Street Fighter is one of Capcom’s most beloved franchises, and fans will soon be literally able to challenge one another on the street—using their phones, that is. Skillz has partnered with Capcom’s Beeline Interactive to develop a dedicated, competitive mobile version of Street Fighter complete with a native streaming engine.
The Skillz platform allows typical mobile games such as Bejeweled to be turned into esports, where players compete for prizes that include virtual currency or cash. A subsidiary of Capcom, Beeline Interactive specializes in mobile game development and has adapted existing franchises like Ghostbusters for a casual mobile audience.
“Not everyone is able to afford the latest console, and a lot of fans aren’t able to participate in the larger hosted tournaments like Evo and the ELeague Invitationals,” Skillz co-founder and CEO Andrew Paradise told AListDaily. “Through this partnership, we’ll deliver fans a more accessible avenue for gameplay, and enable new fans to get a competitive taste of this classic franchise.”
Capcom isn’t alone in its strategy to make its arcade and console titles more accessible to the US’s 192 million mobile gamers. In addition to companion apps, video game publishers like Warner Bros. are creating unique mobile experiences to compliment their main titles and promote competition. While the best of the best compete in Street Fighter tournaments around the world, a competitive mobile version aims to be less intimidating and maybe even profitable for the player.
Skillz has run more than 100 million mobile esports tournaments to date and now hosts over 500,000 tournaments every day, awarding over $5 million in cash prizes to players every month. According to research from IHS Markit, esports is expected to become a $1 billion advertising industry by 2021, with video driving the lion’s share of revenues along with influencer marketing and sponsorship.
“Adding Street Fighter to the Skillz platform enables mobile gamers to play and stream one of the most popular fighting games in a competitive environment with our full-feature tournament system,” said Paradise. “This will be the first time a native streaming engine is built into a Street Fighter version.”
Competition aside, game video content is a growing market—on track to generate $4.6 billion in revenue in 2017 through advertising and direct spending, according to SuperData. While console and PC gaming are still popular sources for video game streams, mobile is also proving itself. Last year on Twitch, the most popular clip was of streamer Avaail playing Pokémon GO.
“The new mobile title will further Street Fighter’s reach into the world of competitive mobile gaming, including the potential to grow the already impressive fan base by accessing the world’s 2.6 billion mobile [users],” Paradise added. “This partnership will further Skillz’ mission of making competition available to all gamers at every level of skill.”
“Our new partnership with the iconic Street Fighter franchise is a further testament to the growing appetite for competitive mobile gaming,” said Paradise.