How’s it going guys this is thec0re3 from fighting games online info and I’m back with a new fighting words topic. Recently, two big figureheads in the fighting game community has spurred some conversations bringing many of us to the interesting question at hand: Is eSports killing the FCC? Now, before we get into details, I think it is really important to first define what the fighting game community and eSports is. The fighting game community of casinos in Ireland, as I know it today at least, is basically made up of people who beyond a shadow of a doubt enjoy fighting games but if I’m being completely honest, the term is rooted from the spirit of competition. It is important for me to put an emphasis on competition because in my opinion the deepest passion for fighting games is steeped in competition without a question. This is important to note because it will be a key element in this conversation moving forward.
So then, what is eSports?
In a nutshell, it is a video game in a competitive format but it carries a lot of…not so positive connotations. The best way I can describe it is its upscale. It involves big sponsors big venues big prize money to me it’s all about that presentation.
Now, in terms of the fgc, I believe the origin of this recent conversation started when Larry Dixon the creator and tournament organizer of final round announced that this year’s tournament may be his last. The reason that this is a very big deal in the community is because final round has been around for 21 years and from what I understand has been the longest-running regional fighting game tournament in history. Details about the decision seemed to mainly cite low attendance as one of the major factors behind closing the curtains but there were certainly some criticism from the past events that affected this outcome as well. Not too long after this announcement, Mike Ross, a well known name in the fighting game community who has been pretty much missing in action, jumped on reddit community r/kappa for an AMA finally giving answers to his apparent absence. In it he describes a feeling of fakeness within the community noting that some of the people he has interacted with at events only seemed interested in trying to make a name for themselves. He also talked about his dislike for Street Fighter 5 which the last time I checked is the most popular fighting game in the community at the moment and has somewhat been at the forefront of this debate.
These two events have led into what has now become an engrossing conversation about the current state of the fighting game community and its ultimate identity moving forward. If you recall earlier, I mentioned that the fgc is rooted in the spirit of competition but moving into 2009 something about this changed and I believe there are two big reasons. The first big reason was online gaming online gaming became popular around this time and when Street Fighter 4 released with online play, it became a big gateway for human competition. Ultimately,this got people interested in coming offline and competing at events to test their skills. The second big reason was live streaming.
For those who were reluctant or not interested in testing their mettle offline, these streams brought a little of the FGC into their living room at home. Many of the people who watched like myself could feel the excitement and the energy of these events ultimately encouraging us to come in person. Now, before this time the majority of people who came to these events came only to compete. After all, fighting game tournaments at this time were open to anyone who wanted to participate but the rise of live-streaming had another effect something that many people who had been a part of the community probably did not realize until later: It increased spectatorship.
Now, I want to take a minute to talk about spectatorship in online gaming as I believe these two have had the greatest impact on the state of the FCC today. Spectatorship in particular has brought about the biggest change in my opinion. It took the biggest fighting game competition known within the community from a hotel conference room to the Mandalay Bay, it brought sponsorships to very talented players, it created new formats like invitationals, and most importantly, it got the developers of these games involved and this has had the greatest significance on the community too date.
As I mentioned before, online gaming brought more players into offline tournaments but what many online players found out when they came offline was that certain strategies did not work. This was due to the nature of inputs which can have a longer delay online. Moving into this current generation of fighting games, developers decided to deal with this issue by creating an environment where the online experience would be much closer to an offline one by delaying the inputs. One of the biggest issues some players have with Street Fighter 5 is input delay bringing its popularity as a competitive game into question. Why?
Well its developers are the driving force behind not only the game but a competitive ecosystem that is giving more players the opportunity to make a living. Even if players do not like the game and are even vocal about not liking it, they are not going to squander their opportunity. Now, giving more details as to how delaying inputs affects competitive gameplay would take too long to explain so I will add Core A Gaming analysis in the description box below so that you can get a greater understanding. As you can imagine, the rise in spectatorship has changed the nature of tournaments like final round as well.
Tournaments are now like conventions and organizers are doing their best to keep all things inclusive. Expectations are much higher than they were before. Now, TO’S are trying to provide 24-hour casual rooms, tournament pools are expected to run without a hitch, people are traveling much farther to come to these tournaments, and things are becoming more expensive.
This all leads to even bigger issue: these tournaments have been built on a grassroots movement. Volunteering has been at the forefront of these tournaments for years but now you are finding that many tournaments are understaffed and are struggling with the influx of competitors. In order for these tournaments to stay afloat, it is becoming a necessity to bring in sponsors to help cover cost and pay for the staff. This essentially leads to the inevitable conclusion that the eSports model is creeping this way into what many knew to be a grassroots movement in the community. There are so many details that I’m leaving out to keep this video short as possible but these are just a few of the things that I believe have brought us to this conversation. So to wrap this all up, is eSports killing the FGC?
I believe that depends on how you look at things. The FGC is rooted in its passion for competition. The only way that something can be killed is if the passion for it dies completely and based on the passionate people I have seen in the community, I don’t see that happening. Grassroots and locals may decrease and they may not get the much-needed attention they deserve but the camaraderie within this community will be that much stronger and I think that is what’s important.
I may not be as passionate as many of the people in this community. I honestly think of myself as a filthy casual but I still very much feel a part of this community and I have learned a great deal from it. It has helped me improve and given me a greater level of understanding of fighting games that I didn’t have for years.
I don’t know where the FGC will be in a few years but one thing is definitely for certain, I’m here to play. So what is your take on the current status of the FCC? Leave those thoughts in the comment box below and take it easy.