In case you missed the news, Capcom has announced an all-in-one plug-and-play system called the Capcom Home Arcade. It sounds dreamy at first, with its custom arcade-style build for two players, based around a Capcom logo. It also has a pretty good game line-up, including exclusives like Progear and the long-awaited return of Alien vs. Predator. But before you go rushing out for a pre-order, you may come to the same realization as some other fans. Despite a good effort, Capcom’s getting it wrong.
The company isn’t usually prone to the plug-and-play gaming market, and it is trying to do something unique compared to the competition. But by the same token, Capcom is slamming the door on anyone that doesn’t have a comparative budget to get it. And judging by how it’s done business in the past, it’s just a bit confusing.
The Capcom Home Arcade looks clunky
The system’s setup is quite odd as it automatically comes with two joysticks. In the past, with plug-and-play systems, we’ve seen a second player as an optional choice. This is particularly true with the SNES Classic Edition and the NES Classic Edition. You can have a second controller for these systems, but it’s not necessary to enjoy what they have to offer.
With the Capcom Home Arcade, however, there’s no choice. You have two joysticks even if you don’t have a player two. That means you’ll barely use the other side, unless there’s an option to do so, and that just makes it bulkier and more expensive.
That brings up an interesting secondary point: storage. With the system having two players side by side, the Capcom Home Arcade seems unnecessarily bulky. Is having a Capcom logo on it pretty cool? Sure, it’s a neat design idea. But trying to store is going to odd since it won’t fit on your typical game shelf because it’s too lanky. The unit is custom built with arcade style parts, and it looks fantastic as a result. However, by spacing it out with a similar build, it runs the risk of being too big.
A tone-deaf price
It’s quite expensive. This is a huge factor when it comes to the sales of the Capcom Pro Arcade, as it will likely be limited to those that can afford it. And that’s a shame.
While the stick doesn’t have a price in the U.S. just yet, it’s estimated to be around $250 to $300. That’s judging by the $229 it sells for overseas, and the $350 (!) it sells for in Canada. Final pricing suggests it might be $250. But even then, that’s for, what, 16 games? Sure, some exclusives. But $250? It’s a hard bargain as it is the same price as the new Xbox One S All Digital.
The Capcom Home Arcade is an even worse value proposition in comparison to other Capcom releases. Capcom Beat ‘Em Up Collection came out a little while back, offering seven classics for just $20. And keep in mind that some of those games, like Warriors of Fate and Battle Circuit, are exclusive to this collection. So you’re paying $20 for one collection and $250 for another? Something’s off.
And the Capcom Home Arcade has no way to add new games. Yes, the system connects to Wi-Fi, but that’s only for leaderboard support. And there’s no external drive or anything that lets you add other titles, much less make them compatible with this elaborate control setup. As a result, the Capcom Home Arcade is limited to just the 16. Again, some of these are great exclusive titles, but that doesn’t justify the price.
It even looks bad when compared to other classic game consoles. The NES Classic goes for $60, with its core package (before modding) including 30 games. The SNES Classic has only 21 games, but only sells for $80. Still a more than reasonable value considering the games included.
With the Capcom Home Arcade, you’re essentially paying almost $20 per game. And considering we own some of them to some extent (like Street Fighter 2), that makes it sound less and less appealing. And the most infuriating thing is that some of these games may never be offered outside of the Capcom Home Arcade.
The Alien in the room
Obviously, Alien vs. Predator is the big one here. That game, based on the comic book series of the same name, is considered one of the best beat ’em ups from the publisher. And yet, we’ve never seen a home release. Apparently, Capcom worked its magic with Fox to make it happen again. And yet, the Capcom Home Arcade is currently the only place to play it. No digital re-releases are likely to happen, unless the company changes its mind sometime in 2020.
We’ve heard whispers that this is some weird licensing deal with Fox, requiring that an arcade component of some kind be used with Alien vs. Predator’s release. If that’s the case, then this one isn’t Capcom’s fault. But that doesn’t explain the other games it has the rights to.
A lot of fans have wanted Super Puzzle Fighter 2 Turbo on Xbox One, PS4, and Nintendo Switch for some time. We saw a mobile release, but it’s not the same. And now it’s coming back but it’s an exclusive to Capcom Home Arcade? Does Capcom or Fox not realize how much money they are missing out on not making it available for Nintendo Switch?
Taking the other games hostage
Other games, like Capcom Sports Club, aren’t nearly as vital, though they would make good general releases down the road. But it makes no sense that Capcom would limit them so much to this collection and nothing more. We’ve seen them celebrate these classics in the past, and even as a DLC model, they work.
Capcom Arcade Cabinet, which came out years ago, proves this point as it came to Xbox 360 (and eventually Xbox One) and PlayStation 3. It didn’t review too well but had an undeniable that many people could play, even though it didn’t have bigger releases like Forgotten Worlds and Bionic Commando. It didn’t matter as much since it explored some great classics like Black Tiger, 1943: The Battle of Midway, Ghosts ‘n Goblins, and Trojan, for an affordable price. These are long lost favorites that wouldn’t break your wallet in case you wanted to collect them.
And yet, Capcom Home Arcade feels like a complete flip in that logic. Sure, you can have these exclusive games, but only this way. It just doesn’t make much sense, especially to those that can’t afford it. Capcom should offer this as an alternative to the die-hard fans and, maybe, Capcom Arcade Cabinet 2 for those that require something less pricey. It’s a win-win as Capcom has enough nostalgia banked so some people would assuredly want the Arcade and Capcom would still make extra bank in digital sales. Alas, that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.
For collectors, the Capcom Home Arcade looks like a solid win. But then there’s everyone else to consider like those that will never get to experience Alien vs. Predator because they lack a deep wallet or want a chunk of plastic that clunky. This goes for other favorites too, like Strider and Giga Wing, since they are also exclusive at least for the time being.
Capcom, especially recently, is easy to love. But options would go a long way here. Yes, it would be nice to celebrate its classics but hiding them in a bulky, funky-looking plug-and-play system isn’t the best way to go. Having options, however, is. You can have your Home Arcade, sure. However, don’t forget the gamers that want to enjoy the titles a different way, too. Remember, we’re all fans and we’re not all made of money.