Disagree about the fanbase thing. At Evo2k4, 3s had something like the 2nd or 3rd most signups of any game IIRC. The Parry certainly helped, but I think what really took the scene off was seeing the Japanese destroy people in a past Evo (2k2?)…remember, much of America still thought Ryu > Ken and had no idea what the likes of Yun & Makoto could do, so this was a revelation for us. Ricky’s almost-win over Daigo at 2k3 may have helped things a bit as well, since that had to have given people a glimmer of hope that maybe we could beat Japan.
There’s also the massive amount of combo & match videos out there. Seriously, 3s people are the most dedicated when it comes to vids, and I am positive that this has been a major factor. For a smaller-scale example of this, there’s Naruto GNT4: An import-only Gamecube game that is stereotyped by some as anime-con scrub material, but still has a much larger tournament scene here than, say, any SNK game or DOA. One of the main reasons is the amount of videos; it started with The WiLL in Florida, who uploads the majority of matches from every tournament he hosts, then this got other communities interested in the game and they started holding tournaments and releasing vids, and so on. So for anybody who’s trying to draw interest in a fighting game that doesn’t have a big scene, here’s one of the things you absolutely need to do.
So, what was my point again? Oh yeah, The Parry didn’t have as big an impact as people think. 3s would still be one of the most popular tournament games, as it already was even before The Parry!