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The best Street Fighter games ranked by sales

Posted by Jon 'Catalyst' Grey • August 1, 2021 at 7:55 p.m. PDT • Comments: 46

It's highly subjective which Street Fighter title is the best of them all, but what isn't as subjective is the amount of sales each entry has generated. While you may have your own personal favorite in the franchise, at the end of the day, we're ranking these games by how large of a financial impact — or lack thereof — each entry ended up being.

Up front, we're only counting the major entries here as their own entity. For example, Super Street Fighter 4 and Ultra Street Fighter 4 are counted as one and the same. That's also the case for the Street Fighter 3 and Alpha (Zero) games, as both of these iterated heavily on the previous entries, reusing sprites, moves and several gameplay elements throughout their lifespans.

#6 — Street Fighter 1

Regarded by most people as hands down the worst entry in the franchise, this game aged extremely poorly.

While it was a solid success when it was released in arcades in 1987, and also saw home ports to the TurboGrafx-CD/PC Engine — under the name Fighting Street — this wasn't a high impact entry that really stuck with gamers.

Consistently performing special moves in this game would give most gamers carpal tunnel, as the controls were about as loose and difficult to master as it gets.

Still, some people look back upon this game with fond memories, and it's interesting to see the entry which started the phenomenon, even if it wasn't that big of a success from a sales perspective.

#5 — Street Fighter 3 series

While Third Strike is one of the most beloved games in the entire franchise, no entry in the Street Fighter 3 series was ever able to sell a million copies on its own.

Street Fighter 3: New Generation, 1997, was followed up later that year by 2nd Impact - Giant Attack. The third and final entry in the Street Fighter 3 franchise would be 3rd Strike - Fight for the Future in 1999.

Fans of this series often cite the lack of initial console releases as a big reason why this set of games never took off well for sales, although this would later be remedied by the game seeing several re-releases and bundles.

It's also worth noting that all three versions of Street Fighter 3 were bundled in the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection, which was released in 2018, and sold almost 2 million copies. However, this also came bundled with all of the Street Fighter 2 titles, the original game itself, plus the Alpha games.

A Capcom staffer cited shockingly low sales for this entry of the franchise, and that it felt like they had created the worst selling game at Capcom ever. Street Fighter 3 reportedly struggled to break even, especially on the large budget Capcom had invested into it, which was roughly 8 million USD back in the mid 1990s.

#4 — Street Fighter Alpha (Zero) series

Known as Street Fighter Zero in Japan, this was a prequel series we got instead of the long-awaited Street Fighter 3. Initially released back in 1995, Street Fighter Alpha 2 would follow in 1996 and the series — mostly — came to a close with Alpha 3 in 1998.

There were a couple of portable entries for the third game, along with arcade upgrades, but it was the original PlayStation version of Alpha 3, which netted this series its only official 1 million sales mark.

However, this series was generally considered to be stronger by competitive players on the Sega Saturn, a console which did a better job overall with 2D games, and also offered a 4-MB RAM cartridge to add more frames and sprites into the mix.

Alpha 2 reportedly sold over 400,000 units on the Sega Saturn in Japan, and Capcom originally wanted to remake the third game instead of Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo HD Remix.

While not the most successful entry in the series, this set of games still holds a special spot in many gamer's hearts.

#3 — Street Fighter 5

With the most rocky initial release of all of the games in the entire franchise, many people might be surprised to see Street Fighter 5 ranked third overall.

That's until they take a close look at the game's sales, which currently rank at 5.5 million copies sold. Despite being exclusive to Sony consoles and PCs, this game fought through a very rough initial period of time and became a fairly solid success story for Capcom.

This game also helped marked a very different approach for many fighting game developers, as a special emphasis was placed on downloadable content (DLC).

DLC sales for the current crop of fighting games are rarely discussed by the companies who handle them, but that's a practice that may change in the future, and could even mean that this entry is more successful than we realize.

After a really rough release in 2016, this has been one of the more surprising successes from Capcom, and even set a record of 5,000 entrants back at Evo the year it was available to consumers.

#2 — Street Fighter 4 series

There was a near 10 year gap between Street Fighter 3: Third Strike and Street Fighter 4's console release in 2009, and the fervor which surrounded this game was palpable back when it was released.

Considered to be one of the best games of that year, and hitting very close to universal acclaim from critics, this game was a monster success story for Capcom, currently sitting around 9.2 million in sales across all platforms and iterations.

Capcom would release three major revisions to this game, Super (2010), Arcade Edition (2011) and Ultra (2014), with all title updates keeping a strong amount of momentum, and each major add-on selling at least 1 million more copies every time out.

Many modern gamers consider this the pinnacle of the franchise, for not only resurrecting a formerly stagnant but beloved IP, but also for breathing new life into the competitive scene.

It's almost unfathomable that any title could outperform this entry in the Street Fighter franchise, but you may have forgot about...

#1 — Street Fighter 2 series

It's hard to properly recapture the hype and phenomenon that was Street Fighter 2's release back in 1991.

Weighing in at over 14 million in sales, this was one of the biggest hits of the Super Nintendo and Genesis days. The Street Fighter franchise was going toe-to-toe in gamer's hearts and wallets with the likes of Mario, Zelda and Sonic the Hedgehog.

This game was every where. Airports, bars, camping trips. If you had a SNES and didn't have a copy of this game, many people would tell you that you were missing out.

Although Street Fighter 2 started to feel a bit long in the tooth, and that Capcom needed to hit us with the third entry after releasing Champion Edition (1992), Turbo (1992), Super (1993) and lastly Super Turbo (1994), considering the monstrous success they had — in hindsight — it's hard to argue against their strategy.

Street Fighter 2 has now achieved full legendary status as one of the most important and influential video games of all time. When gamers talk about the best titles ever created, it's not uncommon to see Street Fighter 2 taking one of the top spots.

It's hard to imagine any future Street Fighter title beating out 14 million copies, but we've seen a brand new golden era for fighting games, with franchises setting never before seen heights. It will be interesting to see what Capcom has up their sleeves for Street Fighter in the future.

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