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Will new "Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite" game top "Marvel Contest of Champions" ?

Will new "Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite" game top "Marvel Contest of Champions" ?

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Marvel has had tremendous success in the movie industry but moderate success in the video game arena. With the exception of a few titles, the Marvel gaming library has been lackluster on the home consoles. That is with the exception of one genre. Fighting games lend themselves very well to the various superhero franchises. The Marvel universe has been featured in popular fighting games since at least 1994, when the Japanese publisher Capcom released X-Men: Children of the Atom in the arcade. Capcom had cemented their presence in the industry with the success of the Street Fighter franchise, now celebrating 30 years. Since then they have made fighting games based on monsters, robots, school kids and most important the Marvel heroes and villains. The announcement of Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite, slated for September 2017, has long-time players excited. For those that can't wait I would recommend a mobile game to hold you over.


Marvel Contest of Champions Copyright Marvel Entertainment. Marvel Contest of
Champions software 2017 Kablam, Inc. All rights reserved

Kabam Studios released the portable hit Marvel Contest of Champions in 2014. The studio unveiled the game to the public during the convention season, including an appearance at the D23 EXPO. In that time they not only managed to win over Marvel fans, but they gave both casual and "hardcore" gamers a reason to pick up the title. Fighting games are rarely done well on mobile platforms. The majority of franchises originally started out in the arcade. Games like Street Fighter featured a joystick and six-button layout. This was of course difficult to reproduce on a home consoles, portable consoles and touch screens. Over the years developers learned how to work with less buttons and different controls. They took what they learned in console and phone development and began applying them to the mobile market. Eventually studios like Kabam got to the point where a few taps and gestures on a phone could activate almost all of the same moves from an arcade fighter. This made Marvel Contest of Champions appealing to long-time fighting game followers.


White Fox and Guillotine Copyright Marvel Entertainment. Marvel Contest 
of Champions software 2017 Kablam, Inc. All rights reserved

Where the title really succeeded was in introducing the Marvel universe to casual audiences. People that didn't necessarily follow the comics or films were pulled into a story pitting the forces of good against evil. Audiences could select from a few popular figures, including Wolverine and Spider-Man, and unlock more characters along the way.  Movie rights limit which franchises are allowed to appear on screen, for example the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, X-Men and Avengers are supposed to share the same universe but Sony, Fox and Disney each own rights to different film properties. They have yet to reach an agreement allowing all of the characters to cross over, the hopes are that Sony working with Marvel on Spider-Man might be the beginning of a bigger trade deal. In video games the properties are much more open. The library of characters in Marvel Contest of Champions has grown over the past three years. The game currently boasts over 100 playable characters and more than 20 cameos from other fan favorites. The library here is much deeper than even in the Capcom games. Also, unlike the Capcom fighting games, Marvel Contest of Champions has a game play element that allows their characters to grow stronger and evolve the more they are used.


Taneleer Tivian "The Collector" Copyright Marvel Entertainment. Guardians of
the Galaxy Marvel Entertainment. Marvel Contest of  Champions software
2017 Kablam, Inc. All rights reserved

People that have been following Marvel comics for years would also find reasons to play the game as well. It sprinkles in elements from classic story arcs, such as the Secret Wars, Future Imperfect and Infinity Gauntlet. Yet it also manages to include hints of the stories and characters featured in animation and live action releases. A person that is familiar with The Collector from the Guardians of the Galaxy movie, or Disneyland attraction, would be happy to see him in the game as well. Those that only know the Marvel universe from the films would find just as many reasons to keep playing as long-time comic fans. In a unique turn of events a few comics were published by Marvel Studios so that comic fans could learn more about the game itself and what was at stake. Contest of Champions also managed to introduce a few new female characters into Marvel continuity, including South Korea's White Fox and France's Guillotine.


Marvel Contest of Champions Copyright Marvel Entertainment. Marvel 
Contest of Champions software 2017 Kablam, Inc. All rights reserved

So how is it possible that a mobile fighting game released in 2014 would still be doing well today? After all the Street Fighter, Tekken and King of Fighters franchises have all had sequels come and go in that time. Well, apart from new story arcs and updates to Marvel Contest of Champions, the game itself is free to play. The previously mentioned fighting games each cost about $50 and audiences have to wait months, if not years for patches and updates. If they want new characters or costumes they have to pay for the update. Marvel Contest of Champions is constantly being updated and fixed for free. Like many free-to-play games Kabam Studios makes its money from ad revenue and micro-transactions. The ability to make in-game purchases or sit through a sponsored ad has been making money steadily for several years. As of this writing the game is highly-rated in the App Store and is in the top-10 grossing iPhone games. It makes about $250K to $300K a day. That is not a bad number but a far cry from the $2 million a day that Supercell games makes on Clash of Clans.


Marvel Contest of Champions Copyright Marvel Entertainment. Marvel 
Contest of Champions software 2017 Kablam, Inc. All rights reserved

I look forward to seeing how Marvel Contest of Champions will develop in the future and what plans, if any, the studio has for a numbered sequel or release on home consoles. If you are a fan of the Marvel characters then I would recommend checking this game out. It might turn you into a true believer.

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