Local scene attendance problems

I’m not sure if this is the correct sub forum, but if it isn’t hopefully a mod can move it. Anyway, in my neck of the woods, we have a few different “Scenes” all of which have been going through major attendance issues as of late, and I’m wondering if anyone elses local areas are going through this, and if they have any solutions to solve it?

As for the scene closest to me, we started out really strong, but a lot of the players were more on the casual side, and they kept losing so they stopped coming. We even had “random game tournaments” where you could win money in a random game that nobody plays, just to appease the casuals and that didnt help. We eventually had free entry to the casuals for a while, didn’t help. Even our tournaments fell off to the point where we cant really even do them anymore.

The other major scene implemented a 3 dollar door fee that completely shattered their numbers (they used to have very very solid numbers every week), and i can’t see them ever getting it back even if they took it away.

So, is this just our region thats going through is, also if you experienced anything like this, what can you tell me to help get things going again?

Have no door fee, instead of expecting people to come try to call them up in advance and schedule things, try to get more different games and find out what people are interested in and why, have set ups and actually teach people stuff, etc. Think of some interesting events. If people aren’t interested in coming, the last thing you want to do is add a price.

The short answer is no, it’s not just your area, it happens in a lot of scenes. I’ve seen each thing you mentioned tried before and have the same results.
Unfortunately its almost 6:00am, I’ve been at a tournament all day/night and I am still trying to finish sorting through photos before I go to sleep.

I won’t go in depth since my brain is fried right now.
I’ve posted about this in 2 recent threads but it comes down to this, attendance at small events is a delicate thing. One screw up and your scene can die or take a serious blow in attendance. You really don’t get that luxury that some people think to try different things out until one works because one bad decision can get you to a point that you can’t recover from.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking catering to the lower skill players will work, it won’t. If you are losing numbers because people are losing constantly then you need to do something to help educate and train those players. I’ve seen too many people’s tournaments/scenes fail because they tried to find a workaround to deal with the skill gap. You have to deal with the skill gap by closing the gap.

I really wish my scene was into retro fighting games. I want to bring my PS2 setup with me sometime but I know no one will play it (everyone’s just too into SF4 and MvC3 to tear themselves away).

Try that with your peeps. It might attract a different sort of crowd.

This deserves emphasis but I believe it should be reworded as don’t sacrifice higher skill players for lower skill players.

Do you know why they are higher skill players? Usually because they actually care about the game and have devoted a good amount of time into stepping their game up, maybe even sacrificed other things.

Do you know why lower skills players are lower skill players? Usually because they care less about the game than higher skill players in the form of having devoted less amount of time into stepping up their game and not willing to make sacrifices to advance.

Now, who do you want to focus more on, those who care about the game(s) and are willing to sacrifice their resources such as time and money or someone who doesn’t [or does to a lesser extent]?

Been thinking for a while how to help my local scene as well…

Sometimes the answer is just that simple.

I think scenes just get lazy over time, constant new blood is needed.

For most people, it’s a guarantee they’re going to stay in your scene for only a very short time.

As far as I can tell, the only thing that truly makes a scene grow is new games, which is completely out of our hands.

Honestly, guy, it’s not surprising. A dedicated community is hard to find, no matter how hard organisers work to putting on events and supporting growth.

And I’ve seen worse than what you’ve described, too. I’ve even seen stronger players deliberately hold their own meetup the same day as a large gathering, because fuck the scrubs, pretty much.

This the same problem I have with my locals. I try to bring other games but no one seems interested. I have one or two other who do like other games but haven’t really shown interest in going to these places.

Thats where i feel responsibility lies on the company that makes the game for exposure, but that is not always easy.

It’s been a problem here too. The “why bother, ______ is going to win anyway” is a common excuse for not going to tourns.

You could try big/“grand” casuals and learning sessions. Ranbat system could help too

This, one of our regulars now started just last years after leaving the local SC2/DoTA scene. We kept bringing her to tournaments and casuals and later in the year she started playing Marvel in arguably the toughest spot locally to do so (same place FChamp would play in whenever he was in the country). Now she’s one of the better players in the game and is also starting to do well in SF.

I don’t think event organizers really have much influence on players interest level. You might feel you do when your new event brings in twice the people that showed up last week, but the novelty of those gimmicks taper off fast. Eventually it’s not worth desperation moves just to lure some scrubby schmucks back who don’t care about practicing. But imo be nice to the ones who do show. SF is a social experience, and sometimes good players get big headed and insular which detracts from that experience.

