PS4 May Deliver Street Fighter V’s First Punch

It looks like Xbox One may take a licking if a leaked Street Fighter 5 trailer can be believed. Sony has an exclusive on the new entry in the popular franchise, according to the video. Still, it's unlikely that the game's developer would agree to a permanent exclusive, as that would mean profits would take quite a blow. Xbox One gamers likely will just have to wait to join the brawl.

A trailer leaked on Friday indicates that Capcom’s biggest upcoming title, Street Fighter V, will be an exclusive for Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Windows PC.

The trailer apparently was accidentally posted prematurely on Capcom’s YouTube channel — albeit briefly — before being taken down by the game publisher, but it is still circulating, thanks to publications that picked it up during that brief window.

The video reportedly was meant to debut during this weekend’s PlayStation Experience event in Las Vegas. Capcom’s Street Fighter producer Yoshinori Ono is one of the presenters scheduled to demonstrate upcoming titles for Sony’s PlayStation 4 at a PS4 event.

Street Fighter V will be the first new Street Fighter game since the 2009 release of Street Fighter IV for Microsoft’s Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC. The franchise first arrived as an arcade game in 1988, and it has been the subject of animated and even live action films, but it has been popular on home video game consoles since the early 1990s.

All About Timing

If the leaked video is to be believed, Xbox One gamers may be left on the sidelines this time around, at least temporarily.

Many video games arrive as “timed exclusives,” and eventually make their way to other systems. Given the importance of the brand to Capcom, it is unlikely that the company would forever limit it to just the PS4 and PC.

Ono previously referenced his desire to produce Street Fighter V for the PS4 and Xbox One, but he hinted that it might require a large staff and large budget. Limiting the game to one console would reduce its chances to become profitable.

“It is not clear at this point if it will be a permanent exclusive title for the PS4,” said Wanda Meloni, principal analyst at M2 Research. “However, it would seem like an exclusive for a locked-in period of time would be an appropriate partnership.”

Truly Exclusive

If Street Fighter V is truly exclusive, it will be a major score for the PS4, especially as Sony and Microsoft continue to vie for games that could set their respective consoles apart.

“This is a big franchise and a feather in Sony’s cap,” Meloni told the E-Commerce Times.

“It’s a big play with core gamers and may help to sway those still on the fence this holiday about what system to purchase,” she added.

“It is hard to predict, but I think that this is likely to be a timed exclusive,” added Christine Arrington, senior analyst for games at IHS.

“The franchise is relatively important, and given the long time lapse between Street Fighter IV and Street Fighter V, there is likely to be some pent-up demand from longtime fans,” she told the E-Commerce Times.

“In the past, sales have been quite respectable, and there is a nostalgia factor that comes with it that will likely help drive sales,” Arrington continued.

“The biggest winners, of course, are Street Fighter fans who have been waiting quite some time for the next version,” she observed. For Sony, this franchise will be additive. In other words, Sony has been racking up exclusives, and this adds to the library.”

Major Blow for Microsoft

If Street Fighter V should turn out to be a true exclusive for Sony’s PS4, as opposed to a timed exclusive, it could be a major blow for Microsoft’s Xbox One.

“Depending on what other exclusives and news that comes out of the Sony Experience, Street Fighter V just adds to the message,” said Arrington. “It is part of the narrative that Sony wants to communicate — that it has a compelling library — and that is what will sell consoles.”

Yet it might not move the needle much for Sony. Its PS4 already has a significant sales lead over Microsoft’s Xbox One, and although the Street Fighter series has a long and rich history, there are a lot of fighting games on the market that could fill the void for gamers on competing systems.

“It’s hard to say how the Street Fighter 5 exclusive might impact platform sales. We’ll have to wait and see what the numbers say,” commented Meloni. “That said, it is a solid move by Sony and means Microsoft will have to pull out all the stops to impress consumers.”

Peter Suciu is a freelance writer who has covered consumer electronics, technology, electronic entertainment and fitness-related trends for more than a decade. His work has appeared in more than three dozen publications, and he is the co-author of Careers in the Computer Game Industry (Career in the New Economy series), a career guide aimed at high school students from Rosen Publishing. You can connect with Peter on Google+.

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