History of most popular competitive FGs in US?

Hmm, is there any statistical data available for the most popular FGs competitively in the US over time?
In Japan they have stuff like the Arcadia rankings and so forth.

I guess EVO entrant numbers year by year might be a good start.

Has it always been some version of SF? Between ST and SF4, which games were the most popular and when? Was SFA or SF3 ever the most popular? Was MvC2 ever the most popular?

By popular I mean tournament entrants and so forth, not general popularity.

EDIT: I’m more interested in how the top game changes over time, rather than some sort of summary of the era.

SF2 > CE > HF >>> Super ~ ST > Alpha > SF3. Nothing can be compared to the popularity in the early years.

Pretty sure if we’re just talking about America, MvC2 was probably the most popular

I’m more interested in how the top game changes over time, rather than which game it was overall.

Unrelated: The Tekken series has been the most popular fighting franchise worldwide (funny, considering it’s steeper learning curve. Still think MVC2 has the highest learning curve of all time. Thanks Mags)
But yeah, SF2 was popular in its time but by raw numbers, I think SF4 would be considered the most popular. Idk, best off looking @ entrant numbers of EVO and majors across the region to get a perspective.
On an off note: Play 3rd Strike.

street fighter 2.

history lesson complete.

A quick google search suggests that EVO doesnt release numbers of entrants?

But, its obviously not #1 in recent years. So when did it stop being most popular, and what game overtook it?

street fighter 2 kind of ate itself. no game really overtook it, it just kept eating itself until only the very hardcore fans remained, who then played 3rd strike. no fighting game will ever be as popular as street fighter 2 was. not even close.

You’re making a very complicated deal out of an extremely simple question, presumably to drive your SF2-biased agenda.

Regardless of relative numbers, a game has to be most popular at any given time. Are you trying to say after ST, it was 3S?

i don’t know. My agenda must be cutting off the blood flow to my brain.

If you look at the evolution wiki it’s pretty easy to see how street fighter games overall have pretty much dominated. but to find straight data on how many people were at each evo is a lot harder. if you really want to know you might as well email the guys who run it and see if they’re willing to give the data to you.

SF2 was more popular in it’s time than SF4 ever was/will be.

If you’re talking about everyone that plays Tekken, and not just the pros, that’s probably because at a lower level, it’s more appealing because you can just press buttons and things happen. At a higher level, things are different, obviously. The same applies to Soul Calibur.

No, it’s because Tekken is wildly popular in Asia, Europe, and South America; where as street fighter and mortal kombat are only popular in north america.

Remember that SF4 in it various editions usually finishes behind Melty Blood, tekken, and Blazeblue in arcadia rankings; and has never surpassed Gundam versus Gundam ever.

By year:

1991: SF2WW
1992: SF2CE
1993: SF2HF then replaced by SSF2
1994: ST
1995: SFA1
1996: SFA2
1997: SFA2, SF3NG
1998: SFA3, MvC1, SFA2, SF3SI, T3, ST (makes a come back)
1999: SFA3, MvC1, TTT, SFA2, ST, 3S
2000: MvC2, TTT, SFA3, ST, SFA2, 3S
2001: MvC2, CvS1, TTT, T4, SFA3, ST, 3S
2002: MvC2, CvS2, TTT, T4, ST
2003: MvC2, CvS2, TTT, T4, 3S, GGXX, SC2, ST, VF4 (was never a big game)
2004: MvC2, 3S, CvS2, TTT, T4, GGXXR#, SC2, ST, VF4Evo
2005: 3S, MvC2, T5, CvS2, GGXXR#, ST
2006: 3S, MvC2, T5, GGSlash, CvS2, ST
2007: 3S, MvC2, GGAC, T5DR, CvS2, ST
2008: 3S, MvC2, GGAC, CvS2, ST, T5DR (game was on life support)
2009: SF4 (pretty much makes every other game obsolete at this time)
2010: SSF4, then there is a big drop off with T6BR, Melty Blood among others
2011: SSF4AE, MvC3, then a drop off with MK9

-Around 2004 (when console tournaments were becoming more widespread) there were side games that were popping up. While most of these games were never popular, a few like Melty Blood and Arcana Heart were notable games (although not as popular as the big EVO games).

-If you want to consider SSBM as a fighter, it would probably be the most popular one from 2002-2007.

-I don’t know the exact numbers, but SF2 was at on a high until 1994. I think 1995 was considered the low point, then it started to steadily rise into the early 2000s, then there was some stagnation until 2009.

I’ve read that from people that live in Japan, that you should take the arcadia rankings with a grain of salt. Those rankings don’t necessarily publish how much income is generated, and because SF4 machines are expensive, many arcades in Japan don’t have one. I remember a post from Azrael that mentioned that after the SF4 tournament in SBO 2009, a good portion of the crowd left. Gundam is still probably the most popular game, though.

I think it would be neat if we tried to create a chronology (that-most-of-us-mostly-agree-upon) of the fighting games that have been the #1 most popular fighting game in the US at some point in time.

We’d be doing this through anecdotes and memories simply due to the lack of hard data available. I don’t even have a particular metric in mind: numbers of tournaments being held, numbers of entries at major tournaments, arcade performance, home sales, whatever. In a way it is advantageous if we keep our criteria somewhat abstract because I don’t think there’s any one parameter we could use that has held the same relative value throughout the US history of fighting games. I suppose it would probably be easier, cleaner, and more informative to make two separate lists, with one being for competitive interest and one for casual audience.


yeah this is kind of what i was thinking

Dammit, Japan…

Thank you! This is the sort of thing I’m looking for. Are the games in each individual year ordered by popularity? Or is it unordered?

It is ordered by popularity. There are some that can be debated (as far as order goes), but I think the list is mostly correct.

What would be the point of that? Popular =/= good.