CEO Gaming’s Anime-Centric Tournament May Add Marvel, Provoking Debate Within the Community

By on July 24, 2015 at 7:36 pm
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The following article solely represents the opinions of the author themselves, and does not necessarily speak for Shoryuken as a whole.

Yesterday, Community Effort Orlando founder Alex Jebailey announced that his new aidasher focused event, CEOtaku, will be taking place at the Wyndham Orlando Resort in October, the same venue in which he hosts his much larger annual event. While a more accommodating venue for this event, it also comes with the challenge of filling up and using all of that space to help cover the increased cost.

In order to help achieve larger attendee numbers, the organizers have proposed to add an Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 tournament to the event by way of a poll over on the event’s official Facebook page. This stands in contrast to the original image of CEOtaku as an “all anime” event that was introduced to help smaller games get the full spotlight they deserve.

This is where the debates began. As a member of the more niche communities, I’ve been watching my social media feeds all day and have seen reactions ranging from fear and anger to understanding and agreement. Jebailey has reassured many players that the focus will still be on the smaller games regardless of turnout and will first and foremost be about celebrating their communities. At the same time, it is pretty disheartening to be handed an event to help boost your own scene only to then be told a game that has eclipsed you for years may also be present.

It’s completely understandable to have some worries considering how smaller scenes within the fighting game community have been treated in the past . The “anime” community has been an extremely hardworking group of players for many years, and they have been dealing with poor exposure and outright awful tournament support from major events even as recently as this year. Some players feel like they’ve been given a prime opportunity to shine, and this development only serves to remind them of all those times they’ve been denied due to being a smaller audience. It’s especially unnerving to some to have been told they’d have a special event this way, only to be asked to change that when numbers come into question. Many are eager to take the risk and attempt to prove they can fill out the venue without any additional help.

At the same time, however, the future of events like this depends on the success of CEOtaku, and everything that can help should not be discounted. Jebailey has addressed many concerns in a fair manner, and is still focusing on anime first while trying to make sure this is successful enough to warrant continuing. It’s wise to do everything in our power to make this worthwhile for the organizers without jeopardizing the original vision of the event and, fortunately, that appears to still be the plan.

Also, on a more personal note, the community headlining this event is a very special thing that is always looking to grow, and I see no reason to exclude more players from enjoying it based on what they play. Yes, this is a smaller event with a primary focus, so everything can’t and shouldn’t be included, but when other folks can share the same place as us, we should show them the same respect our community strives to receive.

Jeff “ZomB” Powell summed up the situation pretty nicely earlier today, and has agreed to let us share them here to help close out my thoughts on the matter. His original post follows below without any editing on our part.

Hello, a brief introduction of myself. My name is Jeff and I go by ZomB in the fighting game community. For most of my life I’ve participated in playing “poverty” games(Melty Blood, IAMP, EFZ, etc) that aren’t even popular by anime standards, I had a small break into the “mainstream anime” placing well in Persona 4 Arena at tournaments such as a NEC(7th), SCR(5th) etc. around launch, but I took roughly a year’s hiatus and just returned back to fighting games recently.

As a player, to me, CEOtaku isn’t meant to be “a tournament without Capcom.” Instead, to me it just means “a tournament with a focus on Anime games.” I’m an anime player, but I’m actually a huge fan of Capcom as well. I love to watch both SF4 and Marvel at top level, and I’m an avid player of Vampire Savior. Capcom and Anime aren’t mutually exclusive. I feel like excluding these games just because you’re afraid they’ll overtake the primary focus is really lame. The anime games we play are strong enough and exciting enough to speak for themselves. As long as the tournament is still structured around anime games as main games, they’ll have plenty of a chance to shine. A really hype Marvel finals at 8 am does nothing to take away from XRD finals played at 6 pm on the main stage – no one is going to be sitting there and saying “Yeah I guess XRD was cool, but I watched Marvel this morning and now it just seems lame.”

If Marvel (and even SF4) were included at CEO I would be delighted, assuming they were advertised as and run as “side tournaments” – this is, however, not to say they should be given poor treatment. Simply that their official stream blocks and stage times would be less favorable. Much like I’m a fan of Capcom, I think these players could become a fan of my games as well, given the proper presentation and display, but if they’re excluded they’ll simply look away. After all, if we don’t want them to be a part of our games, why would they ever even consider it?Jeff 'ZomB' Powell