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The Capcom Pro Tour of Street Fighter has been doing pretty well since 2014. However, so far Capcom is not talking much about its long term goals. It's even hard for fans to know if the Japanese developer is the quiet type or if he really neglects the Street Fighter eSport scene. Fortunately, the developer has just detailed the future of Street Fighter V Esport.
Japan has long had problems getting the esport started. This was largely due to the archaic laws surrounding the classification of competitive games. But these laws were circumvented with the advent of the Japan Esports Union. This is an event that Capcom has been involved with since its inception.
"Overseas, we've seen esport really take off in the last decade, but it really didn't really take off here in Japan until 2016," said Nobuhiko Shimizu, Capcom's head of esports, in an interview with a developer. "The Japan esports Union (JeSU), and our own esports division, followed in 2018, which is now considered the official start of the Japanese scene.
"Japan may have had a relatively late start, but at Capcom we are more committed than ever to creating an environment that works for both players and potential sponsors," said Shimizu.
Many have criticized Capcom's policies. The developer never directly supports eSport Street Fighter V events. Players and organizers are pretty much on their own. But this seems to be changing now, as everyone in the different divisions of Capcom is on the same wavelength.
"Creating an environment where esport can thrive involves many people: athletes, viewers, game developers, sponsors, event organizers, all are essential to its success. Where organizers may rely on ticket sales or souvenir sales to generate profits, others may depend on video distribution fees or broadcast rights for revenue. Either way, I think it's vitally important that we have an ecosystem that offers something for everyone, whether it's businesses or spectators."
These are great words from Capcom, which has long been involved with the fighting game community through community organized tournaments. While there is no indication that this will change, it does show that they want to take a more practical approach to improving the ecosystem for everyone involved. As they say, a rising tide lifts all boats, and this seems to be the approach Capcom will want to take in the future.
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