Theory to decine of arcades and fighting games


I’ve been pondering for a while since threads opened up asking how the arcades or particular fighting games went down the crapper. I really like the question posed, but it turns into a defend your game thread when it shouldn’t be so. I think I have a theory but curious if I am missing something that I didn’t think of that contributed to this. I would appreciate other people’s opnion.

Back when arcades first developed anything that was in the arcade was way better then anything the home consoles could touch. Thing was the boards were made for the particular arcade boards there was no standard so the arcade boards were constantly being inproved cause each board was made for each arcade game.

In 1985 that started to change with the introduction of the JAMMA standard where all that was needed was to swap PC board in and out of a arcade cabinet. This was revolutionary, but did start a trend.

In 1988 Capcom made the CPS-1 board when introduced the idea of playing multiple games on a single board by swapping out the games. Thus saving in costs. After this the arcades saw many types come forth that are similar like the Neo Geo MVS but this saw a significant reduction in updating of graphics due to the use of arcade owners using the same board.

When the 5th generation of home game systems came around (PSX, Saturn, N64) the home market had almost caught up graphics wise to the arcade games. None of the major manufactures wanted to switch to a different board unitl Capcom developed the CPS-3 board and brought out Red Earth (which many know nothing of). It didn’t become news worthy unitl Capcom brought out the arcade game Street Fighter III New Generation.

The sales of Street Fighter 3 didn’t take off like expected because many arcade owners were hesistant to buy an entire new arcade system when new Marvel vs. & the Alpha series games were coming out for the CPS2 board and the arcade owners didn’t see any reason to spend more money when it looked like the players were happy to play the cheaper games.

Starting in 1999 the 6th generation of home game systems came out with the Dreamcast. The Dreamcast was easily powerful enough to reproduce graphics identical to it’s arcade counterparts and many players slowly turned away from the market to play the same game at home for a one time price. Capcom quickly ported their fighting games to the new system and sales were disappointing initally because of the looming threat of the Playstation 2 coming out.

In 2000 the Playstation 2 came out and quickly crushed the Dreamcast in sales causing Sega to give up support on the Dreamcast. Sony on the other hand (in the U.S.) deeply frowned upon older 2d games and didn’t like to support them. Since the newest version of Street Fighter III (3rd Strike) came out in 1999, Sony would not put it on their new system until 2004 (in a compilaiton).

Capcom seeing none of the game produced on the CPS-3 board produced the sales it wanted rethought it’s fighting game market and started to produce their new games on the new Naomi system which was based off the Dreamcast system. In doing this the fighting game market conceded that the home market had caught up to the arcade market in graphics and they were now banking that the players would not mind that the arcades are no longer superior to the home market. During this same time Tekken, the biggest 3d fighting game in America was making it’s newer games on the Namco system 256 board which was based off the Playstation 2 system.

During the time of the 6th generation, people slowly left the arcade scene seeing no difference in playing the games at home. Capcom saw the fighting game market as dead and stopped supporting it in 2004 after Capcom Fighting Jam was released on the system 256 board. To many at the time this signified the end of the arcade era.


What is your theory exactly? That as consoles became more able to replicate or surpass arcade games graphically people stopped going to arcades? Everyone knows that.


@OP: While I don’t disagree with you, your post doesn’t explain why the arcade scene is still huge in Japan. They have consoles there too. How come they’ve still got a vibrant arcade scene? You can mention “cultural differences” all you want, but I’ll tell you this: if the arcade scene was still alive in North America, if there was an arcade on the corner of my street like there used to be, I’d be playing there more often than at home. Playing a fighting game shoulder to shoulder with my opponent is so much more fun than having to listen to childish, hate-filled voicechats of online scrubs who wouldn’t dare speak that way in person.


Japan is a much smaller country and the companies that make the games are actually located there so its less costly to establish arcades and publish arcade games domestically.

I wonder why California has a larger arcade scene then New York? closer to Japan would be my reasoning


If you look at Capcom,Sega, and Nintendo who were the big Japanese 3 never got apart of the great graphic leap forward like Microsoft,and Sony did. Instead they stuck to their and made more critically acclaimed games on their own than all the first party titles of Microsoft and Sony combined.
Yet the decline of fighting games is mostly due to the fact that Capcom so many good fighters out Jojo, SFA but they shot themselves in the foot with the proliferation of SF2. If Capcom had allowed owners to lease and trade in their older sf2s and gave them the chance to pick up titles like Jojo and SFA for cheaper. Instead they had arcades stuck with sf2 and games like Xmen vs SF became easier pickups since Marvel Comics was having a big boom. Now this was good but, the street fighter franchise as a whole was getting stagnant with copycats and shitty games like MK, and K.I getting arcade casuals .SF as a whole in America was almost dead since the best way to play street fighter was at an arcade when gamers were steadily finding quality titles on the home consoles. .


