It also leads to more people interacting with the fighting game community through websites like Shoryuken and Frame-advantage, something which BlazBlue producer Toshimichi Mori sees as a quintessential ingredient to the continued growth of the genre.
"The fighting game community is the future of fighting games - no question. It's a relationship that must work two ways. We need the community to continue enjoying and buying our games, but we can't expect this to happen if we fail to entertain and surprise them. That is the key - we must work hard, not just to bring new experiences to the existing community, but to entertain people in such a way that new players are attracted to the community."
But attracting new players is no easy task, as the inherent complexity of fighting games is often a barrier that casual players aren't willing to overcome. And while games like BlazBlue and Marvel vs. Capcom offer streamlined control schemes as an incentive for beginners, Mori doesn't see this as a long-term solution.
"Fighting game creators have a responsibility to new players. I don't mean adding touch-screen special moves like in Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition, but adding easy to follow tools for people to understand how combat flows and how combos work. We worked very hard on BlazBlue's tutorials and challenges, and I think they made a big difference to the game's accessibility."
Another way in which fighting games are improving their widespread appeal is by offering more in terms of a single player experience, as while the genre is often seen as having a competitive focus, some players would rather play solo. Something which Mortal Kombat lead designer John Edwards and his colleagues are clearly aware of.
"I think two things need to happen to ensure the future is bright for the fighting genre. The first is finding some way to recreate the experience that got most of us hooked in the first place - competitive play with an emphasis on group interaction. The other thing is to create compelling single player content that acts as a way to hook the more casual gamer that might not otherwise give a competitive fighting game a chance."
And for Ishiwatari, this means looking beyond the core "fighting game" experience.
"Opening up the entertainment around the central fighting game focus, with things like a better Story mode, can attract new players. At Arc System Clash in London, we saw more female gamers enjoying BlazBlue - perhaps not the hardcore competition, but the universe and characters. If you can get new players and new types of gamers involved, fighting games will continue to have their place."
Street Fighter III 3rd Strike: Online Edition (UK: 26/08/11)
Anyone looking to track down the aforementioned Street Fighter Anniversary may want to wait for this up-and-coming release on XBLA and PSN. Online Edition is set to be the superlative 3rd Strike experience as it will feature the legendary GGPO (Good Game, Peace Out) netcode to keep lag minimal. "I still feel excited by Urien's charge partitioning and Ken's hit confirmation," Odashima admitted.
Street Fighter X Tekken (Q1 2012)
The clash of Street Fighter and Tekken characters in a genuine fighting game crossover is a big deal, as together they make up some of the best known characters in gaming. "Street Fighter X Tekken will break the barrier of being a traditional fighting game and seek for fresh blood to enter and compete with the veterans," Ono describes. "It will be a fighting game where a super skilled player and a noob can somewhat compete on a fair ground, hopefully!" But while Capcom have already released footage of Street X Tekken in action, Namco are still keeping their plans for Tekken X Street Fighter under wraps.
Tekken Tag Tournament 2 (2012)
"Tekken Tag Tournament 2 will be the culmination of the entire Tekken series", Harada states. "Not only are we able to show four characters on screen at once, but its graphics will be much more beautiful than Tekken 6. This time it's a Tag version, so two characters can do a combo at nearly the same time. You can make an opponent fall from the balcony and then the partner who is waiting at the bottom can do a combo. There will also be infinite strategies for the tag team combinations."
SoulCalibur V (2012)
Some people were less impressed with the shoehorning of Star Wars characters in SoulCalibur IV, so Odashima and has team are going back to basics for the next instalment in the Soul series. "SoulCalibur V is based on the concept of a new chapter. We've been creating the game so that players can easily understand it and feel exhilarated. Fighting games are difficult, but I want to make SoulCalibur V understandable and easy for beginners to start playing."