If you're a fan of the fighting game genre, this week was a big deal for you. The highly anticipated release of the newest edition of the long-running Street Fighter franchise was released and, before the first 24 hours had elapsed, the game had broken a major record on Steam. In fact, it didn't just break it - the game shattered to a point that it will be a challenge to be surpassed.
The fighting game community
The fighting game community is a fickle group. While every game is given a chance, very few make the cut. Some franchises, which have been around for years, are judged differently. There's a level of nostalgia that is applied to the initial excitement, but if the game doesn't live up to the hype, it is panned quickly and gamers move away from the game.
The newest entry in the Street Fighter franchise has been the latest game to go through this treatment. After years of waiting for a new game, fighting game fans have been playing the game in hopes of finding another top-tier game in the franchise. It appears, based on what we've seen online, as well as the excitement of our own team over the game. The excitement over the title has been the catalyst for an impressive record.
The top fighting game
There are a lot of statistics that are tracked across the gaming world. Many of them come from Steam, as the company's data is easily accessible and, therefore, easily trackable. One of the best trackers for data on Steam is SteamDB, which tracks a wide variety of statistics. At 9 am on the morning on June 2, 2023 (the day the game launched), SteamDB showed a massive accomplishment: 66,317 concurrent players for Street Fighter VI. This was the most concurrent players for a fighting game on Steam ever.
That is a lot of players online at the same time, but it is made even more impressive when you know that the previous game taking the top spot, Mortal Kombat 11, did so with 35,147 concurrent players. So, this record that was set was done so with nearly double the number of players. But, that's not the end of the story. With a small amount of time, the game has actually broken its own record. On June 3, 2023, at 3 am, the number of concurrent players rose to 70.573 - just above double the record set by Mortal Kombat 11 4 years ago.
If MK11 was able to hold onto its record for 4 years, and SF6 was able to beat it by over double, we can expect that this record will stand for a while.
Why it matters
The fighting game industry has gotten complicated over the past few years. Everyone wants to get into the space, launching their own games. With titles like MultiVersus and even Super Brawl World looking to compete in the samebox, you get a lot of dilution. In a crowded space usually comes a decrease in active players for each. But, when a game is truly fantastic, it can draw all of the industry's attention to itself, which is what appears to have happened here.