Is the SF tourney scene ready to take it to the next level?

So, the tournament season is over and I was watching some archived vids of older tourneys when I started pondering…Also, that post by one of the Evo founders (Inkblot, I believe) about ‘e-sports’ and competitive gaming sparked action within me, too.

We all have probably thought of this age old question at one point in our lives (I guess…in addition to like, your career goals and family and shit, rofl): “How would the SF tourney/competitive scene change if there were more ‘pros’?”.

That lead to another thought:

“Who would be the most consistent winner in that alternate world? Or would there be a higher level of parity where a good number of people are equally as likely to win a major event?”

And that lead to another thought and another thought. Really, that one question can stem a plethora of other questions so I thought the opportunity was too good to pass up.

So, for a while now, I was trying to devise a way to get to this ideal (at least as how I perceive it) ‘alternate’ SF competitive landscape. And here are some of my thoughts, where I’ve even gone as far as build a ‘base’ if you will to implement this idea. I just wanted to see SRK’s thoughts on it and do some market research, if you will.

My first challenge was as follows: In order for the SF competitive scene to be on the next level, our most talented players need to be able to focus their energies on playing the game. Currently, since the tourney scene is still an ‘amateur’ activity, a lot of our players can’t focus their sole energies on developing their game (they have to, you know, pay rent and eat and get the occasional hooker and shit…). But we’ve already seen some ‘pros’ develop and we can’t deny that the level of play hasn’t gotten better by these pros (at least, there was no deterioration). So, basically, they need to earn a decent wage for playing, in order for them to focus their energies and time and creativity on SF. I’ve always thought that we have some geniuses amongst our ranks - while juggling other responsibilities, these players always seem to innovate, entertain, and straight up beast when they need to.

The second challenge: To make a ‘fair’ tournament system where we can let the players play a decent amount of matches to decide who is the ‘best’. This also let’s us market the idea of somebody being the legitimate ‘top’ for that season, and presumably gain more viewership.

Third challenge: To execute the tournament at low cost, and get all the players together.

My idea is simple: To address the first challenge, we charge viewers to watch a match live. I know all of you are now cringing because I’m proposing we turn a ‘free’ thing into a paid thing, but hear me out. We don’t charge much. In fact, we charge 10 cents or so per viewer. And we do revenue sharing for any funds raised for this for the players playing.

The second challenge can be addressed by making it into a league (NFL style). For example, we start off with ten players in the league, and each player plays the other player in the league once in a FT 5 (this becomes a total of 90 matches). We assign point values for wins and ties, and who ever ends up with the most points is the season winner.

The third challenge is tough, a physical venue would be too costly and would take away from what a player can earn. Therefore, we adopt the ONLINE Godsgarden idea of doing an online league. The league would most likely need to start off in Tokyo, where the internet is good enough to hold a legit tournament (if the players can make enough, top U.S players can spend the league season in Tokyo to participate). Our quality of streams have gotten so good, that we can make a very entertaining product with commentators already on stream, complete with league statistics and shit.

It all comes together like this: There’d have to be 90 games to finish the league. Plus playoffs, let’s call it an even 100. That would mean that if one viewer watches all games, it would cost them 10 USD for the season.That’s only 10 bucks per person.

Let’s say we have a match: Justin vs. Daigo. Let’s say we an draw in 10k views, that means that the revenue generated is 1k USD. They each can get a share (winner gets slightly more), so they earn about 450 USD per match (I’m ballparking whatever funds need to be taken out for expenses to run the league)…that’s at least something where they can earn so that they’re not broke. This post has become long, so I’ll post my other ideas a bit later.

What do you guys think? Do you see any pitfalls? Any areas of conflict?

where do the non sponsored players fit in?

10 cents to watch streams.


it doesn’t matter. all that matters is we have some guys who are making money off SF to point to and say “look, i’m not a dork for playing street fighter because this chinese guy makes a living off of it”, cause apparently the two correlate

i forgot my bad.

You mean finally Juicebox could actually make money from dancing and making orgasm sounds?

You know if they were to make teams for SF. It would kind of unfair. I might one team could just stack it with nothing but Japanese players and win easily. I know we have gotten a few Ws off the Japanese in SF. But I still think if SF turn into an e-sport the Japanese will still win most, if not all the times. But hell, my main games are MK and BB so why should I care? How about you throw some of that our way. We would love it.

Will it change the grassroots nature of the scene for the worse for the general player? If so, that would be the ultimate conflict for me.

Let’s make it for everyone. It shouldn’t just be about the tops.

there is no real benefit to this for anyone but the minuscule percentage of people who have a chance of making money off the game. stop trying to turn this into esports.


