Road to EVO: Pot Sizes
Evolution 2017 is this weekend, where the biggest names in Super Smash Bros. today head out to try to win the biggest tournament of the year. With the likes of Hungrybox, Armada, Mang0, ZeRo, Nairo, and Ally highlighting the names of nearly 3,000 entrants across both Melee and Wii U, the stage has been set for the grandest stage of the year in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Smash community has fought so hard to play alongside the like of Street Fighter, Tekken, and Injustice, and we are not treated the same. Looking at the prize pools, one could understand why.
Smash 4 professional ANTi, ranked 21st in the world, posted on his Twitter account a picture of the pot sizes for each of the games to be showcased at EVO 2017 (which you can look at here: https://twitter.com/Anti/status/884745476167290885). Looking at the chart, you can see that Melee has the third-most entrants of any game in the tournament and Smash 4 has the second-most entrants, both behind Street Fighter V. However, Smash 4 has the third-smallest pot size out of all of the games and Melee has the smallest pot size of them all. The fact that both Smash games have nearly twice as many entrants as other games (or, in the case of games such as BlazBlue and King of Fighters, nearly FIVE times as many) but are at the bottom of this list is baffling, to say the least. I mean no disrespect to the BlazBlue community, King of Fighters community, or any other FGC community. I am merely stating that one would expect that the more the entrants, the more at stake and the more the prize money. However, there is one thing that separates us from the other games on this list: support from the developers and publishers of the game.
There is no secret that Nintendo is not nearly as the backing of their esports games than others. They have been on record stating that they prefer the Smash scene to stay “grassroots.” They want the community to build the scene that they have already put so much work and effort into doing in the first place. Some of you may doubt this but look at this. Nintendo has recently started a Twitter account that looks at all things competitive gaming, @NintendoVS. They tweeted recently about EVO 2017 for players to check out…their Pokken Tournament DX booth. Despite two Nintendo products being showcased on the main stage, both games around 1,500 participants each, and one of them even headlining on the last day of the tournament, Nintendo wants you to check out their Pokken booth. I understand that they want to push their latest products for esports, and this could generate some hype for the game when Pokken releases on September 22nd. However, they pay no attention to what the vast majority of participants, attendees, and viewers are there for in the first place: Super Smash Bros.
All of this is relevant because the pot sizes for each game vary depending on two factors. The first is the number of entrants times ten. The Ten represents the amount taken out of registration fees and placed into the prize pools. The second factor is a publisher pot bonus. This is the amount that publishers for the games put into the prize pools for contestants to win. If you do the math for Melee and Smash 4, the entirety of their prize pools are from the entrants and not a single penny from Nintendo. If you look at other games, BlazBlue received a $10,000 pot bonus from Aksys Games, Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3 received a $10,000 pot bonus from the donations received to put the game at EVO from the first place, King of Fighters received a $14,000 pot bonus from Atlus, Guilty Gear received a $10,000 pot bonus from Aksys Games, Tekken received a $15,000 pot bonus from Bandai Namco, Injustice received a $50,000 pot bonus from Warner Bros, and Street Fighter received a $50,000 pot bonus from Capcom.
Smash has become the red-headed step child of the FGC. They have always been the odd ones out, but the lack of support from Nintendo is burying them into the ground. If the Smash community was not as strong as they are, Smash would have died in the competitive community a long time ago. This is (hopefully) my final plea to Nintendo: please support us. That would mean so much to our community.
Make sure to check out EVO 2017 this weekend on Twitch. Also, make sure to follow me on Twitter (@MrTylerGorden) where I will be live tweeting all of the action here at Evolution 2017.
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