Yesterday, Capcom took to Street Fighter’s official twitter to announce that a piece of a special crossover costume for Ryu was available via Extra Battle. The skin features Ryu dressed as Jin Saotome, the iconic Capcom character from Capcom’s Cyberbots series who is more well-known for his appearances in Capcom crossover fighting games than his lead series. However, there is an immediate problem Capcom has on its hands: many players are taking umbrage with the fact that they don’t have enough fight money to afford to fight for the first piece of it.
I have already written about less-than-savory ways Capcom has tried to get sponsorship money out of displaying adspace in-game, and the fact that the rewards are still a pitiful sum has only made the current situation worse. As I have noted before, Capcom has whittled down the rewards of Fight Money in a blatant attempt to either get the player to buy rewards directly, or to help promote a system of ads to give a small award. When the new Extra Battle Ryu skin was announced, there was no Extra Battle fight to gain the 2500 Fight Money it would take to even attempt the fight. One of Capcom’s justifications and plans for Fight Money rewards was that weekly missions would still reward enough to engage in the other extra battles and get skins. That is not the case this week- if you did not already have 2500 Fight Money to spend, you’ll have to either win enough games (50[!!!] match wins) or suck it up and pass. And since this is an extra battle reward, you only have one week to get that Fight Money before the piece is gone.
And, once again, we’re back to the anger Capcom is seeing that there’s no realistic way for players to get a single piece of this skin without a crazy amount of grind. 50 match wins might not sound like a lot on the surface, but even if you play perfectly, you’re still looking at a serious time commitment. Not to mention that this is the cost for one attempt- if you fail, you’ll need to win another 50 before trying again. And remember: if you lose, you get nothing, unless you opt in on those sponsored ads… which are also capped. If you lost every match and still wanted to get enough Fight Money to try your luck, you’d need to play 209 matches before you’d have enough Fight Money. That’s insanity. And all of this is worked into a current ecosystem where there are still stages to buy, costumes to buy, and Fighting Chance still has current rewards that will be phased out in the near future. Simply put, there is too much stuff to buy and not enough Fight Money to do it with, and Capcom has only gotten tighter with the purse strings with Fight Money rewards.
The results of Capcom’s poor planning are evident in the reactions to the announcement on Twitter:
While some of the player reactions are certainly funny and/or entertaining, most voice a genuine frustration that Capcom has utterly strangled the FM rewards so much that, when a new skin that can only be won with FM is announced, they simply don’t have enough anymore to even participate. And when that skin is a heavily demanded skin for the most popular character- the character who remains the game’s most played since the game released in 2016- it breeds a lot of contempt from the community when the majority cannot afford it because of the exploitative systems put in place.
This should be a learning lesson for Capcom, but it’s also one that Capcom should have learned years ago when Fight Money was even a thing in the first place. This wave of negative reactions has happened before, and has been happening as Capcom has allowed players to earn less while requiring more of it be used in its in-game ecosystem. This blunder is Capcom’s own fault- again- and the issue highlights the company’s apparent massive disconnect from its players.