk them for money) forever. Eventually thinks don't end up working out. Tekken managed to learn that and has started driving on the correct side of the rode. However, despite Capcoms revitalization of its other franchises, their fighting game division is still not getting it which really seems crazy to me.

Have you seen the insane pricing of Tekken 7's seasonal content? It's like 30 bucks per pass. Character's individually are 5 and 6 dollars. I've never seen a Tekken this monetized before.

It's still the best fighting game out this gen...
 
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Evilms

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Dec 16, 2018
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On pure gameplay, I'd say street fighter v but globally mortal kombat. The rest is weak.
 

93xfan

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Other; Smash ultimate with no items, stock and Omega stages. It IS a fighting game.

I also really liked Street Fighter 5.
 
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Aug 24, 2016
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Have you seen the insane pricing of Tekken 7's seasonal content? It's like 30 bucks per pass. Character's individually are 5 and 6 dollars. I've never seen a Tekken this monetized before.

.

I didn't say Tekken didn't have problems, it just was in the best position compared to all the other Japanese fighters. Well except DBFZ, but one could argue Xenoverse and Brand named helped with that.
 

Fuz

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Because I thought it was fun. Seems an odd comment to make on your part. If you don't like a game, fair enough, but I see no reason to shit up a thread with a cunty attitude. =\
No, I was just curious why you found it fun. I tried it and found it pretty flat and uninspired.
 

GC_DALBEN

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I Love KI, the best Fighting Game of this generation, we had a lot of good games this gen :) .
 

Mr Nash

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No, I was just curious why you found it fun. I tried it and found it pretty flat and uninspired.

Alrighty, sorry for the misunderstanding. I'm much more of a casual fighting game guy (prioritize single-player, don't really care about ranked online stuff or bragging rights), so stuff like character design will influence me a lot more and I liked the characters in the game. Also, it allowed me to learn how to cobble moves together once I figured out that the auto combo spammy thing could be done manually, and allow the player to build stuff on their own (I heard DBZ does something similar). Also, the normal attacks sometimes have huge range, which I liked as I didn't feel forced to get up close and personal quite as much as a lot of other fighting games, so things like Yuzuriha's swords were really helpful for me.
 

Blood Borne

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For me, it’s between Guilty Gear XRD and Dragonball FiighterZ and Under Night In Birth
 

atomic moth

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I see the sales numbers, and that is a facet of what you’re asking.

But from a competitive standpoint, which you cannot discount when you’re dealing with an inherently competitive genre of game, Tekken is probably the best.

As it stands now, no game other than Tekken has actually gained more tournament participants since release. It’s pretty remarkable.

The biggest fighting game tournament in the world is seeing overall participant numbers drop from last year, but Tekken has actually gained numbers in that same timeframe. It’s pretty amazing and speaks to the balance the game reaches between overall fun and competitive balance.
 

Enjay

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Have you seen the insane pricing of Tekken 7's seasonal content? It's like 30 bucks per pass. Character's individually are 5 and 6 dollars. I've never seen a Tekken this monetized before.

It's still the best fighting game out this gen...
Soulcalibur unfortunately died for that same monetization scheme.
 
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cireza

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Obviously going to vote for the only one that has some merit in my opinion : Killer Instinct.

All other games are sequels of franchises that have been going for a long time with frequent iterations.

Killer Instinct was actually Microsoft having the balls to fund an ambitious AAA fighting game at the very beginning of the gen, while this series had everything to prove and build from scratch.
 

JohnEvans

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Apr 4, 2019
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Street Fighter
No contest.
Street Fighter still has a competitive scene.
Killer Instinct was just a fun knock-off from back in the day.
 

Nikana

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KI is by far the most fun fighting game when you learn how it works. The mind games are on another level. Plus the support for three full seasons was great. The teams behind it deserve a lot of cr sit making literally every character feel very different and somehow maintaining great balance.

Kudos to Microsoft for sticking with it
 

Lucumo

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Fighting games have been pretty disappointing lately. I don't care about the Western ones at all. SFV was a dud which I kinda expected, after seeing USFIV and SFxT. DBFZ is okay'ish. Naruto I don't care about. Tekken became too casual. MvC:I is a big uff, though, granted, I've never really cared about it either. Guilty Gear went into "meh" territory after Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R. KoFXIV graphics (or rather the 3D style) are a kick into the stomach (I regularly watch high-level 98 matches which is obviously way better). BlazBlue has become kind of a mess after the excellent early entries. Haven't taken any look at Soul Calibur 6 so far and what I've seen from DoA 6 has been rather disappointing. Add to that Under Night: Inverse whose characters aren't really engaging (Akatsuki doesn't help either) but then again, I wish they would have continued with the Melty Blood series since I liked that one. Chaos Code isn't exactly good, with some characters even being highly annoying, unless they have fixed their voice lines. Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel isn't good and I'm definitely missing another 2-4 games which aren't good either. Samurai Shodown will highly likely be disappointing as well, the artstyle looks awful at least but then again, SNK has their Chinese overlords, so I'm not surprised anymore (after the release of KoFXIV).
 

El Sabroso

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KI is pretty much the best of this gen, the only thing it holds it back is the Xbox One platform because of all the issues with the launch the console had, they nailed Cross Platform with PC and the best netcode since pretty much the beginning, fortunately this was added to MKXL which is at the same level of amazing netcode. It would be interesting to see more fighting games jumping into the game as a service market since KI did decently in this regard, and SFV I feel it failed everything about that aspect.