Capcom has had a bad recent history regarding their practices regarding DLC and PC ports. Some players have had massive problems regarding getting the Dead Rising 3 PC port to work at launch (and some continue to still have problems), and there was the problems with the on-disk DLC for Ultra Street Fighter IV. However, what’s gone under the radar was a change that happened several months ago regarding the network portions of the Ultra Street Fighter IV port. And what complicates that is the game is still being actively sold with no mention by CAPCOM on the main store page regarding the network connectivity issues that players are experience. It reveals a problem with online focused games, with user/critic reviews, as the ever changing landscape of the online community can make a huge difference on the enjoyment of the game.
Some backstory to this problem: Games for Windows Live (known as GFWL) had a shutdown date of July 1st earlier on this year, so several games had to make a transition from their services. This affected games like Dead Rising 2 and Resident Evil 5, but the bigger problem seem to be present for Ultra Street Fighter IV. Many players have gone to the forums complaining about the state of the online play. And the problem seems to be reasonably clear: as the switch from the GFWL service seems to be the main cause. A reddit user by the name of poke133 used a Microsoft Network Monitor to analyze the connections during a GFWL Ultra Street Fighter IV match, and compared it to the same game using the now Steam based connections (the link to that thread is here) . He notes specifically that there are lot of UDP binding requests that are present in the Steam version, while there are none in the same GFWL. It’s noted that Endless mode for example doesn’t have the problem, as you’re not getting polled as much as the regular match lobbies, and that seems to be causing the main issue. It seems to be a pretty big hint for where the issue lies, as a Capcom representative has seemed to acknowledge the problem, as shown via a discussion here with wbacon. However, you’ll note that is August 8th, and the user base is still indicating major problems with the game.
Now, apparently a patch has been made by the team that went live on October 15th that made changes to the netcode, however, there’s still a major problem present as users as still finding major issues with connections left and right. The amount of traffic present in the network makes a difference obviously, but players have noticed for example that the time of day/region makes a huge difference. In short: try to play when a lot of people are playing: you’ll run into problems. However, testing the changes seems to not have made a significant impact on those experience.
But what’s even more interesting about this story in my mind is the fact that the game continues to be sold with no mention on that from Capcom on the store page. Now, the reviews that I see are pretty strong against the current state of the game, as a majority of the recent display reviews mention the problems with netcode. And the thing is, there’s a reason that this popped up on my radar again: the most recent loot crate had a free code for Super Street Fighter IV, Arcade Edition. Which seems to translate in Ultra Street Fighter IV for some reason. So, there could be a possible flux of new purchases and players coming to the PC version. And those people may be completely unaware of the problems the game have, if they don’t look in the right place. Even the latest information of the 1.04 patch does not contain any information regarding any fixes regarding the network service. In fact, there seems to be work on animal costumes as DLC content, which with a main portion of the game having issues for a bunch of your player base, seems like an incorrect focus on the resources in question, unless of course the main aim is to make money.
Now to Steam’s credit, the way their algorithm works for putting user review scores on the main store page takes into account the date of the review, and more recent reviews are shown. It’s a good step to tell the user what they are potentially purchasing a broken product. But it becomes a question: when a game is network based: how do you take that into account in a review, when it’s specifically related to the current state of affairs. Hell, that can apply to any part of the game with the current Steam landscape (early Access games and evolving games are the prime example). Games like DayZ are always evolving, and it’s hard to get an understanding of the current state of the game.
But the question that I pose is this: when is a game considered enough to stop supporting the efforts to fix bugs and issues that are affecting the player basis. I think a lot of people would agree with me that a timeline of “forever” doesn’t make logical nor business sense, but what is a good cut off point? The thing is, the game was working perfectly fine for people of the series earlier in the games time line (Super Street Fighter IV, and earlier this year). There’s a clear problem with the implementation, with Endless mode working perfectly fine. How does a consumer hold the producer up to the fire in terms of getting them to fix the issue? The biggest tool that a consumer has, their wallet, is out the window in this case, at least for this purchase. It may stop those players from holding off on future purchases of the series. And lately, Capcom has given me at least no reason to buy any game of theirs in the future. The poor PC port of Dead Rising 3, Resident Evil 6, and now this, gives me plenty of reason to hold back on buying their releases, especially at full price.
Well, to me, if you’re still actively promoting the game, and developing in game resources for it, it seems like you are obligated to fix significant issues that the game has. So my question to Capcom is: where are the fixes for PC networking, and where has been the communication for it? So Capcom, what gives?