A few days ago, Capcom announced the “sponsored content” option starting 11 December where players can obtain additional Fight Money (the currency you use to buy characters and stuff) in Ranked and Casual Matches. Sponsored content/ads will be on fighter’s costumes, on the loading screen before a fight, and on stages like the Ring of Power. Oh, and you can play the game for free from now until 19 December (PST).

Thankfully, you can turn these off because this level of shilling is pretty bad, especially in the fighting game circuit where it’s commonplace during major tournaments.

Just look at these characters and tell me the gaudy blue-and-white stickers don’t ruin the aesthetics.

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Even Dhalsim’s baby skulls and Akuma’s heaven kanji are not safe from the power of the CPT shill. So much for keeping SF’s iconic looks and poses sacred. Can you imagine seeing another sponsor’s logo on the same spots? Playing as Akuma and landing his Raging Demon feels less impactful when he turns his back to reveal a HyperX/Red Bull/Monster logo.

The sad thing about this is that it’s the possible state of things to come. Street Fighter V was built as a US$60 game with additional DLC and expansions that unfortunately come with extra price tags. If Street Fighter V was a free-to-play game, then the ads do make sense. As it stands, it’s just Capcom finding new ways to keep the game on life support as well as to recuperate from the loss sales in the fifth game, which is still under the shadow of its predecessor Street Fighter IV.

I do hope Capcom knows what it’s doing with this sponsored content idea, because it’ll be pretty weird to see Cammy, Abigail, and Chun-Li brandishing Burger King/Domino’s/KFC ads next year. Again, kudos to the company for giving us the ability to turn it off.

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