Fighting game community

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The fighting game community, often abbreviated to FGC, is a collective of video gamers who play fighting games such as Marvel vs. Capcom, Mortal Kombat, Soulcalibur, Street Fighter, Guilty Gear, The King of Fighters, Blazblue, Super Smash Bros., Tekken, Mobile Suit Gundam: Extreme Vs., Dead or Alive, Samurai Shodown, Shadow Fight 2 and many others. The fighting game community started out small in the late 1990s and throughout the 2000s referred to as the grassroots era, but it has grown to a larger scale in the 2010s, with many tournaments being held around the world. This is predominantly due to the rise of esports, online gaming, and digitized viewing habits on live streaming sites such as Twitch.


The Chinatown Fair arcade was one of the early venues where a competitive fighting game scene coalesced.


The game Street Fighter II: The World Warrior was a huge success when it was released in 1991 and is regarded as one of the most influential video games of all time.[1][2][3] It refined and popularized the fighting game genre and introduced many now-staples of the genre, such as combos and character selection but most notably, it allowed players to directly compete by fighting against each other in the game, while earlier games primarily had players compete by comparing highscores.[4] During the mid-1990s, a Street Fighter II tournament scene had coalesced in various cities across the United States. Highly competitive communities formed naturally in Chinatown Fair in New York City, Super Just Games in the Chicago area, and the Golfland arcade halls in Sunnyvale and Stanton, California. Players had also began finding each other and discussing strategies on message boards via the internet. In 1996, the first nation-wide fighting game tournament was held in the form of B3: Battle by the Bay. This tournament was conceived in order to quell debate over who was the best Street Fighter player in the country, but also attracted international competitors.[5]

2000–2009: early years[edit]

In early 2000, a forum was created called which was named after the iconic Street Fighter attack. The site became the main go to forum for many fighting game competitors and it quickly attracted the community to create major tournaments to gather the best players from around the country. One of the most major tournaments that gathers players from around the world is called The Evolution Championship Series (EVO). The rise in competitive video game genres during the 2000s became a phenomenon known as Esports. The early 2000s also saw the rise in online gaming as Mortal Kombat: Deception, Dead or Alive Ultimate, and the Xbox version of Street Fighter Anniversary Collection became the first fighting games to offer online multiplayer, which also contributed in growing the community. In middle of the 2000s Capcom's popularity began to fade due to lack of new fighting games, the overall sales of the genre, and some problems within the community; though it could be noted that the lack of a new street fighter game created a popularity vacuum, in which games like Tekken, Soulcaliber, Dead or Alive, and Virtua Fighter increased in popularity.[citation needed]

It was not until 2007 that a new spark arose in the fighting game community. Dead or Alive 4 was included in the Championship Gaming Series (CGS) in 2007 and 2008. It was the only fighting game included in the esport league and was operated and fully broadcast by DirecTV in association with British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) and STAR TV, [6] making Dead or Alive 4 the first fighting game to have a televised esport event.[7][8] After nearly a decade without an entry, Capcom announced the continuation of the mainline Street Fighter series with the development of Street Fighter IV, following up Street Fighter III: Third Strike after eight years. The game was acclaimed by major game review outlets[9] and is seen as the chief catalyst of the revival of the FGC. By rejuvenating the popularity of fighting games, its release also created an influx of new players into the community, increasing the number of competitors and introducing legendary players such as SonicFox, Momochi, Snake Eyez, GamerBee, and others.


Evo 2016 Street Fighter V finals held at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas

After the success of Street Fighter IV, new fighting games began being developed and the FGC expanded with more tournaments. The tournaments even started being live-streamed with Twitch so many people can view the tournaments. There are also sponsor-ships from franchises like Evil Geniuses, Broken Tier,[10] and Mad Catz,[11] which pays players for free advertisement.

Despite the rise of other competitive video game genres, many members of the FGC have rejected the label of "Esports" on their community.[12]

The overall size of the community remains a very small proportion of the fighting game market overall. Some of the genre's biggest selling games, such as Tekken 5,[13] Super Smash Bros. Ultimate[14] and Mortal Kombat X,[15] have sold in excess of 5 million copies. In contrast, the same games might only attract 1,000–2,000 entrants at a large tournament.[16][17] Typically some 20–30% of players fight online.[a]

In recent years, the FGC has been rocked by numerous sexual assault and harassment allegations involving legal proceedings, including those of some of the FGC's most prominent organizers like EVO co-founder and organizer, Joey Cuellar,[18] and some of the FGC's most prominent Smash Bros players.[19][20][21][22]

In 2020, the Japan Fighting Game Publishers Roundtable was announced where game development heads for Dead or Alive, Fighting EX Layer, Guilty Gear, Samurai Showdown, Soulcalibur, Street Fighter and Tekken, came together for a livestreamed discussion on the future of fighting games and other topics.[23] The event later followed with more developers, such as the developers for The King of Fighters in 2021,[24] and Virtua Fighter in 2022.[25]


In a 2014 article on the racial diversity of fighting game competitions, mainly the Evo tournament series, Mitch Bowman of Polygon wrote about "How the FGC's roots grew the most racially diverse community in gaming."[26]

A highly publicized incident of sexism occurred in 2012 at a U.S. tournament, when Street Fighter x Tekken player Aris Bakhtanians made comments about a female player's bra size and other sexist remarks, leading the woman to drop out of the event.[27][28][29] Later, during an interview with Twitch he is quoted as saying that "sexual harassment is part of a culture, and if you remove that from the fighting game community, it's not the fighting game community." He later apologized for his comments.[28][29][30]


DreamHack Montreal was part of the 2018 Capcom Pro Tour.

