To Tournament Organizers: The future of tournaments (2009 and on)

With the new fighting games coming out (some are already out right now), there has been questions as to how these would be in the tournaments, how would they fit with the already stable line-up that is usually seen in tournaments, etc… etc. I hope this thread has answers, raises some questions, and allow input from the readers. I believe that this thread is important, so please take the the time to read and/or reply.

By 2009, there will be a whole slew of fighting games coming out, many that are looking to be very good. From what I count, the list is almost 30! I’m going to list the games, when they come out, and what console they will be on ("—" means that its only for Arcade release for the moment):

Game List for fighters of the future

Akatsuki BLITZKampf AC — Released (PC port has release, but is dated)
Arcana Heart 2: Sugoi — Released
Battle Fantasia (PS3/X360) Released
BlazBlue (PS3/X360?) 2009
Castlevania Judgment (Wii) Nov 18, 2008
Dragon Ball Z: Infinite World (PS2) Released
Fate/Unlimted Codes (PS2) December 2008
Guilty Gear XX Accent Core (PS2/Wii) Released
Melty Blood: Actress Again — Released
Monster AC (PC) Released
Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe (PS3/X360) Nov 16, 2008
Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution 2 (Wii) Released
Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm (PS3) Released
Samurai Shodown: Edge of Destiny — TBA
Sengoku Basara Cross (PS2) Released
Senko no Ronde 2 — 2009
Soulcalibur IV (PS3/X360) Released
Street Fighter IV (PC/PS3/X360) February 2009
Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii) Released)
Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix (PS3/X360) November 2008
Tatsunoko vs. Capcom (Wii) December 11, 2008
Tekken 6: Bloodline Rebellion (X360/PS3) Fall 2009
The King of Fighters '98: Ultimate Match (PS2/X360) Released (PS2)
The King of Fighters 2002 Unlimited Match (PS2) 2009
The King of Fighters XII (X360/PS3; not confirmed); 2009
Toshinden (Wii) TBA
Touhou: Scarlet Weather Rhapsody or Immaterial and Missing Power (PC) Released
Virtua Fighter 5 R — Released

Old vs New

Taking at small glance at this list, a few of these fighters are considered broken, or don’t have a lot of support. With that out of the way, let’s consider the old tried and true vs. the new games. I believe that its time to take the new games up (as long as they aren’t broken and stupid); the old games have had their time, and they are some of the best, most competitive fighters in the history of video games, but as Sabre put it best, there is something for almost everyone in these new games… it might not be the exact replica, and it might take a while to digest, but there are some features already that can be seen in the new games that were in old (TvC has Snapbacks, SF4 seems to have lots of link combos, similar to CvS2). It is up to the people whether they want to play the new games, or stick to the old ones (maybe both), which brings up another point.

One-Day, Two-Day, Three-Day tournaments

For tournaments, each second is crucial to organization, time that is not used properly is going to add up quickly. With a likely influx of new players, there is going to be more pressure on the tournament organizers in terms of how many games they may host at the tournament, which has the clashing of the old vs new games. Tournaments that run only for one day, are going to have to decide very hard which games they will host (which could depend on popularity, or region, or other factors). Tournaments that run for two days or three days (the Majors) have somewhat of an easier time deciding which games they will host, although with the Majors, brings more players, which means lots of stress to organize the tournaments. Final Round 2009, is already experiencing problems with this, where they had to cut a couple games, due to lower turnout, and the higher than expected number of people competing at the event; I wouldn’t be surprised if for Final Round 2010, many of the older titles are let go (at least the less prevalent ones).

Communities coming together

I think some may bring up a point that some of these games can be held by their own communities, and I think that is an ancient concept. There is no benefit for excluding games (unless you are trying to save time), due to a community. These are of the same genre, different games, but the same genre. I think we can learn a lot by having different communities together in the same tournament, even if they usually play one game, and are only there for that one game. In the past, there were wars between SF3 and SF2, Marvel and SF, 2D and 3D fighters, Smash and traditional fighters. We can’t have this bashing affect the decision on which games should be in tournaments. You have the right to not like (or even hate) a game, but it shouldn’t affect judgment. There will still be community run events, which isn’t a bad thing at all, but we should continue to strive for having communities come together.