I believe that this has been stated multiple times in multiple treads like this. An NFL style league system is the last thing that the community in general wants and is the same reason that we don’t like being associated with “e-sports.”

As has been stated by alot of folks here, the model to follow would be that for pro-tennis or golf. In fact, we’re already halfway there to begin with. Instead of the ATP/WTA or PGA Tours, we have the EVO Championship Series, where players compete in multiple tournaments (instead of the US Open or Wimbledon, we have NCR, ReveLAtions, etc.) and are ranked and seeded based on tournament results on the way to EVO. The point is, the players are not really bound into some arbitrary team structure and are free to enter or nor enter into tournaments as they please.

What, exactly, would this accomplish? It sounds like you’re trying to turn the SF scene into some crappy copy of the SK starcraft scene.

Also, how do you “tie” in a FT5?

The beautiful thing about fighting games is anyone can compete and participate. We don’t really do the “pro” only thing. Anything that takes that aspect away is a negative.

I was thinking that this should be a relegation league. Where we relegate the bottom 3 so that fresh faces can enter the following season. This is so any player, regardless of them being a ‘pro’ or not, can make it their goal to enter the league and compete if they’re good enough. I still haven’t thought of how we’ll choose the three new players (i.e. hold a separate ‘B’ league? Take tourney results like evo season?).

I don’t think it will change the grassroots nature of the game. It will most likely change the ‘goal’ of a lot of non-pro/non-sponsored players though. The scene will still have to be supported through local events, gatherings and arcades. The scene will still need to cultivate their talent through local events (and the occasional big tourney) and the scene will still need run these events by itself. I think nothing we do can change the grassroots nature of our scene because, inherently, the scene is also about a bunch of players just joining up and playing (regardless of skill level). This aspect, I agree, should never change so that everyone can find an opportunity to play.

I think this also ties into my answer above. We’ll still need to have local events and tourneys to cultivate the scene and to have fun. This will not change and should never change. The reason I’m proposing the top league is not to alienate the general player, but to give them something to work towards if they take the competitive SF seriously. If they don’t take competitive SF seriously and just play for fun and to interact with others (there’s nothing wrong with that, in fact, I love doing that because I don’t take the competition of SF that seriously), then I don’t think they will be all too bothered by a top league, since they’ll be going to their local tourneys or national tourneys to have fun.

I’m not proposing that this league take away anything from the tournament scene. In fact, I determinedly would make it so that the league is run in the ‘off season’. We all know that the SF tourney season is off during fall/winter. This is so the league would not conflict with top players going to tournaments etc., it’s just a better way for them to earn a living so they can get better. This is why we have a professional association for any sport/activity.

On the contrary, I believe there’s a lot of benefit. There are benefits to people outside that small percentage of players who could make money off this game (also, how is the concept that the best of the best make more money than the rest alien from the reality of anything else in this world??). Benefits for others is that we should be able to see more entertaining matches if the top players can 1) focus their sole energies on developing their game, allowing them to develop more tech, innovate more, and just play better. 2) Streaming is already big, we already have a bunch of viewers that love watching competitive SF (this is completely separate from them wanting to ‘play’ the game), and we can cater to these viewers by putting all the top players on a level playing field.

We already benefit from watching high level matches with good commentary, and this will continue. We can benefit by attracting more talent into the scene if there’s a concrete goal. How much talent have we lost to ‘life’, ‘career goals’ and other things? This question has already been answered, by the way: Since tournaments are growing steadily in how much they payout, the talent pool of ‘top’ players are growing with it. We don’t have the same guys who dominated SF before (although, a lot of them are still there). There are way more new faces or older faces that now are willing to put the time into the game to get better since they can justify the time they’ve spent on it. This creates a bigger pool, more diversity, and just is plain more entertaining.

Right, I love the tournament structure as well. However, that imposes too large of a cost in order to make this work efficiently. Again, I’m not proposing that this ‘league’ replace the existing structure, just supplement it. For example, the EVO tourney season will continue, and any top player who wishes to attend will attend, since the league would be scheduled in such a way that it doesn’t interfere with a tournament in the season.

The main problem with the tourney season is cost. It is really only good for U.S players, and those U.S players that can afford to go. I mean, there’s still kinks to be worked out in that but the main thing is that its something to spur competition, and I wholeheartedly agree with the concept. The league would be played online because there’s minimal cost. All you need is to pick a city with good internet connection, and play. This would ensure that the players pocket most of the revenue from the matches (the more the expenses, the less they’ll get to pocket).

The ONLINE Godsgarden tournament has already done this concept and with major success. I don’t think people were averse to how they ran their tournament, and that was a very high quality, hype filled tournament. I think both tournament structures can exist in the SF world. We can even grant the winner of the tournament season or number 1 seed to take a spot in the league if somebody gets relegated. There are a lot of ways to tie both in and make them work.

