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Why Street Fighter 5 Lost 75% Of Its Playerbase Within Months

If one were to look at the typical metrics, "Street Fighter 5" appeared to be a massive success. However, an in-depth look at player activity tells a different story. Within only a few months of launching, "Street Fighter 5" became one of the few games to lose almost its entire player base within such a short time frame. 


According to a Capcom Investor Relations report, as of Sept. 30, 2022, the game had sold an incredible 6.80 million units since its February 2016 launch date. This makes it the eighth best-selling Capcom game of all time. 

Despite these great sales numbers, within months of the game's launch, 75 percent of the "Street Fighter 5" player base stopped playing the game entirely, according to data provided by V-League to SegmentNext. According to the outlet, the 2016 Capcom title was pushed hard in the esports circuit, exposing it to a variety of new players. Nevertheless, old players were leaving the game, and new players had a hard time acclimating to it. That said, the problems causing this tumultuous relationship between "Street Fighter 5" and its players are no mystery.


Why the mass exodus?

Many of the issues currently plaguing "Street Fighter V" have been ongoing since its debut. For instance, according to SegmentNext, it's highly speculated new players had a hard time understanding the game's mechanics and controls. It doesn't help, then, that the title continues to have a number of issues, most of which remain unsolved. Even mysterious events at tournaments couldn't boost the metrics.


For instance, "Street Fighter 5" suffered a number of online connectivity issues to the point that Capcom's Yoshinori Ono was forced to issue an apology. Rage-quitting became so prevalent that Capcom was forced to implement very strict penalizations for doing so, such as League Point reductions and other temporary restrictions (per Eurogamer).

Over the years, numerous fans have voiced their disappointment in, and criticisms of, the game. Entire Reddit threads are dedicated to examining where the game went wrong.

"Sfv had a reeeeally rough launch, with big input delays, bad net code, combo dmg going through the roof and basically no single player modes or content at full price," one player stated on Reddit.


"When it was released it was unacceptable. Barely any content and an atrocious online experience made for a cocktail of bad press and lack of faith. I was personally surprised by the lack of many features that existed in other fighting games at the time," another wrote

Likely thanks to all of these issues, 75 percent of the game's player base checked out after only playing a dozen matches, which goes to show: Numbers aren't everything.