Planning ahead of time

With the expected rise in the number of tournaments, there is likely to be conflicts in the scheduling for tournaments. This can already be seen in the Pacific South Region, where there are constant SF4 tournaments happening, or in the Final Round and Showdown Championships fiasco that has happened for 2 years now (which the latter wasn’t even a problem with planning, but other reasons that I don’t want to go into). If it is a small local tournament, then I don’t think it is a big deal, but for tournaments that have an expected turnout, or regionals, then it is important to discuss with the areas in the region when you are planning your tournament ahead of time, and also to discuss with other communities that might be planning their tournaments at the same time as yours. Maybe, you might both join powers together, and the tournament will get good feedback.


Because there will be an influx of new players coming in, there are going to be many that are interested in tournaments, but they don’t know where to go, other than online. It’s important that we steer these people in the right (or I should say, “tournament”) direction. I have seen people who played, and were actually pretty good, but they didn’t know there were tournaments for the longest time, because the only advertising that goes on is at SRK, or other community driven events. While it might be true that some will have a scrubby attitude, those players have two choices, either stop going to tournaments, or change the attitude, pretty simple. There are a lot of players here that had a scrubby attitude, but they adapted.

Some good ways to advertise tournaments are on places that people are likely to go to, that have an event posting (Craigslist, Myspace, etc…). Posting up fliers around College campuses, or places were you believe might generate turnout, and places where you can put a promo of your tournament on video, like Youtube will help.


If you hold tournaments at an arcade, then this doesn’t apply, but for console tournaments, getting a venue can be either easy, or very tough. Maybe you want a venue that has good space, outlets, air-conditioning, etc…, or just a place to pay (the local tournaments). Getting a list of hotels, LAN centers, game stores, or even open lots is a good idea, if you don’t already have a consistent place to play. LAN centers are usually equipped with HDTVs, and next generation hardware, so there isn’t a need for players to bring their own consoles, hotels have tons of space to work with, and the staff is usually (though not always) courteous to needs. The ability to play in a venue means to get a list of all possible places to play, then narrow it down to the ones that are the best choices, or will let you play (common sense, really).

Expensive hardware, lending your gear

The new generation is going to be using expensive hardware (not just console, but HD), and I imagine that local tournaments are going to feel a lot of pressure for this. I don’t think this was a problem for this generation, because it was about half-way through the generation, that consoles were being used (around 2003, 2004), and by that time, consoles were going down in price, and didn’t need HDs to look at better. This might take a community effort, where people have to bring in their own consoles (or else it would be very hard to run multiple games). This poses another problem that has been going on for a while now, which is stealing.

Stealing, and how to prevent it

There is not a true solution to stealing, the best way to prevent stealing is to label your gear, make sure its with you at all times (and if this isn’t possible), temporarily give your gear to someone you can trust 100%, someone you’ve known or consider to be reliable (friends, people from the same local area, tournament organizers). Don’t carry around gear that is not needed for the tournament. If your console, or gear is being used for the tournament, then make sure that it is in use, and when it is done, tell the tournament organizer that this console is yours (because you told him it was prior, and it has your name on it, just for verification), and pack it up, and put it in a place where no one will be able to get it (maybe a car). Leaving something in the open for even as short as 10 seconds is enough time for someone to take it away.

Tournament Maker

I’m not quite sure if this has become widely used, but I think its important for people to know that there is a way to run tournament faster, and it is called Tournament Maker. There is no need for paper brackets anymore, all you need is a laptop and the Tournament Maker program. It’s so easy, just put whatever game you are going to play, the style of play (double-elimination), the payout (60-30-10), the people in the tournament game, and you are done (they have brackets already done for you). If you are worried that two great players will meet up early on, or people that travel together meet up early on, then make sure they list their location, so you can spread them out, or you can have a phantom seeding, where you don’t exactly know what order the top players should be in, but you spread them out, so they don’t meet up early on (this will be moot in the beginning, because there are no top players for some of these new games). You can even have multiple tournament games running at the same time.

