Mortal Kombat Around the World
Mortal Kombat is very popular in North America, but how well does it fare around the world?
Mortal Kombat is an incredibly popular and successful video game series, and the latest installment in the franchise, Mortal Kombat 11, is no different. In fact, by October 2020, MK11 had sold over 8 million copies across all platforms. It was also the fifth-best selling game of 2019 in the United States, and North America is generally agreed to be the strongest region in the Mortal Kombat scene. However, despite MK's popularity in North America, the graphic gameplay naturally turns many people away, with certain regions of the world having a larger disinterest in the franchise. So how exactly does Mortal Kombat fare around the world?
As previously mentioned, North America is where the majority of Mortal Kombat players are located. The United States houses some of the most decorated MK players, such as Dominique "SonicFox" McLean, Jarrad "NinjaKilla212" Gooden, and Ryan "Dragon" Walker. Even Canada has top players, like Alexandre "Hayatei" Dubé-Bilodeau, Matthew "Biohazard" Commandeur, and Tim "HoneyBee" Commandeur. North America has always been very competitive in the FGC, but that's doubly true in Mortal Kombat. Since MK11's release, North American players have won 10 of the 11 tier 1 events, though it remains to be seen who wins the upcoming WePlay Dragon Temple.
Though Brazil banned Mortal Kombat (2011) following its release, MK11 has become a rather popular fighting game title in the country. So far, Wellington "Konqueror249" de Castro has established himself as the best Brazilian MK player, having won the TRETA Championship 2019 and the Liga Latina 2019-20 Finals. The Sub-Zero main also attended Final Kombat 2020, though he only finished in 13-16th place. Mortal Kombat also gained quite a bit of traction in Argentina and Chile, with Jorge "HeeyGe0rge" Castro being the latter's most accomplished player.
The United Kingdom has the largest presence in the European Mortal Kombat scene, with many notable pros such as Denom "A F0xy Grampa" Jones, Tyrese "DizzyTT" Carl, and Jordan "VideoGamezYo" James. While no other country has quite as large of a scene as the UK, several players represent their nations on the world stage, such as Greece's Marios "Nivek" Bitsikokos, Spain's Sebastian "Fasoll" De Luca, Italy's Alfio "Asodimazze" Zacco, and Ireland's Luke "IrishMantis" Kearns.
The Mortal Kombat series has become quite popular in Russia and Ukraine, although MK11 was banned in the latter due to an in-game skin. There are several notable Russian players, such as "ArnKratos," "Dubasik," and "Sakr0n." Even Azerbaijan has a representative on the world stage in "MK_Azerbaijan" who will be attending WePlay Dragon temple.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Mortal Kombat isn't a very popular game in the Middle East. Still, the region has managed to produce some world-class players, such as Bahrain's Sayed "Tekken Master" Hashim, the only non-North American player to win a tier 1 MK event, and Saudi Arabia's Baraa "Shark Teeth" Al Jaadi, who has attended numerous international tournaments. Both players have competed in various NRS titles, although Tekken Master, as the name implies, also participated in Tekken tournaments.
Mortal Kombat was initially created to appeal to a Western audience; MK was something completely new, and the gory shock factor was designed to attract the masses in American arcades. While Mortal Kombat found insane success in North America, the same can't be said for Asia, with MK11 being banned in Japan, China, and Indonesia. Japan has a huge presence in other FGC titles, so its absence in Mortal Kombat is definitely felt. The same could be said for China, considering how large the Chinese market is. It's not as though there isn't an MK player base in Asia, but with major countries having banned the latest installment of the franchise and with so many other titles to choose from, Mortal Kombat just never took off in the continent.
Much like in Brazil, Mortal Kombat (2011) was banned in Australia until the introduction of an 18+ rating in 2013. Since then, the series has gained a decent amount of traction in the country. While there are quite a few professional fighting game players in Australia, the most established MK player is undoubtedly Tasman "Waz" Stoker, who currently represents Genuine Gaming. The 24-year-old notably won Battle Arena Melbourne 11 and placed third at the Interkontinental Kombat 2019 Finals. It's also worth mentioning that the upcoming Mortal Kombat movie will be filmed in Southern Australia.
Africa has a very grassroots Mortal Kombat scene, especially compared to other regions. The game is most popular in Southern and Western Africa, with the likes of Zambia's "Killjoy" and "Mr 5000," South Africa's "Sho Kahn" and "X-Ray92," and Zimbabwe's "ZeeTheJanitor" being a few notable names. The African FGC and esports scenes get very little coverage, especially from international outlets, but they undeniably exist. The region suffers from plenty of logistical issues, notably the lack of dedicated servers on the continent, but one of the advantages of Mortal Kombat is that the fights aren't hosted on servers; they're hosted on each players' consoles. However, this can be a double-edged sword. If there's a huge geographical distance between the kombatants, the connection consequently gets worst.
To sum it up, Mortal Kombat was designed to appeal to a Western audience, and while the majority of players are located in North America, the franchise's popularity spans worldwide. Even in regions where Mortal Kombat isn't as widespread, people still unite around their common interest to play a few rounds and fight it out. And really, at the end of the day, that's what competitive gaming and esports are all about.