There’s no telling what it will take to motivate your local players to show up regularly. Sometimes you get lucky and are able to find a few core players who really enjoy the competitive experience. Other times, you get a bunch of casual and deluded players who rather stay at home and play on XBL than actually partake in the offline experience.

Imo, the key lies in two primary ideas. 1) Keep it cheap. Gamers are notoriously broke and lazy, and having to pay anything more than $10 is going to turn people away REAL fast. It’s fine to charge a venue fee of some kind, since you’re spending a lot of time and money to organize these sessions, but it’s probably best not to start with a tournament right off the bat. Just try to spread the word out through flyers and social media (such as the matchmaking forums here), and have it at a fairly spacious venue with locally available food and bathrooms. $5 venue is a pretty good starting point, and it really lets you get a feel for what kind of local players are interested in getting together for some games. Which brings me to the most important point…

  1. Be social. It’s important to center the experience based on the fact that it’s not about coming together to play games, it’s about coming together to hang out with your friends while playing games. The social aspect has always been the strongest component about the arcade culture, and even though the arcade scene is dwindling in size, the core of what made that arcade successful and appealing should carry on through to the next generation of gamers. Get to know your player base. Hang out with them, talk with them, joke with them, and really find out what got these guys to attend your session in the first place. From there, you’ll get a better idea of what you need to do to make future events more successful, as well as making a few new friends along the way. Maybe the standard tournament format isn’t what will work there. Maybe you need to do things like round robin tourneys, gimmick tourneys, player ranking charts based on tourney results, just a regular old casuals sessions, a tournament where the first place player gets their venue money back, whatever that will maintain the interests of your local players and motivate them to come back week after week.

Maybe make it less about tournaments and more about prolonged casual sessions. So people will have an incentive to come and meet people, play, hang out and maybe even learn something. Remember that a tournament is like 5 minutes of play for a noob until he gets 2-0ed and then he’s off home.

unfortunately, for the past year or so, all we had were casual sessions. We even made it a free event, and nothing helped. We only have like 3 or 4 tournaments, we had good results at the same time we had good numbers showing up to casuals. Everyone was going crazy over sfxt and skull girls when those games came out, and everyone really wanted a tournament with those two games. I couldnt even get one person to say theyd come. I switched the games to Marvel and AE, and it didnt even help. The first few tournaments we had, had anywhere between 15-30 people.

As it stands right now, we can’t get anyone to do anything. No tournaments, no casuals.

I think a few people may have been right about saying you can’t just cater to casuals. I naively thought that if we were cool to them, they would just try to level up. I even tried showing people some of the basics of sf, and it never stuck with them.

if I try getting my local scene back, I think I’m going to appeal to the people who are really good only, and have it be a private thing. Its just too stressful trying to do all sorts of stuff for people who dont really care to begin with.

I appreciate everyone who posted here, and I hope you guys continue posting your 2 cents, because I’m really evaluating everything you guys are saying in an attempt to not have to drive 3 hours to NYC as my only opportunity for offline play.

I’m thankful I stumbled my way into a local scene in KC. It is small but very dedicated and highly skilled. I think one binding factor is alcohol! Also the group is fun to hang out with. People will travel 3+ hours to get to local tournaments in other cities and other groups will come to KC. Casual meet ups to train are almost every week. Sometimes twice.

I’ve been to one of KC’s tournaments. SuperVehicle is right. Everybody there has a lot of personality and dedication.

You can’t just blindly cater to casuals, you need to get them to level up.

Every time I try to write something in here I overload and end up posting nothing so maybe I’ll just do one paragraph at a time.

Numbers create numbers. You need an “acceptable” number of dedicated guaranteed people as a base to get more people to show up. Even if you have an event with 50 people, if all 50 people are worried that no one will show up next week you still run the risk of no one showing up due to the uncertainty. You need that stable base to let people know before they leave the house that if they come out it won’t be a waste of time.

This is also separate for each game; 20 marvel players showing up each week is not incentive for a persona player to come out to play. If you try to get people to come out individually and they show up and nothing is going on it will be hard to get them back out. Trying to get people out without that dependable base of players in that game is how word spreads that a gathering or tournament will probably be empty and isn’t worth it to show up.