There was a tournament this year called Gamma Bowl in Green Bay, WI, that happened about a week after the Super Bowl, and the tournament went through about 16 games (That is with starting an hour late, having an hour break, and ending immediately at midnight). The average per game was about 12-15 I believe, with the highest being in the low-mid 20’s for about 3-4 games. It’s possible to run multiple games at tournaments, but you have to be efficient.

Ranking System: TrueSkill

Finally I want to talk about a program that I think should be important for this generation. We are supposed to be evolving, that means that we need to have clear data. What I’m trying to say is that we need an efficient ranking system. We can’t have this “this person is the best, and this person is one of the best”, that’s not professional; there needs to be a Ranked 1, Ranked 2, Ranked 3, Ranked 1 in this state, Ranked 1 in this region, Ranked 1 in this country, Ranked 1,2,3, etc… in the world, etc. What if, for example, you were talking to a representative who wants to know more about a specific game in a tournament, and asked if there was a ranking, would you say “This person is the best, but this person is pretty close to the best, and that person is on their tail?” There is a way around this, and it might not be perfect, but the only way for this system to work is if tournament organizers work together… It’s called TrueSkill.

TrueSkill is a ranking system that is on Xbox Live (and I believe 2DF?), and you may have heard of it. TrueSkill system determines the strength of competition, which is the only way you go up, not by how much you play. TrueSkill has data for your rivals, hardest to play against, rankings (and it is on a point system, so you can see how far you need to go to move up a ranking). TrueSkill is the best ranking system that I have seen so far, but it doesn’t mean crap in the long run, unless people are on the same page. This is a system that needs good attention to take care of. Here is a link that discusses TrueSkill better:

Please give your constructive input, whether it is positive or negative feedback (even spelling and grammatical errors, or trying to make this post clear enough), as long as the input attempts to return good things in the long run.

I definitely agree with all this…just not all of it is realistic…especially the “letting old games go” part. While I agree with you…it’s not going to happen. All the (insert company here)fanboys go ballistic every time a game that they think isn’t as good as theirs gets the spot light…look at capcom heads vs. the GG community…happens entirely too much. I myself am not a fanboy…GG’s my main but I also like 3s and I want to play SF4. I pretty much like to dabble in everything unless I see something that looks stupid like glitches and stuff. But yeah, when I see the day that 3s and GG die out…I’ll just accept it and move on.

Monster AC has been released?

I’m sure tournament organizers already have a good idea how to handle their respective tournaments in the upcoming years.

I agree with everything said here also. I would say add Super Smash Bros Melee to the list, because that is sort of like the ST/Marvel of the Smash Community, and Brawl is less respected.

I think another important element that needs to be addressed in tournaments is community outreach. Not just community outreach to fighting game players, but to anyone who might attend the event and not know what is going on. There were two great reviews of both EVO and Northwest Majors which was held in Seattle this summer, and the summary of both were basically “Looked like a lot of fun, if I knew what the hell was going on.” Both people were genuinely excited to attend both events, and left feeling let down. Someway to make tournaments more inclusive to outsiders to bring them into the scene is important. As much fun as tournaments are, it is a fact that the majority of time is spent with people looking at TV screens. If someone doesn’t know what’s going on, or can’t compete long enough to have fun, then there is no reason for non-Fighting Game Community (FGC) players to attend.

I think placing a lot of importance on announcers is a great way to open up to non FGC attendees. Keits is the best announcer I have ever heard as of right now, because he made watching the SSBB finals the most interesting moment of EVO for me, by explaining what was happening and why the entire time, and I don’t play SSBB. Having announcers for the whole event, not just finals, could be a good way to increase understanding and hype at the event itself. I also believe that match vids on Youtube are better if they have an annoucer. More interesting to watch.