Hundreds of online and offline tournaments are held worldwide every year, ranging anywhere in size from less than ten to over 10,000 entrants,[b] depending on the location, entry fee, prize pot, and game or range of games available. Tournaments are typically run through grassroots community efforts, although an increasing number of tournaments are being sponsored by stakeholders like Capcom, Twitch, Red Bull, and Nintendo. [citation needed]

Examples of large fighting game tournaments and tournament series include:


  1. ^ Data from server logs, for example, 20% of Street Fighter IV players acquire the trophy for playing an online match on the PlayStation 3
  2. ^ Roughly 11,000 competitors registered to compete at Evo 2018, according to Dot Esports.[31]


  1. ^ Patterson, Eric L. (November 3, 2011). "EGM Feature: The 5 Most Influential Japanese Games Day Four: Street Fighter II". Electronic Gaming Monthly. Archived from the original on March 14, 2017. Retrieved April 17, 2012.
  2. ^ "Street Fighter II". The Essential 50. Archived from the original on July 20, 2012. Retrieved April 17, 2012.
  3. ^ Matt Barton; Bill Loguidice (2009). Vintage games: an insider look at the history of Grand Theft Auto, Super Mario, and the most influential games of all time. Boston: Focal Press/Elsevier. pp. 239–255. ISBN 978-0-240-81146-8. Retrieved April 17, 2012.
  4. ^ "Street Fighter II Influence". Archived from the original on 2017-03-14. Retrieved 2014-01-28.
  5. ^ Learned, John (2017-07-17). "The Oral History of EVO: The Story of the World's Largest Fighting Game Tournament". USGamer.
  6. ^ CNBC Archived July 11, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "Champion Gaming Series Games". Championship Gaming Series. Archived from the original on 2007-10-07. Retrieved 2007-10-07.
  8. ^ "CHAMPIONSHIP GAMING SERIES: A CONCEPT "AHEAD OF ITS TIME"". Hotspawn. Lawrence "Malystryx" Phillips. 8 January 2023. Retrieved April 13, 2023.
  9. ^ Reviews of Street Fighter IV:
  10. ^ "Broken Tier Sponsored Players". Broken Tier.
  11. ^ "Mad Catz Players". mascatz.
  12. ^ "The PA Report – Why the fighting game community hates the word "Esports"". 26 August 2013. Archived from the original on 2013-08-26.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  13. ^ "Tekken 6 – Entrevista". Vandal. 2009-07-26. Archived from the original on 2009-09-30. Retrieved 2011-09-27.
  14. ^ "Top Selling Software Sales Units – Switch Software". Nintendo. September 30, 2016. Retrieved September 30, 2016.
  15. ^ Hussain, Tamoor. "Batman: Arkham Knight, Mortal Kombat X Sell 5 Million Each Worldwide, Report Says". GameSpot. Retrieved October 13, 2015.
  16. ^ Walker, Ian. "Smash 4, Melee, and Street Fighter numbers are ridiculous". Shoryuken. Archived from the original on May 27, 2015. Retrieved May 28, 2015.
  17. ^ Macone, John (21 June 2015). "Ultra Street Fighter IV surpasses 2,000 entrants at EVO 2015". Eventhubs. Retrieved June 28, 2015.
  18. ^ Minotti, Mike (2020-07-02). "Evo 2020 cancelled in wake of sexual abuse allegations (Updated)". VB. Venture Beat. Retrieved 2020-07-02.
  19. ^ "Nintendo condemns alleged abuse in Smash Bros. – BBC". Retrieved 22 April 2021.[permanent dead link]
  20. ^ "Sexual abuse allegations surface in fighting game community". 2 July 2020.
  21. ^ "Multiple Sexual Misconduct Allegations Rock the Fighting Game Community Following Evo 2019". IGN Nordic. 13 August 2019.
  22. ^ "Over 50 sexual misconduct allegations have the Super Smash Bros. community in turmoil". Kotaku. 9 July 2020. Retrieved 22 April 2021.
  23. ^ Steiner, Dustin (30 July 2020). "Fighting Game Publishers Roundtable Announced to Discuss Future of Fighters, FGC". Esports Talk. Retrieved 2023-08-22.
  24. ^ Moyse, Chris (12 February 2021). "Second Japan Fighting Game Publisher Roundtable set for February 21". Destructoid. Retrieved 2023-08-22.
  25. ^ Michael, Cale (28 March 2022). "The ongoing skepticism of free-to-play models in fighting game development". Dot Esports. Retrieved 11 October 2022.
  26. ^ Bowman, Mitch (6 February 2014). "Why the fighting game community is color blind". Polygon.
  27. ^ Mark Graham; William H. Dutton, eds. (2014). Society and the Internet: How Networks of Information and Communication are Changing Our Lives. p. 92.
  28. ^ a b "Is pervasive sexism holding the professional fighting game community back?". Ars Technica. February 29, 2012.
  29. ^ a b "This Woman Is Fighting Sexist Gamers Because They Obviously Suck". 20 March 2015.
  30. ^ Casey Johnston (18 February 2014). "Women are gamers, but largely absent from "e-sports"". Ars Technica. Retrieved 9 November 2014.
  31. ^ Newell, Adam (21 July 2018). "Dragon Ball FighterZ tops EVO 2018 entry numbers". Dot Esports. Retrieved 4 September 2022.