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EventHubs 15-year anniversary, and a look back at how Street Fighter 4 reshaped the community

Posted by Jon 'Catalyst' Grey • February 15, 2022 at 7:26 p.m. PST • Comments: 77

"Street Fighter 4? That sounds alright, I guess..." - Jon 'Catalyst' Grey, October 2007, right after the game was announced.

The above is a verbatim quote I said aloud to myself some 9ish months after I'd launched EventHubs. Back then, we weren't even writing regular news stories, and I'd recapped what we knew about Street Fighter 4 on a single article page. A lot has changed over the last 15 years.

It's hard to believe it has been that long since EventHubs was launched, and the fighting game community has changed sooooooooooo much in that time.

We used to wish there would be official tournaments held throughout the globe, backed by the creators of these games, with enough prize money to support players doing this full-time.

Balance changes and regular DLC fighters were all just pipe dreams back then. Heck, even seeing a new Street Fighter game was beyond most people's expectations in the earlier parts of 2007.

Third Strike had come and gone for most gamers. Released in 1999, the sentiment was Capcom wasn't likely going to give us another entry in the franchise when they had stuff like Resident Evil and Devil May Cry to work with.

Fighting games were a very small niche that was once very popular, but became over-saturated in the latter part of the 1990s, and the critics and audiences had spoken with interest and sales dwindling heavily.

That changed when Yoshinori Ono, Christian Svensson, Seth Killian and many other talented folks at Capcom decided to bring one of their biggest franchises back.

Ono's ability to sell the media and gamers on his vision for Street Fighter 4 was outstanding. Exuding confidence, energy and perhaps most importantly, an understanding of what Street Fighter was and what it should become, it's wild how much momentum Ono and Capcom were able to create for the game.

The fact that Street Fighter was (mostly) dead back in 2007 was just a fact of the matter, and it was only this small niche of fighting game players who kept the franchise alive. I had no idea that things would be changing so dramatically. Neither did most of what was left of the community.

The explosion of new players that hit in February 2009 was so intense and divisive among the old guard of the fighting game community that the pejorative "09er" was coined, meant to show that these new gamers who jumped into the mix with Street Fighter 4 didn't understand the legacy and approaches the FGC held at large. That small niche of fighting game players grew from thousands to millions, it seemed like almost overnight.

We here at EventHubs were caught heavily by surprise by this success, but like many of our contemporaries, were able to ride this wave to where we are now.

Pro fighting game players are a common sight now, and DLC and balance updates have happened so frequently with the majority of titles, there has been pushback on how often both things should be added to these games. Our scene looks vastly different now than it did 15 years ago.

While some companies never dropped the fighting game torch and had regular releases from 1999 onto 2009, nothing matched the momentum and excitement that Street Fighter 4 brought back then. A lot of things we hold near and dear to our hearts in our community really got started with this game.

Now that we're also on the eve of another major announcement, likely Street Fighter 6, I wanted to take this time to recap one of the many routes we took to get here for our 15-year anniversary.

As is the tradition here, feel free to relay any and all memories of your time in the FGC in the comments below (for those who have an active account anyway, sorry that registration is still broken.)

HUGE thanks to the community

One thing is for darn sure... this site wouldn't exist without the very people reading this now.

Whether you're a fan of Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Tekken, Smash Bros., King of Fighters, Guilty Gear or all other stops in between, thank you sooooo incredibly much for taking the time out of your busy days to stop by and check out what we're doing.

Trying to imagine the 10 million+ people who view us every single year is mind-boggling, but seeing a steady stream of readers at all hours of the day, all days of the year, means we feel a heavy obligation to continue to serve the fighting game community's needs.

There isn't a day that goes by where our team here doesn't actively think and try and create the best coverage and information we can put out on the website.

And literally none of this happens, at all, if our audience doesn't continue to type in one of the goofiest names in all of the scene on the regular. EvenThumbs, Even Thubs, we've heard it all, but somehow people still manage to find us.

Thanks so much, to each and every one of you, for keeping our lights on and routers humming. Here's to another 15 years!

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