Most of the time, when people think about e-sports, it usually starts with a first-person shooter or a MOBA game. But not so long ago, fighting games were regarded as the ultimate in competition, and were what many thought of first when the idea of professional gaming got kicked around. Though fighter games have been somewhat on the decline of late, their importance in the overall field of competitive gaming was made quite clear with the recent playing of the Capcom Cup.
The Capcom Cup focused on three major Capcom fighters—“Street Fighter x Tekken,” “Super Street Fighter IV: AE,” and “Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3”--offering up right around $20,000 in prizes, with three prizes per game. Some of the competitors had sponsors, while others didn't, and each vied for the top spot in each game. The results of the tournament can be viewed out at the Capcom Cup website, and prizes ranged from $500 for the third place winners of “Street Fighter x Tekken” and “Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3,” to $6,000 for the first place winner of “Super Street Fighter IV: AE”.
Looking at this makes me wonder if an opportunity isn't being missed by game developers. One of the biggest problems that was noted in e-sports, not so long ago, was that it was difficult to develop games for the professional circuit, because pro gamers had their own interests and desires in terms of games developed, and these interests and desires were often contrary to those of regular gamers. Since it's actually proving a bit difficult to merge the two, perhaps it would be a good opportunity for companies—like Capcom—to start up specific divisions geared toward the pro gaming circuit. It would actually be possible then for companies like Capcom to start up their own kind of professional leagues around the games in question.
Sure, it may not be the best approach, and for companies that would rather subcontract out a bit, there's always the idea of companies developing specifically for, say, Major League Gaming. But the fighting game is one that's fallen out of favor, largely since the arcades fell likewise out of favor. It may, however, be time for that old and less traveled genre to make a bit of a comeback, and bring with it a whole new style of gameplay that's based on some of the greatest names of the past.