What magical world do you live in where FG online doesn’t suck

Costs too much to go to the US? Then go make your own local scene, I mean, that’s what we did over here (from small 20 man SFIV only tournaments last year, to big 160 person events with multiple games this year). That’s what guys like Air and Majinhurricane are doing in Canada. That’s what guys like Zhi and Xian are doing in Singapore, etc.

Besides, one of the things that the Fighting Game Community is being lauded for is how the scene actually encourages people to get out of their home and travel to meet other people. Because that is an intergral part of the culture of the community. We grew up in arcades and the tournament experience these days captures the high pressure environment of playing competitively in arcades in the 90s.

I think you’re missing the point here. I’m not proposing ‘building a scene’, or saying that we should not run any tournaments. The scene has already been building (as you mentioned), and hopefully will continue to. The whole cost bit was not a jab at the tournament scene, but how to run this league most efficiently as to maximize the player wages. You’ll need to separate those two concepts. What you’re talking about above is using the local scene, cultivating it and causing it to grow – all valid and inherently essential things to keep the scene healthy. And this will continue with the tournament season that’s already running.

I’m talking about finding ways to give our best players a decent wage so we can perhaps get them playing at a higher level than now (which is NOT mutually exclusive with the tournament scene). And to set up a competition to cater to this. The reason why players are flocking to the ‘pro-sponsorship’ mentality is because pros tend to invest a lot of their time on this game. Yes, there’s natural talent involved but I guarantee you that the average playing time of a person with the mentality of a ‘pro’ is very large (practice is the single most important thing here). This creates an opportunity cost scenario – should you work overtime or use those hours to work on your new tech? Stuff like that. If we try to minimize the opportunity cost, then we should be able to expect better tech and also find a way to draw out the ‘cream’ to the top of the talent pool. Again, tournaments are ALREADY doing this by having larger prize pools…people who couldn’t afford to go to a tournament (but were very good) are now going to tournaments so that they may recoup some of their cost, but also have fun playing the game and meet new people. The entire scene revolves around opportunity cost and I think it stifles growth somewhat.

That’s why I suggested Tokyo. ONLINE Godsgarden was run without almost no issues – and I guarantee you, the matches did not suck.

you make zero fucking sense.

first you talk about cost, then you say it should be played in tokyo. then you say people should go to tokyo and then play people there online.

what kind of shitforbrains idea is that?

So you’re proposing to make the FG version of the MLG, which as already stated multiple times in this forum is something we do not want.

Besides, this also splits the playerbase. This is something that we do not want to happen. This is why the label of “pro” is looked down upon. Because, time was, where the only difference between random forum member #2323 and Justin Wong was that random forum member #2323 was actively gunning for Justin’s head but not vice versa (and I believe that’s still true for the most part today).

In other words, we should never ever allow for a system that divides he player base in such a way. As Seth Killian once wrote, Street Fighter is special in that anyone and everyone can come and compete.

Yes, help players save money, by making them spend to move to another country.

Lol, what? We can easily create a league that represents ‘top players’ with majority of Japanese players (and it’s also marketable because viewers don’t mind watching Japanese player matches). Who is being forced to move to Tokyo?!? If U.S players want to compete, they have the EVO tournament season that was mentioned previously…and just as the argument goes, ‘Japanese players can fly out to U.S tournaments to compete if they want’, the counter argument of U.S players going to Tokyo for the season holds as well.

"So you’re proposing to make the FG version of the MLG, which as already stated multiple times in this forum is something we do not want.

Besides, this also splits the playerbase. This is something that we do not want to happen. This is why the label of “pro” is looked down upon. Because, time was, where the only difference between random forum member #2323 and Justin Wong was that random forum member #2323 was actively gunning for Justin’s head but not vice versa (and I believe that’s still true for the most part today)."

I’m not sure if this is a version of MLG. The main difference here is that the players are participating in revenue sharing from whatever is generated from their matches. It makes it much more fair to them. Secondly, it’s not being built to conflict with any existing tourney’s being run.

And I don’t get what you’re talking about with the ‘dividing the player base’. How can this divide the player base? I’ve stated multiple times that it should be run in the off-season, where it doesn’t conflict with any Tournaments. There is absolutely nothing in this idea that tells a player that they can’t participate in the tournaments that they were going to anyway…There is no ‘pick one’ conflict here. They can do BOTH without it changing anything that is already been going on in the FG scene…

And I don’t know who looks down at the idea of a ‘pro’, certainly not the pros themselves…And that’s a secondary argument to this, since the movement to becoming ‘pros’ is already happening which is separate to this whole concept proposed here.