Everyone knows that one of the best ways to get better at fighting games, or anything really, is to watch and emulate the best players or to watch yourself and learn from your own mistakes. Maxwell McGee recognizes this and offers developers and players suggestions to revamp the replay function and other similar features in fighting games in his latest article.
Here are two improvements that he mentions that would streamline those features and would eliminate the tedium of going through every replay individually to find a specific kind of match or even an interesting match between good players.
Consider YogaFlame24's channel on YouTube. This channel is constantly updated with quality matches from Street Fighter IV, with notable players earning their own playlists with specific characters. If I'm looking for high-level matches for a specific character in Street Fighter IV, there's a long list of handpicked matches at my fingertips to study.
Imagine if that quality of curation were present within the games themselves. At the touch of a button you could call up a list of all current replays using that character, with recommended players highlighted for your convenience. Maybe you track a few of those players, and whenever they upload a new replay using a character you are interested in, that replay will be added to your personal list. The next time you fire up your machine, there's a customized list of content waiting for you.
Even something as simple as adding tags to individual replays would go a long way toward bringing some order to this system. Individual character tags would let you filter not only your preferred character, but also who that character fights against to help study matchups. And get creative with the tags. Individual character tags are a given, but how about "double KO" or "double perfect" tags? Calling up a list of matches where the victor won with only a sliver of health would be very entertaining.
Maxwell goes on to cover other improvements that would signifcantly improve the quality of the replay function found in most fighting games in the rest of his article here.
It isn't easy to integrate the ability to stream and upload directly from the game, but fighting game developers should take note from Maxwell's article and should even consider looking into other kinds of competitive games from the popular multiplayer online battle arena genre, MOBA for short. Although it is just one of many reasons why there are tens of thousands people watching games like League of Legends or DOTA2 at any time, fighting games developers could learn from them and foster a better sense of community within our own genre.