The fighting game genre has been popular for decades, and one of the legends of fighting games will be seeing a new version next year as Street Fighter V comes to the PlayStation 4 and the PC. The game was first announced during the PlayStation Experience last December with a trailer, and Capcom recently released another trailer for the game to whet the appetite of fans.
Capcom’s brand marketing and eSports product manager for Street Fighter, Dan Pantumsinchai, spoke with [a]listdaily recently about Street Fighter V and the marketing strategy for the game.
What has been the fan response been to Capcom’s reveal of Street Fighter V, which started at the PlayStation Experience last December?
It’s been really, really positive. Fans have been playing Street Fighter for over 25 years now. The franchise is legendary in how it’s sparked interest in the fighting genre with Street Fighter II, and then re-ignited that passion with Street Fighter IV six or seven years ago. Now we are definitely seeing that fans are ready to play the next-generation Street Fighter title coming exclusively to PlayStation 4 and PC. Fans are really interested to see where we’re going to be taking the game, and they will not be disappointed.
The newly released M. Bison trailer looks great. Why did you choose this villain as the next step in your Street Fighter V video campaign?
We’ve shown two protagonists so far — Ryu and Chun-Li who were both in our announce trailer. Next we followed up with Nash, a fan favorite character that hadn’t been seen in the series since the Alpha days. He’s a very mysterious character as well, and we look forward to revealing more of his background. We haven’t shown an antagonist yet, so we felt fans would be excited to see M. Bison. He’s been a staple in all of the Street Fighter games since Street Fighter II and people are digging his new look, his new moves, and they are really happy to see him back in this game.
What can you tell us about the marketing strategy for Street Fighter V?
Our Street Fighter V campaign is focused around the tag line ‘Rise Up’, which we use in the trailer. You can see the tone we’re going with in the announce trailer, where we focused on the human element in Street Fighter, the people, the passion, and the culture that surrounds the brand. A lot of people know of Street Fighter from back in the day of playing Street Fighter II in the arcades, but since then the brand has really evolved to become a pop-culture phenomenon. We have films, music, anime, comic books, figurines, collectibles, apparel — you name it. Even Internet memes, with ‘hadoukening’ becoming such a big thing a while back.
Street Fighter has really permeated modern-day culture, and we feel that is something that really sets us apart from other brands. We have such a passionate fan base who cares about the characters not only in the game, but outside the game. We wanted to highlight their contributions to the brand and show the rest of the world that Street Fighter is something really cool you should be paying attention to. The ‘Rise Up’ tag line has to do with rising up to follow your passions, be it film or art or music and so on. Rising up to the challenge, being the best you can be, and overcoming any obstacle that gets in your way. That’s what we feel Street Fighter embodies. It’s not just the game, it’s the spirit of Street Fighter that we want to highlight with this campaign.
How does the cross-platform play between Windows and PlayStation 4 figure into your marketing strategy?
With Street Fighter V it was really important for us to find a way to unify our fan base. In the past, there’s been Street Fighter on multiple consoles, so there have been fractured communities on line, where people on one platform could only play against people with the same platform. With Street Fighter V, Sony has been a big help, and we’re true partners on this project. It was Sony who enabled us to have cross-platform play in Street Fighter V, which will allow us to finally unite the online community. So PS4 users will be able to play against PC users for the first time in franchise history, which is a huge thing for us. Street Fighter is obviously a competitive game, and opening it up to a whole new section of users is going to create more online rivalries and push everyone to become better players.
What’s the importance of eSports in marketing Street Fighter V? The popularity of eSports has really taken off since the last Street Fighter title was released.
It’s hugely important to us. As you said, eSports has seen a meteoric rise in popularity in the past few years. We’ve been paying very close attention to that, and eSports is an integral part of our strategy. We launched the Capcom Pro Tour last year, which is the first eSports league centered around Street Fighter. This is our second year, and we learned a lot from last year. It was a huge success and pushed the community and the fighting game scene to new heights.
This year with Sony’s support behind Street Fighter, we’ve been able to make it even bigger and better. We have over 40 tournaments worldwide, in different regions around the world — North America, Europe, Asia, as well as other countries that are up and coming such as Brazil and Kuwait. We’re really trying to provide equal competitive opportunities to all of our players out there. We also have a huge prize pool this year of over half a million dollars — the largest prize pool the fighting game community has ever seen. We are committed to supporting eSports and Street Fighter going into the future as well, and the release of Street Fighter V will be yet another milestone for this historic franchise.