All Street Fighter 5 Gameplay DLC Will Be Free, if You're Willing to Play Enough
Capcom takes a wildly different approach to post-launch updates for the new Street Fighter.
Update: Capcom has clarified that it's specifically "gameplay" content that you'll be able to earn for free by playing. This leaves the door open for things like cosmetic items (costumes and the like) to be only available by purchasing them with real-world money.
Original Story: During a Street Fighter V panel at Evo 2015, Capcom revealed details about how it will handle post-launch content for the upcoming fighting game. It intends to only ever offer a single disc, and players will be able get all future DLC either by paying or simply playing the game.
Capcom set this up by taking a look back at how Street Fighter IV was handled. Following the release of the base game, there were a number of major updates released in bundle form over the years--Super Street Fighter IV, SSF IV: Arcade Edition, Ultra Street Fighter IV. Capcom said this had the benefit of reviving interest every few years, but it was hard to keep players engaged in the interim, and it punished those who took a break and came back to find out they had to spend money to play.
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Rather than go that route again, Capcom plans to introduce new characters individually. Capcom says this will ensure there's always something to look forward to, and the regular addition of new characters will keep the competitive scene fresh. This also allows players to pick and choose which characters they want, rather than be forced into picking up a whole Super or Ultra-sized package.
While this isn't a new approach to DLC outside of the Street Fighter series, what is different from most games is how you won't be forced to pay for anything. All balance and system updates will be free, while DLC characters can be purchased through a new in-game currency system. There are two types of currency: Fight Money, earned by playing the game, and Zenny, which can be bought with real-world money to unlock new content without needing to grind.
Capcom thinks this will offer "more long-term engagement, because the more you play, the more you are awarded." Additionally, it says this route avoids dividing the player base by releasing an update you have to pay for. Those who don't spend a dime beyond the cost of the game itself can simply play with the characters they have available to them.
Capcom also revealed that the game's core roster consists of 16 characters, four of which are brand new to the franchise. A new character is to be unveiled on Sunday, July 19, during the Evo finals for Ultra Street Fighter IV.
Street Fighter V is coming to PS4 and PC next spring. A PS4 beta is set to kick off on July 23 and will run through July 28, to be followed by a PS4 and PC beta this fall. A third beta will then follow at an unspecified time. Among other things, these betas will be used to tweak the in-game currency system.