Tekken 7 lives in two very different worlds - the world of arcades, thriving in Japan but ailing in the west, and the world of consoles. Game Designer Michael Murray would like to bring those worlds a little bit closer together, with the use of Tekken 7's online matchmaking.
Set to be the third game in the Tekken console series with the option for online battles (or second, if you don't think the free-to-play Tekken Revolution counts), it will be the first to implement the same system in arcades, allowing players to "go outside [their own store] and match against someone in another location." That should be helpful if your local joint isn't offering any real competition. If you're a wide-eyed hopeful, the next step would be to link these two system into one huge battlepalooza, where console and arcade players could throw each other into volcanoes to their blackened hearts' content. While the idea sounds ambitious or even impossible, Murray told GamesRadar+ in a recent interview that the interest is very much there: "That's something our subsidiary [Bandai Namco Holdings] is actually asking about...we're still exploring what's entailed in trying to even achieve that."
Technical complications are an obvious roadblock here - Sony would have to allow that sort of interconnectivity through the PlayStation Network, though luckily it's been open to the idea with Street Fighter 5. However, Murray's biggest concern is players acting less than sportsmanlike and upsetting the system's delicate balance.
"If you're playing on PS4, you've bought that game, you might meet some real jerk online who disconnects because he's going to lose," said Murray. "You get angry, but there's no big deal, because it's not like it cost you any money because of that. But in the arcade, if you're linked to that person, you're paying ¥100 (about $1.00) to play, and the match gets interrupted, then we could get a lot of complaints about that." So folks like that jerk you knew in middle school who pulled the plug rather than lose might ruin Tekken unification for all of us (freakin' Craig). But not all is lost, and there's still the chance that Murray and his team will be able to find a workaround if interest is strong enough: "we haven't decided one way or the other yet."
Though if Tekken 7's arcade and console networks do become one in Japan, it may still not come to pass in the US - while the console release will definitely arrive at some undisclosed point in the future (after the Japanese arcade release of Tekken 7: Fated Retribution, an expansion that will be part of the console release), the arcade version's fate isn't so certain. "We did some location tests in North America, mainly in Los Angeles, New York, and in the southwest somewhere, and that's still not decided whether it's going to see a full [arcade] release in the US. The arcade sector is still in discussions." So if you love Tekken and live in L.A., New York, or somewhere in the southwest, find those machines.