Education of more people in the fighting game scene in general and awareness of resources available to establish tournaments is an important thing. This thread is a great example and lists a lot ofgreat concepts that are going to be important for not just holding successful tournaments, but moving the scene forward also. Anyone looking to hold a tournament may not know about Shin-Akuma where they can get brackets with instructions for placing players. Producing things that can be replicated and re-used and other tournaments could be great as well.

I sort of felt this way when I first read this too, but I don’t think the OP intended to try and educate witless tournament organizers to the change ahead. Even if everyone already realized a lot of this stuff, there is no harm in putting it out there and starting a dialogue about it. It’s a lot better than “I’d like to talk about the future of tournaments. Discuss.”

Im subscribing in case this discussion gets good, and because Gamma Bowl was mentioned.

I must concur with the OP. A lot of his points were good and would help make the fighting game scene more robust. But the problem with swapping out old games for new is that people dont like change.

Unless we start seeing remakes, like STHD, on newer generation consoles, its better for tournament organizers to continue using last generation consoles, and therefore using last generation games.

And on your point about about theres something for everyone in all the new games, I wouldn’t say that for ST. No game, not even SF4, can match the gameplay of ST.

HD Remix says “sup”. And yes, that counts as a new game, as there’s like a 99.9999997% chance it’s going to take ST’s spot at Evo in future years.

EDIT: There was this whole argument about Tournament Maker a while back, and quite a few people don’t like it. Don’t know the specifics myself, but would like to hear some more about it.

And something else I’d like to add: Tournament directors should decide in advance when floating is acceptable and when it is not. I am of the opinion that regional floating in the losers bracket is fine up until maybe top 12 or so, but I wouldn’t strongly disagree with people who don’t float at all (as long as regional seeding is done properly).

An official dinner break period would be a cool idea too, I know Gamma Bowl did this as well.

And sorry to say this, but I don’t think you can use TrueSkill for newer games where different regions haven’t played each other much if at all. Let’s look at Soul Calibur 4 - the game has had one major, SB3, which featured players from the East Coast/Midwest/South/Canada. Atlanta & Toronto were the dominant regions in that tourney, but one tournament doesn’t give much of a sample size to work with. Additionally, how would we rank areas like California & Texas, which are traditionally strong in Calibur but have not played other regions yet? I think this is a major strike against the system for the time being, since we’re going to be using so many new games within the next year.

I don’t like this attitude that tournament organizers decide the games that are being played. That just feels like the event is for self promotion rather than for the players. I understand wanting to bring new games to the masses, but at the ground level, I don’t hear nearly as much groaning and moaning about the older games as I do from people just blowing hot air on SRK.

I stopped playing Brawl because the community is horrible, and one of the many ways it’s horrible is that the tournament organizers have all sorts of influence, like they arrange for rules and pick games and whatnot, and the people who come just sort of accept that and play whatever the to wants in whatever way he specifies.

In my opinion tournament organizers should make exactly zero decisions on their own and should either ask the people coming what they want to play or, if that’s impossible, try to gauge what’s popular as best they can. For example, Evo considering dropping Third Strike is retarded; regardless of what I think about its quality, it’s still the most-played SF game out right now (yes, even more than SF4, even in areas that have a crapload of SF4 machines, like in LA). Thankfully Evo is basically the only tournament in North America thinking about being so stupid.

People are still going to want to play Third Strike, CvS2, and Marvel2 for a long time, and while it’s likely that the ST scene will gravitate toward HDR, it’s not a certainty. In arranging a lineup for the tournament, look only to which games are popular. Until people decide to start taking newer games up, I don’t want to see them take a larger role than the current games.

I think there’s going to have to be a decision by tournament directors about what games are worth having tournaments long before most of these are played or taken seriously, because there is absolutely no way anything beyond a small fraction of them will be taken seriously by more than a fraction of the FG populace. Not only will most players not play everything seriously, but no tournament can legitimately run more than a handful of games unless it goes on for like a week, which no one has time for.

