For the entire lifespan of Street Fighter V, it has never failed in its divisiveness. You either love or hate the game, and at this point those who love the game are tired of those who don’t. However, one thing that is unanimous among the player base is that the netcode is absolute garbage. I can definitely get behind that sentiment and is one of the reasons I don’t really bother with ranked mode. Some people have reported their matches being good about 25% of the time during sessions. I’m more in the 50% category, but your mileage definitely varies depending on where you are. I’m in a metropolitan city with above average internet (at least, above average for the current infrastructure) with an ethernet cable, so I’m more likely to get good matches more often.
Of all the costumes, all the characters and stages, all the new mechanics, the players have wanted one thing: better netcode. There are times where they shut the game down for a patch and we all come back wondering if it’ll be better…and it never really is. Well, perhaps it took more than Capcom to get this netcode finally fixed. Perhaps it took a fan with what seems to be a better understanding of how the netcode actually works. Posted by Reddit user Altimor, the netcode fix is exactly what it says it is. It’s a fix, a bug fix specifically. What the patch does is simply reduce the packet loss between players, making the rollback much less harsh and the game much smoother. Now, it doesn’t fix bad connections, but it does make the netcode do a better job of stabilizing them. It sounds great! But of course, it comes with a couple of catches.
For the PC crowd, this patch is a godsend. According to various sources, the patch works well locally and internationally with connections ranging from perfect to playable. This is good because it shows that the netcode CAN be fixed and isn’t some unsalvagable mess. However, this is just for PC. PS4 users still have to endure the netcode as is, since there’s no way to put a patch onto a console. That’s to be expected. What was unexpected though was the result this patch would have on PS4 players. Basically, the patch pushed all the rollback and lag onto the PS4 player. Before, it was the PS4 player that would benefit from the netcode more often than the PC player. This patch reverses that and makes matches unplayable. This, I’ve tested for myself and…wow. I’ve never willingly endured such trash before.
What can you do about it? Just set your hardware preferences. An easy fix, though it may make it harder to find matches. And there are some who have no idea about this patch and are about to get ruined by PC players. Now, it would be easy to be mad at the PC crowd for this, but I’m much more interested in Capcom’s response to this. So far, all we’ve heard is a patch is coming Tuesday. For what? They didn’t say. Some speculate that it’s to patch out the fix, others hope it’s so they can emulate the fix for PS4. If Capcom were smart, they would do the latter. They’ve already had to go through the embarrassment of getting shown up by one person who fixed something in 2 days that they haven’t fixed in 4 years.
The question then becomes: Why couldn’t Capcom do what this guy did? Was it some sort of issue of pride? Was it because they didn’t know how? Were their priorities that screwed up? In any case, I’m glad this patch exists. Before, I was one of many who just tolerated the netcode. Now that we know what needs to happen, there’s no reason why Capcom can’t just fix it now. If all they did was download the patch themselves and just copy/pasted it onto PS4 or something, then that would be fine. But I’ve got my money on them patching out the fix.
This patch is a game-changer for SFV. This is when people are going to demand Capcom do better by this game, and they’d better listen. These are fans who want to enjoy the game and want to play it without the stress of lag. There has been a rise in the demand for better netcode in games and I think this is perfect timing. As people who want fighting games to do better, we should be making those demands. If nothing else, it’ll encourage people to play the game more. You’d be surprised at what games people buy because of good netcode; see “Fight of Animals.” For now, the most we can do is make sure Capcom sees this is takes proper action to do right by their fans and fix this awful netcode. What do you think? Have you tried the fix? Is it good? Bad? Or do you not care? Let us know in the comments.