The following opinions are of my views and mine alone. Reader Discretion is Advised.
I'm going to go a different route with this blog entry today. I want to talk about "Professional" Fighting Game Tournaments. What makes having nice things and opportunities in the Fighting Game Community such a bad thing? It is considered complete taboo if you want to make money competing in fighting games. Why does the FGC shun away legit eSports events, yet accepts uncouth Grassroots Tournaments? Marketing to the FGC is very unorthodox. I want to dig a little deeper about the FGC and try to understand their thought process.
My name is BlackMambaMoan. Very successful fighting game player and former Pro Gamer. I am someone who used to travel a lot to these "Majors" throughout the past couple of years. At the time, I thought it was worth it. Competitive Fighting Games was something that I once believed in, but for the past year, I started to realize that it is just a mere hobby that isn't worth investing too much money into. Honestly, it is the community itself that is slowly killing it. There just isn't much demand for quality events, more money, better production, etc. For most of these players, tournaments are nothing more than their own personal playground with no real ambitions to succeed competitively.
Let's be serious here, these Grassroots Tournaments are absolute TRASH! I just can't believe most of the players are happy with these events. The problems are: Tournaments run late, tournaments run very poorly, inappropriate behavior on streams where thousands of people are watching, and no REAL money in it, then have the nerve to charge the venue and tournament fees that they do. The issue with the money is the most important issue. Money makes the world go round and you need it to live. If you say otherwise, then you probably don't have any real responsibilities.
Big companies have given Fighting Games many chances throughout the years like: CGS, WCG, and MLG. What did the FGC do with all these opportunities? Shun them away... Why does this happen? Why does the FGC choose trash over treasure in every single situation ever? (Yes, everything, but I'm only talking about tournaments right now) As the costumer, you are paying for the product, but when you aren't happy with that product, then it becomes a problem. That's 99% of all Grassroots Tournaments....
Flying out to some Hole in the Wall Major can be very expensive. You spend a couple hundred on plane tickets. Another hundred dollars to chip in for a hotel room, if you don't get free housing. You pay a ridiculous venue fee along with tournament fees. Money for food and etc. ALL FOR WHAT? To compete in a game for a 1st place prize and not even coming close to breaking even? One example for me personally is Youmacon. I got first place in SC5, second place in DOA5, and fifth place in Injustice, and I STILL came nowhere close to breaking even on the money I spent for the trip out there.
"I only compete in tournaments for respect, not money."
It's scrub talk, but whatever. Ok, you play for respect alone, but what happens when you do good in your tournament and you don't even get the respect you deserve? The FGC has a Respect Problem. If they don't like you or care about you, they will take all your credit away and give it to some False God. When there is no money for these events, all you CAN play for is respect, but you don't even get that...
"This community started out with Grassroots Tournaments and that's how it's always going to be."
Let me tell you a little something about your Majors... They are garbage, but we already knew that and y'all refuse to actually admit it. I want to tell you about eSports now, something that many of you don't know about. Previously on Major League Gaming, MLG decided to add SC5, KoF, and MK9 to their roster because MLG wanted to win back the FGC. Yes, THEY WANTED TO WIN US BACK! THEY WANTED TO IMPRESS US! They put up large amounts of money for their Fighting Game rosters, but people barely showed up.
I'm gonna go on the record right now and say that MLG was BY FAR the best ran FG Tournament I have ever been to, and I'm gonna tell you why:
1. Tournament ran on time
2. Plenty of setups for tournament play AND CASUALS FOR THE WHOLE DAY
3. Very large venue
4. Very nice stage for featured matches
5. Free Hot Pockets and Dr. Pepper for the whole weekend
6. Free Old Spice because they know gamers be smelling bad
7. Made sure to hire FGC Leaders to run the FG portion of the event
8. Cash Contests running the whole weekend
9. A REAL Top 8 payout
You see, if you made Top 8 at MLG, you were getting paid very well. Even if you got 8th place, at least you can say that you broke even. On top of all that, if you made Top 8, MLG flew you out to New York for one of their side events to compete for even more money. So I ask this question, what sounds so horrible about all this again??? There is no reason why a tournament like EVO should have had more players than MLG. EVO now is just an excuse most of us use to go out to Las Vegas. I've gotten Top 8 at EVO before, back when EVO was cool, and even then, it took almost a whole year to get paid.
MLG was a product well worth investing in. They took care of you, the staff was great, and the environment was a breath of fresh air. But like I said, people barely showed up. King of Fighters players have absolutely no excuse for not coming. Y'all did it, y'all made it in the big times! Me personally, I don't know how in the world that happened, but it happened and I have no reason to be mad at that. So why was MLG KOF only a less than 20 man tournament...? The return of Fighting Games at MLG only lasted for a couple of events until MLG decided to scrap the idea again.
It's time to stop holding these horrible Grassroots Tournaments on a high pedestal and let Big Company take over. If you're a Tournament Organizer, find an eSports organization and partner up with them, and learn how to run better tournaments and have better staff so they aren't making you look bad. As for the players, stop trying to criminalize the group of players that actually want to make a living playing video games. If you have a passion for anything, and there is a market for it, go for it. Sponsored Players, most of you guys are on borrowed time. We can see that with FG Sponsorships that continue to disband. There is no real reason for a sponsor to send out players to regular ol' tournaments all the time. What would they gain? Something like MLG was a very good reason to send out players because of: Money, exposure, and media.
The FGC describes themselves as a "Family." Wouldn't you want to see your family be successful and well-off? Games like League of Legends and DotA are busy playing for millions of dollars, while FG players are busy splitting a pot of a couple hundred to a thousand dollars or these "Pro" Gamers begging their fans to donate money to them... Is the struggle really that serious? Grassroots Tournaments is what got things going, but now it is time to move on and let it burn to the ground. And also, no, I wasn't able to understand their thought process at all...
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