With Street Fighter 6, Capcom nailed it. The mood of the series, the visual look, the balance. Its online modes are sublime, and the company finally found a template that works for single-player. It’s one of the best games of 2023. But before its release year is out, Capcom is threatening that reputation with silly over-the-top monetization.
To be entirely fair, it’s important to note that Street Fighter 6 has been monetized with optional cosmetic items since its release. This has included things like gear for your player-created avatar character, stickers and other add-ons for photo mode or to adorn your online player profile, costume colors for the main cast, and regularly rotating ‘Fighting Pass’ content that lets you unlock premium rewards through playing.
All of this has been relatively fairly priced and pitched. It costs you extra, but at no point over the last six months have I felt like Capcom’s been gouging me, and I’ve been all-in on every battle pass and the like.
Today, however, Capcom debuted the first drop of the biggest and most important form of content for SF6; alternate costumes for the main cast of iconic fighters. Everybody knows that, post-launch, costumes are absolutely Capcom’s bread-and-butter for making money on Street Fighter. Characters are exceptionally hard to develop and balance, so though they are the top item, they have their limits. The company can pump out costumes with a greater regularity, however, and people buy them in their droves, keen to give their favorite some stand-out swagger on and offline.
Each character shipped with two costumes; their default, and a second that could either be purchased for a nominal fee or unlocked for free through completion of some basic objectives, like grinding out the best gifts in World Tour. Costume 3 has to be bought. Which makes sense. I don’t begrudge Capcom charging for costumes, as they have for over a decade, going back to Street Fighter 4.
My issue is how much they’re asking for, and how the whole purchase process is presented. If there’s a DLC sin, Capcom commits it here. Specifically:
- Costumes have to be purchased with ‘Fighter Coins’, an in-game currency that can be earned in small amounts through fighting passes, but for any real purchases with any real regularity has to be purchased.
- At 300 Fighter Coins, the costumes work out at something like £5/$6-ish per costume per character – which is expensive.
- Fighter Coins can only be purchased in set amounts; 250, 610, 1250, and 2750. This means that there’s no way to get exactly the amount you need for a costume: you’ll always have to overspend and have currency left over.
- Finally, costumes are available individually, which is great if you only want to spend on a single costume for your single main. But there’s no bundles and no bulk-buy discounts for players who want them all.
Any one of these things is an individual problem. I could probably swallow the more expensive costumes, for instance, if it wasn’t tied up in this separate currency bullshit. If I’d been able to buy a modestly discounted costume bundle from the Steam/Xbox/PS store, I probably would’ve done so with only the tiniest of grumbles – and certainly not this disappointed screed on VG247.
Let’s talk about the cost, though. All told, if you want to purchase all of the costumes for all eighteen of SF6’s launch roster, it’s going to cost you $100. Each costume is 300 Fighter Coins (FC). The highest FC bundle you can buy is 2750FC for $50. Buy that twice and you’ll have 5500FC - which will allow you to buy all the costumes and have 100FC left over, because it’s not possible to actually buy the exact amount you need for all of the costumes.
This doesn’t include costumes for the four characters that are joining the roster as part of the ‘season 1’ DLC, either. So you’ll need to shell out separately for them once those outfits arrive.
This is more than the base game for a bunch of cosmetic new looks. A lot of these decisions just feel needlessly greedy. For instance, Capcom sells 250 FC for $5.59 - that was right there. Why couldn’t costumes be 250FC flat, rather than 300? It’s also a price hike on Street Fighter 5 costumes. Bundles shouldn’t be the only option, as people should have the ability to only get outfits for characters they actively play - but it’s baffling to me that tournament organizers who want to offer costume variety on-stream or those who are completionists, such as myself, have no route to a discount for getting them all, either.
You can make the argument that this is all cosmetic, and therefore it doesn’t really matter. It doesn’t impact the game experience; it’s not pay-to-win. You can even twiddle settings to make it so that you never even see the custom costumes of others, if you so wish. But fighting games are to a great degree about self-expression - in your character choice, your play style, the combos you use, and the colors and costumes you go into battle with.
Capcom needs to make money out of these add-ons. I respect that. I am, after all, a man who purchased every costume in Street Fighter 5 twice - once on my main account, and once on account that lives inside an arcade machine, so whoever sits down at it has access to every outfit. A game like Street Fighter lives on for years, growing, changing, and supporting a competitive community. Over those years, its creators deserve a revenue stream. But it doesn’t need to be as shameless as this.
All told, it’s a swing and a miss, and a blight on a game that is my personal game of the year. With 400-some hours logged on it since June, I haven’t once thought about stepping back from Street Fighter 6 - until now. Even with a great game, it’s possible to push your luck too far. And today, almost six months to the day from its release, Capcom has pushed too far. It’s time for a rethink.