The word ‘esports’ is always under the shadow of MOBAs such as Dota 2 and League of Legends, but one genre in the competitive gaming scene is slowly making a run for it once more and might make a strong contender: fighting games.
Fighting games are a big thing in esports — sorta. It has a strong, passionate community which is often referred to as FGC, or the Fighting Game Community. With a thriving community and myriad of fighting games such as Dragon Ball Fighter Z, Injustice, Smash Bros, etc., it begs the question: why isn’t it as big as most MOBA titles?
A vibrant, unpredictable community
After my friends introduced me to competitive fighting games a few months ago, one thing stood out that made me love the scene even more – the community.
What makes the FGC very interesting is the personalities within the circle. One notable person is SonicFox. When you first see him in videos or in person, one thing that you may notice is his unusual head gear, a blue furry cap that resembles a fox. Searching him in the internet will answer as to why he always dons this headgear — he considers himself a furry, a person who is sexually attracted to anthropomorphic animals.
Then there’s this one player named Porkchop. A known player in Tekken 7, Porkchop is considered to be a very eccentric person in the community, often known for his trash-talking and getting inside the mind of his enemies. Playing with him may be annoying to deal with, but watching him sure is fun!
The lack of rules in some tournaments of fighting games opened a lot of opportunities when it comes to story telling and letting the players be themselves in and out of the stage. It may be chaotic sometimes, but it’s what makes the FGC one of the most exciting spectator events right now.
The disparity between MOBAs and fighting games
One reason that fighting games is not as popular may have something to do with lack of funding from big corporations and even the game developers itself. For instance, League of Legends is currently handling their own league, with each players getting a salary from Riot Games themselves. Riot has also the control of the advertising, helping their players make a brand for themselves.
On the other hand, fighting games have little to no backing from big brands. 2018 is currently a good year for fighting games as many investors have found out that it might not be a bad idea to invest in the FGC. However, it’s still not as big as the support that MOBA games had over the years.
Fighting game players also have less paychecks compared to their MOBA counterparts. According to esportsearnings, the highest paid player right now is SonicFox, with over $400,000 total earnings. Meanwhile, the highest paid player of Dota 2, KuroKy, earns a lot more with over $3,000,000 in winnings. That’s eight times more than SonicFox’s total earnings.
Despite the lack of success compared to other esports games, what matters in the end is the solid fan base behind it. The dedicated community it has is enough to make it shine against other games. The genre has been here for a decade now, and it has been in a steady, constant motion ever since.
Fighting games may be in a tough spot right now. However, it doesn’t mean that the genre will die anytime soon. MOBAs and Battle Royale games may be what’s trending right now, but expect fighting games to outlive those games in the future.