It may be such that different majors will have different games. Maybe they’ll be a core set of games at each, but some might feature certain games that others do not. Evo might be the biggest tournament overall, but there’s nothing stopping people from making their own tournament the biggest in X game that Evo doesn’t have (e.g. if you want to host a Smash bros. Melee tournament but Evo only has Smash Bros. Brawl, make it your business to have a major Melee tournament). As I said, I think it’ll be up to the tournament directors, and probably up to the communities those directors are closest to.


Ultra David:

> People are still going to want to play Third Strike, CvS2, and Marvel2 for a long time

I think this is myopic. The reason people have been playing those is because nothing has come along to replace them. But when new stuff comes along that is similar, the older games get phased out over time. The only way the older games stick around is if people make concentrated effort to do so, and normally do so at the cost of new stuff. This hasn’t been a problem for the past 8 years since there’s been so little new stuff coming out, but now that we have a boatload of new fighters coming, at least some of which will be played at the tournament level, you can’t arbitrarily assume that “people are still going to want to play X,Y and Z” for a long time. Wait until the new games come out and are played and then see what the interest for the older games is like.

^ ^ ^ The previous two posts are excellent. If you want, instead of reading my post, just scroll back up and read those ones again.

Regarding theft:

  • I wonder how feasible it would be for large tournaments to have a (secured) place where you can drop off your stick, like a coat-check.
  • For consoles (and TV’s), I noticed in pictures of Capcom promo events and NYC SFC they zip-tied the consoles to the tables. Funny, but kinda smart too. I mean, it’s not a bulletproof lock but it means anyone trying to take it needs to put a lot more (conspicuous) time and effort to actually get it than just picking it up and walking away.

There’s no doubt that that’s the reason those games are still popular, and I think overtime they’ll lose popularity. But that doesn’t change the fact that right now they’re still popular, especially Third Strike and Marvel, and I don’t expect that to change anything close to immediately. Like I said, where I live, even with Street Fighter 4 all over the place and down to 50 and even 25 cents in some places, Third Strike still probably gets the most play. Tournaments should not move on before the players do.

We can’t really do that, since there’s at least one tournament somewhere every single weekend. In my opinion, when all these new games are out, we should see what the interest is still like for the older games, and only if the interest for the new games outweighs that should we start putting them in tournaments. But honestly, of all the games listed in the original post, not much more than half a dozen have any real chance of knocking previous games down in popularity.

Yup, the playerbase size should decide gets played, not tourney directors. You could shove MK vs. DC down everyone’s throats but that doesn’t mean it should be a major game. And think if SvC and CFJ were treated like obvious replacements for CvS2/3s or something before almost anyone had played them, hahaha.

There’s absolutely no reason to force people to take 3/4 of the stuff on the 2009 fighters list seriously at all. If you did it could conceivably weaken the scene because you’d have to run 20 games most players were just casual with, as opposed to now where you KNOW the less-than-10 games that are going to be serious in numbers and skill at a major. Lots of fighters have come out over the years but most were never taken seriously – that shouldn’t change now, esp with such strong followings a couple “old” games have built.

The community is organic – you can’t artifically say “OK, people need to drop all these games and take allll these serious.” What games get played will be naturally selection’d by the community.

That said it’s going to get harder to run majors with needing lots more next-gen systems for the sure-fire shit like SFHD, SFIV, T6 and seemingly SC. So organizers will have to think harder about how to run so much. But trashing whole communities won’t the best answer. But if the numbers decline because of new games or the old ones’ numbers taper off (like A3 did?) I’m sure every organizer will notice and take that into account.

lol naruto

lol shoo

I’m all in favour of change, but only if it’s warranted (ie. wanted) and not simply for the sake of having change.

If the new games are good, the players will ask for them.

If people want to have tournaments for old games, they are free to make tournaments for them. Tournament directors have the right to promote newer games if they want to, I think.

I thought this was a thread of how fighting games would be run in the future. Like if we plugged into the matrix for our matches and shit. That would be dope.

This whole deal with the games should become naturally. If the community in your area is actually smart, the new games that are actually good will on its on accord see a lot of play. Although, I really don’t believe in this too much, especially when you’re looking at games like Arcana Heart 2 and MBAA.