Finally, Street Fighter 5's arcade edition is the real deal.
Street Fighter 5 has been out for a while now, and the expanded Street Fighter 5: Arcade Edition made its way to PS4 and PC earlier this year - but despite the game's name, SF5 has never actually been available in Japanese arcades... until now.
While the full arcade release of Street Fighter 5 was announced a couple of weeks ago at Tokyo Game Show, the test versions of the new arcade cabinets are now out in the wild in Japanese arcades - as shown above in the video from YouTuber NihongoGamer.
This isn't just a copy and paste of the gorgeous Taito Vewlix cabinet that's been used for the arcade releases of games like Street Fighter 4 and Persona 4 Arena, however - it's a new cabinet design that has some neat new features all of its own.
The biggest addition is a significant one for the make-up of Japanese arcades - a USB port right on the front of the machine. That port is used for bring-your-own-controller action, so while there's a nice standard Sanwa stick and buttons built into the machine, if you want to bring your own stick you can. Furthermore, this port appears to work with pretty much any PS4 or Xbox controller in wired modes. This is a big deal, obviously - fighting game players who prefer controllers have previously been limited to console-only play.
Given that a lot of Japanese Street Fighter pros practice in the arcades, the embracing of alternative controllers could have a significant impact on what type of players we see rising up to the top spots in tournaments. Finally being in the arcades should also help bolster competition in and around Japan, too - Japanese players have repeatedly cited the lack of an arcade version as a thorn in SF5's side.
The cabinets also have another little neat esports-focused addition - a large second screen atop the cabinet, high above the players. This means that others can watch the match in progress without crowding too close around the seated players - and that, too, is pretty cool.
The arcade edition of the game on offer in this limited location test has scant options - just one round of arcade mode and versus play - but the full release seems like it'll support everything from the PC and PS4 versions of SF5 - and some of the DLC stages show up in this build already. It's not clear if features like Fight Money and modes like the Dojo and 'Fighting Chance' loot box system will appear in the arcade version, but with users able to save process via Nesica cards in Japanese arcades, they may well make it over.
As somebody who loves arcade stuff and even owns a couple of cabinets, I'm a big fan of this design - and I can't wait to get a chance to play on one at some point in the future. If only those Vewlix cabinet imports didn't cost two grand...