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, Dead or Alive, Samurai Shodown, 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 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 were also finding each other and discussing strategies through the internet on message boards. In 1996, the "Battle by the Bay" was conceived in order to quell debate over who was the best Street Fighter player in the country.[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. In middle of the 2000s the FGC's popularity began to fade due to lack of new fighting games, the overall sales of the genre, and some problems within the community.[citation needed] It was not until 2007 that a new spark arose in the community, when 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[6][7][8][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 Dominique Mclean, Yusuke Momochi, Snake Eyez, GamerBee, and more.


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, a phenomenon known as Esports, 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.[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.[18]

In recent years, the FGC has been rocked by numerous sexual assault and harassment allegations involving legal proceedings, including those of some of its most prominent Smash Bros players and organizers.[19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28][29][30][31][32][33][34][35][36][37][38][39][excessive citations]


Japan and its developers are the ones who popularized arcade fighters, beginning with SEGA's, "Heavyweight Champ" which made its arcade splash in 1984. Japan today still carries the title for most popular fighting game franchises, examples being ip like Super Smash Bros., Street Fighter, Tekken, and Guilty Gear. Though western developers like NetherRealm Studios still carry the western torch as far as being demographically popular.

The fighting game community has been praised for its racial diversity compared to other gaming communities.[40] However it has also been criticized for sexism.[41][42][43][44] Though despite past controversy, the scene prevails as one of the pillars of Esport competition.


Hundreds of online and offline tournaments are held worldwide every year, ranging anywhere in size from less than ten to over 10,000 entrants,[45] 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:

The Future[edit]

Talks as to how the fighting game community might grow are surrounded by the question of the recent free to play (F2P) trend. The community saw these talks in the 2022 Japan Fighting Game Publishers Roundtable 3, in which the most popular heads of development came together to discuss the future. Games such as Killer Instinct (2013) showed the potential for introducing new players through the F2P option. It used a free rotation model for character's that player's could try, and ultimately get invested into so that they might pay for the character they had liked. It was smart and successful, but was locked to a single console platform that was unpopular at the time, and on an IP that many casual gamers did not recognize. Though, eyes are on Riot Games and their upcoming F2P title, Project L, a fighting game using the famous League of Legends IP and characters. It is speculated that this title might be a bridge to the future for the FGC, and if done right might garner even more fans to the genre, and even greater prize pools for the competitive players. Of course it's all up in the air, and only time will tell. Everything is subject to change, and the future will constantly shift as the community continues to grow.


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  45. ^ [Evo 2018]