Should Fighting Games Cost Less?

Tekken 7 was released last week; the second massive title within the fighting genre in the last 30 days (the other title being Injustice 2.)

I’ve seen a lot of excitement surrounding these two games, but I’ve also found a lot of gamers saying that they don’t really believe fighting games to be worth the regular price of a normal video game on social platforms.

This is also a feeling that I hold myself. Although I do enjoy titles within the fighting genre, I have found that I won’t buy them unless they’re on sale and I also usually won’t play them for all that long.

So, why exactly do some gamers feel that fighting games are not worth the full price of a normal video game?

I found one broad explanation that many gamers seem to provide and that is the expectations of gamers with regards to game design and content has changed over time.

Some Gamers Feel That Fighting Games Suffer From A General Lack of Content

There seems to be a deficiency in the gameplay design of most fighting games; a lack of content in a sense. This doesn’t really refer to content in the regard of a title having too few characters to play with or not having all that many items to unlock, but rather the general nature of gameplay within most fighting games.

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Tekken 7. (Credit: Bandai Namco Entertainment)

Regardless of whether you’re playing campaign, multiplayer or some other single player mode, such as classic battle, you’re always really doing the same thing: fighting. It’s always the same gameplay mechanic over and over again.

While this may be fun for a short time, a lot of gamers do tend to grow bored with it rather quickly. However, this wasn’t always the truth.

Why Did Gamers Grow To Love The Fighting Genre?

I’ve always associated the fighting genre with that of the most traditional video game genres, with that of platformers and shooters.

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Yooka Laylee. (Credit: Playtonic Games)

Perhaps, the best way to explain why the fighting genre became so popular is to have a look at probably the most popular fighting game of all time; Street Fighter 2.

Video game historians are always speaking about the impact Street Fighter 2 had not only in reviving arcade video game culture, but the video game industry overall.

Street Fighter 2 offered a very competitive gameplay experience, in which players were able to go head-to-head with either a friend or COM in a battle to test their skills. The competitive and social nature of the title is what drew so many people towards wanting to play it.

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Street Fighter 2. (Credit: Capcom)

It is very important to highlight the fact that Street Fighter 2 is largely famous for being an exciting arcade game experience. It was available on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, but a lot of gamers still recognise the game as a very quintessential arcade title.

Arcade games provide players with a very short gaming experience for a small sum of money. While I’m sure that there were certainly people playing Street Fighter 2 for hours on end in arcades, I do think that this was largely the exception to the rule in terms of most players experience of the game.

It’s highly likely that most gamers spent enough money to play a match or two against a friend and then moved on and only played the game again for a very limited time at a different interval. Whether this was due to a lack of funds to play the game or a simple desire to limit playing time doesn’t really matter.

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Street Fighter 2 characters. (Credit: Capcom)

Thus, many gamers grew somewhat used to experiencing fighting games, amongst many others titles, in short bursts.

However, What We Have Come To Expect From Video Games Has Changed…

As time progressed and video game consoles and PCs started becoming a natural item in many homes, fighting games initially remained very popular as they brought the fun social experience that gamers had felt at arcades to living rooms.

However, as video game developers continued to push the boundaries with regards to what they could do with new titles, gamers slowly started to expect more from new games. This is a process that still continues on today and is not even only limited to the video game industry as people are always seemingly pushing the boundaries of what can be done in every domain.

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Mortal Kombat 10. (Credit: NetherRealm Studios)

So, whereas previously in the 1980s and 1990s, there were perhaps only a limited number of video game genres as well as overall good titles – making it easier for gamers to spend hours upon hours playing a certain game – gamers today have a rather large selection of titles available to them that all provide seemingly different experiences.

There are so many different genres, each of which receives a different expectation in terms of play time. I can’t really explain why most gamers will deem it fine for one game of a certain genre to cost $60/£60 and another not, even if they both have an estimated play time of eight hours or the same base gameplay mechanics.

I wouldn’t say that gamers are no longer interested in competitive, short experiences that focus on a single gameplay mechanic (or else there would be no way to really explain why multiplayer experiences in games, such as Call of Duty, are so popular) but most gamers have definitely grown to expect more from video games overall.


Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. (Credit: Activision)

Perhaps, the fighting genre in general just hasn’t evolved enough for most gamers to warrant paying full price for a title within the genre. Some gamers may weigh up buying a fighting game to that of another genre and feel that it isn’t worth it.

If you have a limited amount of money to spend on games, it is definitely possible that you may find yourself at some point comparing the amount of pleasure you would get from a game like Fallout 4 to that of Injustice 2, for instance. Most gamers might definitely find more hours of fun in a game like Fallout.

It does seem that this may be one of the reasons that some gamers feel that fighting games aren’t worth it – because with all of the other content now available, it seems that a lot of people have begun to approach them the same way they did in arcades 20/30 years ago, in seeing it as a short competitive, social experience, whereas a lot of gamers, particularly on a budget, may want more bang for their buck.

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Fallout 4. (Credit: Bethesda)

Personally, I’ve seen this much in myself, in that I used to enjoy a lot of fighting games during the Sega Genesis and the PlayStation 1 eras, as my brother would spend hours upon hours playing them, but nowadays I’ll play a match or two of Injustice or Street Fighter V every now and again.

I would rather spend hours traversing through some open-world game or playing a strong-narrative based title, then spend the same amount of time with a fighting game.

The point of this article is not to campaign for a change in the price of fighting games as, quite honestly, I have no idea of the production costs for these titles and also, I do know that some gamers only play fighting games and thus don’t care about the price.

I have been wondering though about whether the feeling that fighting games should cost less is the general consensus within the gaming community or something that only a few gamers feel.

So, do you think fighting games should cost less, and if so, why? Please share in the comments down below.

[Sources: GameFAQs]

If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the trailer for Tekken 7 here: