MLG Stream Sets a Dangerous Precedent

I’ve been following the fighting game community for almost 6 years now and one of the things I’ve always appreciated about it is that it has always been a grassroots effort. People take time and money out of their busy lives and take on the stress of running a major tourney. They do this not to make a profit (as far as I know, EVO doesn’t make a profit), but to keep the scene alive. I don’t think they want to exist in a world where nobody knows what a dragon punch is anymore, and I don’t think anybody could blame them. People like the Cannons, Wiz, Valle, and Keits have helped keep this scene alive for what feels like forever, and it is because of people like them that I can watch, communicate, and read about things in the fgc. In sum, the fgc is a scene that was made by people like us for people like us.

What I saw when I sat through the MLG stream was something entirely different however. It had some familiar faces I recognized, such as Wong, FubarDuck, and JuiceBox. It had a great fighting game (KOF), it had talented players playing this great fighting game, but as the stream continued I noticed there was one thing it did not have: my attention. As someone who has never seen a MLG stream before, I decided to give it a chance, yet instead of being treated to nonstop fighting game action put on by a community that appreciates fighting games, I was instead treated to nonstop advertising put on by a community that will only appreciate the fgc until its viewership drops.

This of course is not to say the fgc never puts on advertisements. Level Up does it, UltraChen does it, and I’m sure everybody on this site realizes SRK does it. So given the influx of new people since SF 4, SRK has had to advertise. Ok, I get it, you don’t make a profit off of EVO and need ad revenue to recoup costs, but mark my words SRK Illuminati, if you ever do what MLG did yesterday, not only will you lose the people who have been following you regularly, you will have effectively destroyed the grassroots community that made you the success you are today.

I found it absolutely ridiculous that for the first hour or two, there was literally a commercial after every match. The ENTIRE momentum of a set was blatantly interrupted just to make a quick buck. Then the next match in the set took place, followed by yet another commercial. At long last, we get to the third set and at that point it really didn’t matter to me who won or who lost because I knew that the next thing that would happen is yet ANOTHER commercial. Then they addressed that people were finding this annoying (who would have thought the stream monsters would actually do some good?) and they decided to instead advertise after a set of matches were complete, but even still, the damage had been done: I no longer cared about who was playing because … wait, no, they’re actually going to interview a player. Oh good, its the … BIC Razor Interview? (that wasn’t the precise name of it, but that’s the general idea) You would think that that would be awkward enough but the actual people that conducted the interview had absolutely no idea how to conduct an interview. It honestly seemed as though they went up to the most socially awkward people in the audience at the very last minute and said “who wants to be on the stream?”

Speaking of the audience, I’m sure I’m not the only one who noticed a little camera magic MLG pulled: During the course of the KOF stream, it was quite noticeable that the seats were vacant on the stream. Yet on the actual KOF stream, there was a moment where they pulled back to a different section and gave the illusion that there were actually people in the audience watching KOF. I found this to be quite ridiculous for two reasons: first, if there actually WAS an audience watching KOF, I know that people would have gotten up out of their seats for the double k.o. that happened; and second, the people that could actually BE heard cheering sounded like they were too far away to actually be watching KOF. Who are you trying to fool MLG? I know that people aren’t there. It’s your own fault for doing this when we all know that NCR is going to be held the following day. Do you honestly believe we are that gullible?

It is reasonable to consider that I am overreacting here. After all, if the fgc wants to evolve to the point where people like Justin Wong won’t need a day job to do what he does, certainly it needs corporations funding them. But as a community, we must learn to get said funding without sacrificing the “grassroots” aspect that makes us who we are. That is something that MLG has demonstrated that it is not afraid to do. With the exception of the actual matches (and perhaps the first five minutes of the stream), THERE WAS NOT ONE SECOND THAT DID NOT HAVE SOME SORT OF ON-STREAM ADVERTISEMENT IN IT. NOT. ONE. From almost the very beginning, I was harassed with advertisements. From the Dr Pepper Ultimate Access Fighting Games Pregame Show, to BIC Razor interviews, to ads for Sony and some no-name university displayed on the tvs in the background, to some guy in a deep voice telling me who the sponsors are. Even FubarDuck and JuiceBox did not have enough integrity to withstand it as was evidenced by the laughable and disingenuous dialogue about endorsing using BIC razors.

JuiceBox: You know what the hairs on my chin are saying? I mean, what they would be saying if I hadn’t used my BIC razor?

MLG has set a dangerous precedent with its stream. It has demonstrated that they are not so much interested in producing a quality fighting game stream with advertisements as they are a stream of advertisements with a fighting game that got played every now and then. This runs counter to our own precedent of playing fighting games to nurture and continue to support our community for its own sake. The fgc must continue to grow and evolve, but above all else, if it wishes to remain organic, we cannot sacrifice the quality of our streams to please people who only care about capitalizing on what we love to do.

tl;dr MLG sets a dangerous precedent that the fgc must not follow if the fgc wishes to maintain its integrity. IOW, if you want people to watch your streams, DON’T do what MLG is doing.

I agree completely, I was also EXTREMELY disappointed in how they handled the stream so far. But at the same time, keep in mind the number of entries for KOF13 was laughable since NCR is also this weekend. I think they were just trying to stick to the schedule they already decided on rather than blow throw the entire thing in a couple of hours and have nothing to show for a while. I’ve watched MLG for Starcraft fairly regularly in the past, and they do like to stick ads in whenever there’s downtime - maybe I’m just looking for things to hate, but it seemed like they were actually going out of their way for product placement tonight. I’m going to personally wait to watch SCV tomorrow and hope that MLG just stumbled due to the lack of turnout for KOF, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s just as bad tomorrow and Sunday

The stream has been pretty awful, and if this is what it means to be “esports”, I want the FGC to stay away.

If anything, this makes me appreciate the “established” fg events and organizers a lot more. The old formula still works perfectly, we don’t need something like this.

MLG needs to adapt to the scene, not vice versa.

That money comes with strings attached.

Triforce wasn’t even wearing the PowerGlove, man. PL was all on that eSports strudel during his interview.

I am more curious to see what Soul Calibur and MK9 is like before we are so quick to judge.

MK9 players are going to take MLG more seriously than KOF13 will. Especially when KOF13 is having another major in NCR.

all this shit with commercials sounds absolutely horrible. i didnt get a chance to catch the stream myself but yea that would have pissed me off.

It’s simple: Fuck #eSports.

people were like “ya’ll paranoid for no reason” before MLG

pfft yeah okay

THat’s funny you mention Juicebox.

Fuck that guy.

after he did that interview w/ some dude in the koF community a few months back about how he’s all into KoF now and is going to quit SF, I wrote him off. That loser will never win a major at any game. Hey juicebox, it’s not SF4, it’s YOU. It’s obvious that he has no spine, so I am not surprised to hear him dick riding some sponsor for money.

lol, it’s not like he’s going to get any money from winning anything. It’s just like Mike Ross and Gootecks, and all those guys. They simply aren’t good enough to place consistently, or at all, so they gotta make that “paypah” somehow. That’s all it is to these guys. The FGC would be better off without them.

p.s. fuck mother fuckers who are gonna watch MLG instead of NCR. Real Talk.

This is the realest thing I’ve read on SRK in a long time. Also fuck MLG.

Dude, they’re just new to it. That’s just how it is. If you asked the people in charge of the PGA Tour to run the Super Bowl, there’s going to be a lot of misconceptions on how stuff goes down. Your problems have very little to do with intent and more to do with execution.

We are very much so a grassroots movement, and I believe we should 100 percent stick to that. But there’s a significant difference between the call to keep our souls and the “jump to conclusions” game everybody seems to be playing. I.E.** this thread would have been much more practical if phrased with notes rather than accusations. **

This ain’t a war kids. Unless you want to make it one, and then we’re actually going to have to fight for our souls as opposed to just letting things lie and keeping them. MLG is trying to woo us. There’s a lot of things about their model I disagree with but I will give them credit where it’s due-- in that they aren’t trying to crush whatever we are and mold us into their little soldiers. Posts like the OP being a prime example that such a tactic very rarely works in a community like this. However, it’s certainly not helpful when people misconstrue a mistake for malicious intent, because then we flare up for no reason and waste our energy and turn it into something entirely counterproductive.

I don’t understand how this is “dangerous”. It’s not like the world is suddenly going to follow an unpopular format as that kills viewership. I would believe you if suddenly we were all looking to MLG for cues on how to run a fighting game stream but that’s not going to happen. In fact, I think the result would be vice-versa if anything. The stuff with the KOF crowd was a broadcasting decision, as are many of the problems you pointed out in your post. I mentioned this to ViktheSlik when he asked me for my opinion on IPL: 95 percent of the problems you guys are talking about are decisions on the execution of the broadcast. Things like:

-Commercial spots and where to play them.
-Crowd Cutaways
-Interview questions
-Commentary Content

For the sake of not blowing out this post and taking any specific sides(I’d rather inspire discussion then stamp a personal bias onto every post, as now-a-days people see fit to lump you in the “with them” or “against them” columns from a single comment), I’ll focus on commentary.

IPL was notoriously criticized for it’s commentary. People said it was useless, trash, inane, and yadda yadda you get the point. Now, from the perspective of someone who has been in charge of managing a stage show with similar elements in the past-- there was literally only one problem with the entire debacle and it wasn’t content. It was energy. When you are the host of a show the audience looks to you subconsciously for guidance, whether or not they know what’s going on. You are their eyes and ears and your job is to both illuminate the key moments and keep them focused on what’s important by keeping a very strong presence on stage. If your audience doesn’t feel your presence, they’re feel lost. And if they’re not lost, they think you’re disorganized. Yes, content of what you’re saying is VERY important. But if there’s no presence behind it, what you’re saying is overlooked entirely. The IPL commentary had two people illuminating some pretty interesting moments. What they were saying wasn’t irrelative to the experience or disingenuous. But there was no energy so the presentation felt flat and uneven. The people who are at fault remain the same, but the charge against them is DRASTICALLY different then what people were labeling it as. If Vik and Rob had more energy, the performance would have been a success. But without it we all feel like they don’t know what they’re talking about.

And it’s issues like these that can EASILY be corrected with practice, feedback, and execution. Or we can just give everyone the finger, call them assholes and solve nothing.

OP, your post had these points:
-Ads were placed in a way that halted momentum
-Interview questions were non-sequitor
-Camera cutaways need work(although I feel like this is a misunderstanding because if you’re in a directorial position for an event and your audience isnt’ giving you a reaction-- you HAVE to think on the fly in order to motivate a response on-stream. But lets just play along and say you’re right.)

All of those are EASY to correct by saying:
“Hey MLG, your ads killed the momentum of the show. If you need to run ads, please place the ad space in places where they don’t conflict with our suspension of disbelief. Otherwise, it’s distracts from the match in such a way that inspires apathy amongst your target audience. I would also have rather seen some stronger interview questions posed to the players illuminating key strengths and weaknesses of match play. Example: “Why make the decision to go for such and such setup/combo when there was clearly a lot of risk involved?” or “What tipped you off about so and so players jump patterns?” As well, I personally would feel more interested if our community was accurately represented on camera. I understand you’re running a show, but they’re are plenty of us who are willing to give you that solid moment of energy during a match when the time is right. When you cutaway to a different crowd, it’s really noticeable and it takes us out of the experience. A little insulting.”

^^ If I were running a broadcast and wasn’t a dick my first reaction would be: “Okay, is this the consensus? Yes? Then we need to make a change.”

or you could post what you did, which comes off like this.

“Hey guys, fuck MLG. Their broadcast was shoddy and is a threat to the life of our community. They can’t run a fucking ad to save their life, their interview questions suck, and they blatantly lie on broadcast to try and keep us in line. I’m telling you now, if MLG ever does another broadcast then it will mean that everything we worked for with bleed to death in horrible, horrible misery. MLG running broadcasts is akin to Old Yeller being shot without rabies. Or giving Batman suit nipples and a gun. And then having HIM shoot Old Yeller without rabies. That’s how fucking evil it is.”

^^ If I’m running a broadcast, this is a giant “fuck you” to the whole thing.

And some clarification: I’m not saying “I’m for E-sports” or “I hate e-sports” or “I (blank) something to do with E-sports”. I’m just saying we’re not twelve. We can phrase our opinions much more coherently than freshmen college petitions and high school essay prompts. At the end of the day, I’d rather suggest than whine. Because it gets shit done. And if your suggestions don’t work, then they obviously don’t agree and at that point you would stop watching. That’s how it works.

So yeah. Here’s to hoping the hyperbole dies down a little. Although I’m not holding my breath.

redrapper, you’re talking like this is the first time MLG has featured fighting games. It’s not, and they have learned nothing.

To clarify: they’re still trying to run fighting games exactly like StarCraft 2. It doesn’t work.

Even the people who regularly watch MLG SC2 are, and have always been, angry about the downtime, massive amounts of ads etc. But for that game it’s not so bad, as the matches are longer (and also provide more material for post-game analysis and interviews) and the gameplay to downtime ratio ends up being at least tolerable.

That I understand. But reread my post. It’s more about hyperbole rather than a general disagreement. Again, this isn’t a defense of MLG or their stream. If you ever meet me at a WnF’s and ask me to critique a broadcast or production you’ll hear a lot more cynicism in my voice. But I’m generally getting more and more tired of how we as a community handle this shit, because we overreact at EVERYTHING. It’s one thing if maybe a few people do, but even those with good ideas tend to fall into the “scream at it till it works” category. And it’s just not an effective method for changing anything.

Common sense isn’t all that common.

Honestly, they could just think for a minute and go “what would I like to see from a stream” and it would be better. It’s seriously Art alone there, the rest of them have tremendous disconnect with anything FG related.

If they watched or played or attended a FG event, do you think they would’ve put ads between games and not between sets? No, they would’ve known how annoying that is for viewers and players alike. They waited for us to make an uproar for 2 hours to get the picture (from 5 to 7, only 2 matches happened on stream). Fubar and Answer sounded so happy when they got to announce the change in when commercials happened.

I’m not surprised at how weird and awkward the interviews with players were, they usually are no matter who is doing them.

I’m glad Answer stopped being nervous and get more comfortable.

They need to give Art more freedom to make decisions or make a better effort to educate themselves.

Yesterday was my first experience watching MLG ever and TBH its horrible really horrible, they present it like some ESPN sports shit. No where near as good as Big Two, WNF, Final Round and this is suppose to be the big leagues huh? Yeah they got money but the whole FG’s at MLG is souless featuring lifeless commentators. WTF were MLG thinking? They should stick to PC games I never heard of, but somehow have 20000 people watching the stream (WTF is providence?). Now I know why FGC hates MLG

Oh yeah and DAT ROCK MUSIC

I normally don’t reply to this shit, but this…this is just incorrect. I played a bit of KoF with Juicebox at Final Round; he’s switching to KoF because he realizes how shitty SF4 is and understands that KoF is just a better game in every aspect. He’s not switching for the big money, he’s doing it to play a game that makes you feel like you legitimately won a set. If he wanted easy money he would actually stick with SF. Seriously, that guy is so fucking excited about that game that you cannot get him to shut up about it in person - I mean that in the best of ways, haha. I’m not sure where the ‘no spine’ comment is supposed to be relevant, either. He wants to play games that are fun, what’s wrong with that?

If you don’t like it don’t watch it. They won’t get much ad revenue if nobody is watching.

I feel like I legitimately win my SF matches when I win. I also don’t think KoF is as good as everyone says it is. But that’s just my opinion and there are many of them out there. Saying one game is better than another is highly subjective and there is no way that it can ever be “proven”.

He couldn’t win money at SF if he tried, and he has. So sticking w/ SF is not the way to go. He has no spine because he talks shit about one game only to jump on to the bandwagon of another. Have you heard that interview? I should find the link, he didn’t even know what half the mechanics or characters were called and yet claims to have love KoF since forever. Didn’t sound like it to me. Mostly tho, this bic “endorsement” lol. That’s the only way that guy is ever going to get paid playing Fighting games. I just don’t have respect for that. Finally, maybe he does talk about the games a lot, but maybe he just likes to talk? Idk, but he did have his very own podcast for awhile there, so he could just be a talker, talking about whatever he happens to be into.

Mark my words, he won’t end up winning 1st place in KoF at any event, ever, and in a year or two he’ll be on to some other game. Maybe I am a little biased though, I’ve never liked people who jump ship when they don’t get their way and the going gets tough.

He wants to support KoF and MLG? go ahead, but for however extremely little it is worth, I won’t be watching.

I may just be 1 viewer but I’ll be 1 viewer on the NCR stream.


Notable bullshit from the interview:

  •      0.48: He was the only person playing “low tier” since abel and juri are both low tier. This is why he placed 9th at Evo.
  •      2.05:  no difference between high level and low level SF4; reason being no advantage in blocking ever (ed – maybe this is why you lose)
  •      2.10: high tier characters and those w/ good reversal options never have to block. (ed- lol)
  •      2.40 :Yun, yang, fei long, bisob, akuma – it doesn’t “behoove” you to attack these characters since they have reversals out of everything.
  •      They can avoid footsies and are the best due to wakeup options they have.
  •      These are the reasons he wants to play KoF
  •      5:15  KoF has “good ‘ol 50/50’s” yet he claims SF4 is a “guess heavy game”… (ed- wtf? Do you not have to guess during a 50/50? Isn’t that what a 50/50 is…a guess? Lol)
  •      8.18:  I want to be able to play MY characters against top tier.  (ed--- How is this NOT a scrubby statement?  Anyone else were to say this it’d be on the scrub quotes thread faster then you can imagine. )
  •      13:50  High tier characters are playing a different game whereas Abel vs Ryu for instance is “real” Street fighter being played. (ed- again this belongs in scrub quotes, it sounds like stuff I’ve read on capcom unity)
  •      24:40 talks about safe jumps in KoF.  “it’s just a little thing to discourage the wakeup but they can still do the wakeup” LOL.
  •      25:50  people can’t beat trail number 5 w/ some charcter = they don’t know what they are doing.   (oh right, because people who are good at trials in games are always the best…)

Juice got to GF recently in SF4 with Abel/Juri at one tourney through winners. He lost 6 straight to Wong’s Rufus though and took 2nd.

And Juicebox has openly talked about his dislike of SF4 before KoF XIII came out.

It’s funny how you complain about jumping ship from SF4 when everyone jumped ship to SF4 because it was that new game bringing in players/money/attention. Not surprising people are moving onto other games from my stand point.

PS Everyone shit on SF4 at one point or another.

The Juicebox discussion is way off topic btw.