Again, why do you keep replying to me as if I'm saying Mai isn't popular? That's not at all what I'm saying.China though? A fresh gaming market, holding 1/6 of the world's population, a place where Smash actually, really isn't that popular, and where the number of people with a disposable income = the entire population of the US? That alone is reason enough to include a character like her. Her popularity in these parts of the world opens Smash to new people who might not have played it otherwise, with the added benefit that once again, Mai is a popular pick in her native country as well.
Hoo, boy. That's a whole lot of assumptions you're making. How do you know I'm asking "just a small segment" and that they only play KOF or Smash, man? Mai is not obvious, nor is she an "objective best pick", because objective best picks don't exist. In general. I swear, it's like the people who complained about Hero because Sora was "objectively the best" all over again.That's because you're asking a small section of people who play KoF or play Smash. Once again, the character's popularty extends well beyond both those boundaries given her appearances in other media, and her overall popularity as a gaming icon purely on merch and cosplay alone. It's the same situation as when Smash fans would talk over which Final Fantasy character they wanted to see in Smash before Cloud got in. No one ever considered him, and it was even laughable to mention him. Everyone said Terra, or Black Mage, NO ONE said Cloud, but little did they realize just how popular and high in demand Cloud was in Asia. Square Enix's mascot character and most obvoious pick. Literally the same situation as Mai. Which is exactly why I'm bringing her up as a character that's flying under everyone's radars. Because just like Cloud, Ryu, and Yuusha, and so on... she's a character people are dismissing due to personal biad, despite being the most obvious objective choice for a character pick in Smash. She's more than iconic enough to deserve a spot on the roster.
As for Cloud, people thought he was impossible because of the "not on Nintendo console" fanrule. I don't remember anyone denying his popularity. Everyone knew about how popular and demanded he was, but no one thought he was realisable as a character. Plus, Cloud is the protagonist of FFVII, even if by the time of his inclusion he was no longer the most recent, he was still the most popular by a wide margin. His situation is not similar to Mai's at all.
You're bringing Mai up as a character people are sleeping on. That's fair. But you're also sleeping on a lot of other characters, ironically enough.
Frankly, I don't see how discarding fan polls, no matter if they only get only a few thousand votes or not, helps speculation in any way. People were saying the same thing about other characters's merchandise, like Steve, and look where we are now. Sure, it's an important factor in speculation. I'm not saying it isn't. But it's one factor out of many. Treating it as a flat out confirmation is not a good idea.I'm sorry m8, but your poll holds very little weight considering it's got less that 1000 votes. This kanji right here 票 the ones you see next to the numbers, means "votes" with Terry who takes the number 1 spot only having 254 total. This was clearly distributed among only a very small section of hardcore SNK fans in Japan, probably a specific magazine. Hardly representative of the demographics that like Mai Shiranui as a character. Again, her popularity extends well beyond KoF and Final Fight, she's a gaming icon in her own right, and why I keep saying she's basically recognized as SNK's mascot. Because outside of the diehard SNK fandom, she's found significantly MORE popularity from people who don't play the KoF games, or from KoF fans in other parts of the world, most notably, once again, Korea, Hong Kong, China, and Vietnam. To answer your question of why merchandise moved is "the best way" is because that's something that's actually quantifiable, especially over a small poll that gathers less than 1000 votes. Again, the fact that Mai sees the most crossovers out of any other SNK character (and any other videogame cahracter really), speaks for itself on how popular she really is.