When it comes to competitive gaming, tournaments are the backbone of the genre. During the past year, a lot of tournaments made modifications because of the ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic.
As the year begins, however, safety provisions will likely persist as planned tournaments and events are forced to adjust to an online presence. One of the biggest markets affected by the global pandemic is fighting games.
The fighting game scene is usually a social one, uniting players across the globe in competition. Throughout the past year, however, a few large scale yearly fighting game tournaments across the United States, including CEO and Combo Breaker, were canceled or switched to an online-only format.
In the past, yearly fighting game tournaments such as Arc System Works’ Arc World Tour and Bandai Namco’s Tekken World Tour, boasted on hosting multiple qualifiers across the world. These leagues were also limited to online events, with Capcom’s own tournament suffering the same fate.
The Capcom Pro Tour was originally delayed because of the concern of the pandemic’s effect on offline play. During the summer, the Capcom Pro Tour launched things off with a few online qualifiers. The climax, Capcom Cup 2020, was set to take place on February 19 to 21 in the Dominican Republic.
Due to the rising cases of COVID-19 worldwide we have made the difficult decision to cancel #CapcomCup. In its place we will be producing an online season final for #CapcomProTour February 20th and 21st. Details following: pic.twitter.com/3WsObiSFVA
— Capcom Fighters (@CapcomFighters) January 15, 2021
However, a month after the reveal, Capcom released an official press release stating that the Capcom Cup finals will be canceled due to rising COVID-19 cases. The event will shift to a two-day online season final and is scheduled to take place on February 20 and 21.
One of the main criticisms about online gameplay in fighting games is the unstable netcode. To put things in perspective, the difference between losing and winning a game is left to player skill in an offline setting. However, during online play, there are far too many factors that leave things to chance.
Dropping frame rates, throttling speeds, and lag spikes are just a few of the major discrepancies that might disturb the flow of gameplay on both parties. Most of the time, it’s enough to drop game-winning sequences altogether.
As fighting games are now played online a lot more these days because of the global pandemic, a few fighting games have rallied towards embracing rollback netcode or enhancing the online experience altogether.
Titles like Guilty Gear XX: Accent Core Plus R and King of Fighters 2002 UM experienced record milestones in player count as a result. One of Tekken 7’s selling points for its Season Four launch was the promise of an improved netcode. The positive feedback following Season Four’s enhancement also reflected on its increased player count during the beginning of the season.