@NAP: No a few things added together did it. 1. Arcades became too universal to make updates to the PC Boards easily, 2. Street Fighter 3 could have ushered in a new graphics age, but due to a series of unfortunate events it never happened 3. Consoles caught up to arcades. Possible 4th would also be we live and die by Capcom too much. Only other company we support this much is Namco.

@blitzfu: Didn’t want to go into commenting on Japan cause I grew up in the US and watched it decline anything I say about Japan is speculation cause I didn’t grow up there. The reasons I heard were the PS2 in Japan was not restricted from 2d fighters like the U.S. was. Japan was not as gung ho about Capcom as the U.S. was and they had strong support of Sega, Sammy, and SNK which none of those companies stopped producing fighting games. The average time a Japanese person spends commuting to work is 2 hours, so they are more inclined to stop at an arcade to wind down rather then hop right on the train. Last the walls in a Japanese home are very thin and it is much easier to go to an arcade w/ friends rather then having friends come over to play games cause you would have to be so quiet. Again thease are things I heard. I don’t know how much are true which is why I really didn’t want to comment.

@bluith: My guess is the tournaments out there always seemed to be a dime a dozen even in the worst times. I used to pick up a gaming magazine and see a new tournament for out there. Again I’m speculating cause I’ve always been in the Midwest.

@El Chupa Negro: I agree, but I would also add that when Capcom went from the CPS-1 to the CPS-2 board, they moved almost all their future titles to the CPS-2 board. Arcade manufactures didn’t have a choice but to get the new system. When the CPS-2 to CPS-3 conversion happened. Capcom decided to test it by looking at what Street Fighter 3 did in sales and only brought out JoJo’s games on the system while it was out. If Capcom to the CPS-3 what they originally did to the CPS-2 it might be more interesting although by that time the market was being saturated like you said, so there was no telling what would happen.


Nigga, what the fuck is a DECINE?


I like how alienated SRKers are. “Capcom invented this, Capcom invented that”. “Capcom, Nintendo and Sega”.



Yeah, because you know, one guy is ALL OF US.


The way things are set up in Japan as well as the general urban culture is more conducive to arcades than in the US.


One thing is that unlike Japan, people don’t need a fucking car to get everywhere. Places are more within walking distance, there’s the buses and there’s the trains.

America is gay because a lot of our locales insist on making places revolve around needing a car to get anywhere which is fucking stupid.


Maybe its because America is a lot bigger than Japan? :confused:


While that is true, it also depends on where you live in America. The further you go west, the more spread out things tend to get, and the further you have to drive to get to where you want to go. I don’t have to drive anywhere in Boston to get where I want. Aren’t most arcades concentrated in Tokyo? Do they have them all throughout the entire country?


Nominated that post for article

make sure to at least spell check your title next time OP


Come on, bro. If you’re gonna bring up this discussion, at least have a fresh idea. Is your next article gonna be…

"Theory to defeating jumpins…

Uppercut them."


Could somebody retitle this to Hypothesis to the decine of arcades and fighting games. Not sure what a decine is either but at least he will be using the right word. Next time you have an idea, label it properly.


This is why I think an arcade revival is possible at this point.There is obviously a market for it.Of course arcades are dead but there doesn’t really seem to be any hate for them.I mean if you asked the average gamer today would they say they hated the arcades?Sure they might say they wouldn’t go there every day but I don’t think gamers(the type that play MW2 etc…) would say that they wouldn’t want to see arcades at all.Maybe it’s a problem of distribution?Before you had dedicated companies in the USA and suppliers abroad who would be able to hook up arcade operators with cabinets and games.Nowadays it seems as though you have to know someone in Japan to be able to get 20 astro city cabinets supplied at a ridiculous price.Maybe that TV stereotype from the 90s that arcades are “shady” and are generally where bad people go, still exists?

I say this as a non American.As far as I know the UK has never had an arcade fighting game scene similar to that of Japan or America,so maybe I am making too many assumptions.But I do find the whole decline of the arcades in america an interesting topic, just from the business and economics side.

Everyone listen to the Gootecks podcast with Shogo because he talks about the arcade scene and what it took to open up his arcade.Very interesting.


You must defeat 1st grade english to stand a chance…


I don’t get what you are saying son How am I alienated because what I wrote. Capcom, Sega, and Nintendo were the big japanese 3 and they had the most power around. The American video game industry was still in its infancy. The American Video Game Industry got its big leap forward when Goldeneye came out and Crash Bandicoot. Until then most American games came out were on the PC and people weren’t buying p.c’s like that until towards 2002 almost. Even today pc games set the standard in America graphically and storywise. Japan showed no interest in ridiculous great graphics in games beyond cutscenes.


Personally I like SNK/Playmore more then Capcom. That being said I haven’t heard one intelligent rebuttal from the responses that I’m just a fanboy for Capcom. If my theory is wrong enlighten me. Where do you think the arcade industry went wrong? Playchoice 10? MVS? Mortal Kombat?