This was an event that Capcom hosted for the upcoming release of Marvel Vs Capcom 3. They’ve hosted a few of these things all around the world, to not only give fans (open to the public) a chance to play the various pre-release versions of the game, but also just to show they care about the Fighting Game community.
Now I blog this for 2 reasons. 1. I am SUPER ULTIMATE HYPE for MVC3. 2. This is a shining example of what larger companies can do to reach out to their fans. I don’t mean go throwing parties at fancy clubs, but really show fans you care.
Let me explain: The fighting game scene is a relatively small (but growing) niche market of gamers, but one that so hardcore and passionate about their craft, they make most professional athletes seem like kids playing stick ball in the back yard (in terms of enthusiasm and dedication - not athleticism). These guys spend up to 8 or more hours a day just playing training modes (some in games over 10 years old!) in order to figure out absolutely every single possibility they could face in a match to better themselves. That seems crazy to most people, but at high level play, games like Super Street Fighter 4, Tekken, and the MVC series are more like a game of chess then a videogame (just chess with a manual dexterity requirement).
I understand that without any knowledge of the game, it’s hard to see how it’s anything more than button mashing, but that’s not really the point right now. My point is that is that in terms of big money (and i mean BIG money) Capcom could focus elsewhere in greener pastures (They do have a mobile department that makes iPhone games - also see what I did there?). But they’ve reached out to their most dedicated fans, threw them a few parties, given them multiple venues to speak their mind and provide feedback (both online and off), and most importantly: LISTENED. I mean there are multiple references in the MvC3 to a You Tube video… As a result, not only have they made their niche market extremely happy, but these guys hype will be contagious. Capcoms (relatively small) efforts to a (relatively small) niche, will (and has) resulted in an increasing market for fighting game, and more sales.
I often hate videogame companies trying to create markets out of nowhere and do whatever they can to increase sales (cough cough Activision), but I have no problem when they do it in a way that’s both awesome for the players, and the company. That’s what business should be all the time.
So companies, listen, and remember your customers are not your slaves, but your allies.