Street Fighter V DLC can be unlocked for free

Or pay to get it faster

During a Street Fighter V panel at EVO today, Capcom announced a shift in strategy for the series.

The publisher is moving away from its long-standing pattern of releasing a major disc-based update to the latest version of the game. Going forward, Capcom plans to treat Street Fighter as a singular, evolving platform, which will be supported regularly with smaller, more frequent updates.

The kicker? Players will be able to unlock a lot of that downloadable content for free.

In addition to the base game, which will come with 16 playable characters — four of them new, all game balancing and system adjustments will be available for free. Moreover, Capcom asserts all post-launch “gameplay related” content can be earned by playing the game.

To that end, there will be a pair of in-game currencies, one called Fight Money and the other Zenny.

Fight Money is obtained in-game and can be used to unlock downloadable content. On the other hand, Zenny is purchased actual, real-life money and allows you to forgo any grinding and just buy whatever you want. Capcom didn’t provide any details regarding explicitly how the former is acquired and is still working on its pricing models for the latter.

While there’s potential for some free-to-play-style ugliness here, I like the idea of only having to buy one disc over the life of Street Fighter V. And there are some other benefits to the system, too — namely not splitting the community.

During the panel, Capcom senior product marketing manager Matt Dahlgren noted the “old strategy punished players who took a break from playing the game.”

“For instance,” Dahlgren continued. “If they stopped playing during Street Fighter IV, and they wanted to come back and play a little more during the Super Street Fighter IV era, they would have been forced to purchase an upgrade to play in the largest player pool.

“Essentially, what we did over time with Street Fighter IV is made our player pool smaller and smaller by eliminating people who didn’t purchase the upgrades. That old method forced players to purchase all of the new content, even if only a few characters were really appealing to them.

“Looking forward, our new strategy is more consumer friendly. This also creates additional long-term engagement with the game, because the more you play it, the more you’re rewarded. We’re always adding to the player base this time around — we’re never shrinking it by requiring a paid update. Players can leave at any time and come back at any time, and play on the latest balance adjustments with the largest player base.” 

Street Fighter V is coming to PlayStation 4 and PC sometime next spring.

Street Fighter 5 will have 16 fighters at launch, four of them brand new; Capcom will continually add characters post launch [EventHubs]

Kyle MacGregor Burleson