Street Fighter V is going free for a week to test season two and CFN changes

All fighters will be unlocked during the week-long beta, but progress will be wiped when it's over.

Capcom is bringing a number of new features and enhancements to the "Capcom Fighters Network online experience" for Street Fighter V, including improvements to matchmaking, faster loading times, more updates to the rage quit penalty system, and better friend management options. To show them off, it's also offering a free week of online play, running from 1 pm ET on March 28 until 12 pm PT on April 3, with all fighters unlocked including the newcomer Kolin

The free week is actually an open beta intended to test the CFN updates, and also the balance changes made for the upcoming Street Fighter V season two. "We understand that Street Fighter V’s server performance has been a less than optimal experience for many of our players. The improved CFN experience is the result of rebuilding it from the ground up to address the most pressing issues that will ultimately result in a better online experience," Capcom wrote on Steam. "That said, we want to collect feedback and ensure everything is optimized for launch. We will be giving PC players a sneak peek of what’s to come while putting the new CFN through its paces with an official PC Beta Test." 

The beta is "entirely separate from the base PC client," but existing players will carry their CFN username, rank, standing, and other information into it, while new players will just set up a new CFN profile for the period of the test. Once it's over, however, all player data including replays, Fight Money, and character progress will be wiped. That clearly makes the free week more appealing to newcomers than veterans, which is why Capcom has unlocked all fighters, including Kolin, for the week: To encourage people to take part, even if it's not ultimately going to help them make "real" progress.    

Once the beta is wrapped up, "Capcom will make further adjustments to optimize the new CFN and it will make its official release to both PS4 and PC players soon after," the studio said. The freebie is limited to Steam players (is there anyone who doesn't play it on Steam?) and online modes only, but otherwise it's completely unlocked and free to play as you like. A full (and very long) breakdown of the season two balance update is available at capcom-unity.com, and you can get a look at the coming CFN changes below.

  • Matchmaking Improvements: For most players, it will take less time to find an opponent in online matches. Matchmaking logic will help players avoid being frequently matched with the same opponent.
  • Ranked and Casual Match Loading Times: There will be a shorter transition when going into a Ranked or Casual match.
  • Interactive Timeline: On the new CFN home menu, a live feed of Friends’ activities will be presented on an interactive Timeline. Using the Timeline, players can immediately add a recent match to their Replay List, view a Fighter Profile, manage Friends, and adjust Timeline display settings.
  • Friend Management System: In addition to adding someone to Favorites, players can now blacklist players or add friends and follow them on CFN.
  • “Rage Quit” Penalty System: Special “rage quit” player profile icons will appear on profiles with frequent disconnections. Matchmaking logic will take into account online behavior and frequent disconnectors will be matched with similar opponents.
  • Training Mode – User Settings Saved: Training Mode settings will be saved and will carry over to the next time the mode is accessed.
  • Battle Lounge Country Flags: Country flags will appear in Battle Lounges, allowing players to locate competition in their region.
  • Country / League Based Rankings: Players will be able to filter leaderboards based on Country or League.
  • In-Game Announcer Voice: The in-game announcer will provide players and opponents with stats using data pulled from the server.
  • Fighter Profile Stats: More detailed stats will be tracked and presented on Fighter Profiles.
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