The current state of the Capcom Pro Tour, and what needs to be changed for future seasons

By on November 23, 2018 at 2:00 pm
Capcom Pro Tour Logo

We are in the month of November, and the Capcom Pro Tour (CPT) for 2018 is coming to a close with the upcoming Capcom Cup 2018 in Las Vegas. However, there are multiple parts of the Capcom Pro Tour that have been criticized by players and spectators alike; personally, I feel that the following aspects need to be re-examined, and adjusted:

  1. The number of Premier and Ranking tournaments;
  2. The Ranking Point Matrix;
  3. Online CPT;
  4. Standardized tournament seeding rules;
  5. “Dead air” breaks;
  6. A better CPT 2018 Premier Pass.

Let’s look at these in more detail.


1. Number of Premier and Ranking Tournaments

In 2017, there were 19 Premier tournaments and 51 Ranking tournaments in the CPT; in 2018, there are 17 Premier tournaments and 48 Ranking tournaments in the CPT. That is an excessive amount of tournaments during the year. Starting from March 16, 2018 (Final Round 2018), there was a Ranking or Premier tournament almost every week leading up to Capcom Cup. Certain weekends had two or even three tournaments at the same time. This leads to burnout, especially for the pro Street Fighter players who do this for a living.

For example, in September of 2018, there were five Premier CPT tournaments. Any player who wishes to qualify for Capcom Cup would want to travel to all of those Premier tournaments because they award the most amount of CPT points. However, they took place all around the world: China, Canada, Los Angeles, England, and Tokyo. The jet lag and lack of time to prepare during the entire month of September can lead to weak performances from the players who are pushing to do all of that traveling. Also, multiple CPT tournaments on the same weekend makes little sense to me. It dilutes viewership and entrant numbers for each tournament. If anything, there should only be one CPT tournament per weekend (or at most one Ranking and one Premier tournament per weekend).

My Personal Suggestion for the Future CPT

10 Premier tournaments
4 Regional Premier/Finals
24 Ranking tournaments (6 Ranking tournaments per Region)
= 38 tournaments in one CPT season.

This leads to ~1 CPT tournament per weekend (some weekends would have 2 CPT tournaments), starting from mid-March (Final Round) and ending mid-November (NA Regional Finals). This would lead to less picking and choosing for players and organizations, and lead to more consistent viewership for the tournaments.

2. The Ranking Point Matrix Has to Change

If they do change the number of Premier and Ranking tournaments, then they have to change the Ranking Point Matrix as well. Currently, the Ranking Point Matrix looks like this:

cptpointmatrix

CPT_Regional_Open_Points_Structure

First, the ranking point distribution for Ranking tournaments has to be adjusted. 1 point for 7th place at a ranking tournament is… nominal. It dissuades pro and semi-pro players from traveling to more Ranking tournaments, if all they get is 1 point for 7th place at a stacked tournament. Most CPT Ranking tournaments have 100+ (and some even reach 150+) entrants, and getting 7th place at these tournaments is no easy feat. If Capcom wants to encourage more players to travel to Ranking tournaments, then they have to change the point distribution to make players feel like it’s worth it to fly to all these tournaments.

In addition, some CPT premier tournaments this year have only gotten ~100 entrants. For example, DreamHack Montreal 2018 was a Premier tournament for the 2018 CPT season, and it only had 127 entrants. Final Fighters China 2018 was also a Premier tournament and it only had ~128 entrants. These Premier tournaments attracted less entrants than most CPT Ranking tournaments, and yet they awarded many more points. Also, there is a disparity between points for 1st place and 2nd place at a Premier tournament; 1st place is awarded 700 points compared to 2nd place, which is awarded just 270 points.

My Personal Suggestion for the Future CPT

For Ranking tournaments:

  • 1st – 150 points
  • 2nd – 100 points
  • 3rd – 70 points
  • 4th – 50 points
  • 5th – 40 points
  • 7th – 20 points

For Premier tournaments:

  • 1st – 500 points
  • 2nd – 300 points
  • 3rd – 250 points
  • 4th – 200 points
  • 5th – 150 points
  • 7th – 100 points

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3. Online CPT Rewards

Currently, there are 16 online CPT tournaments in the 2018 CPT season. Not only that, the online CPT tournaments award the same amount of points as regular CPT Ranking tournaments. This is still the case despite the fact that online CPTs are highly susceptible to lag, especially considering the inconsistency of SFV’s netcode. The online CPT is easily the most criticized part of the CPT, because there are some online CPT events that get less than 60 entrants, and yet they award just as many points as Ranking tournaments that have 150+ entrants. For example, Capcom Pro Tour Online 2018 EU East had 47 entrants for the first tournament and 55 entrants for the second tournament.

My Personal Suggestion for the Future CPT

If Capcom wants to keep the current number of online CPT tournaments, then they should not be awarded the same amount of points as regular CPT Ranking tournaments. If anything, they should be awarded half the amount of points, or they should award 1st place of an online CPT with a trip to any Premier of their choosing with paid flight and hotel (similar to DBFZ’s Dragon Radar tournaments).

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4. There Have to be Standardized Tournament Seeding Rules

There are no standardized tournament rules for seeding at CPT Ranking or Premier tournaments. The TOs are free to set their own rules regarding seeding, late registration, etc. This can lead to biased seeding from TOs and last minute changes to seeded pools the day before or the day of a CPT tournament. There have been several instances where late registrants are placed in pools that have already been seeded according to skill level, region, etc. These late registrants can be top players that forgot to register and as a result, they are placed in stacked pools. This is a problem for players who prepare for all their upcoming match-ups in their pool after their pools are publicly released by the TOs. Late registrants can change the entire outcome of a CPT tournament if they are randomly placed in seeded pools, and that should not be happening.

My Personal Suggestion for the Future CPT

Capcom should establish standardized tournament seeding rules for all of their Ranking and Premier tournaments. For example, priority for seeding at every Ranking and Premier CPT tournament should be: (1) # of CPT points on the global leaderboard; (2) Overall skill level if there are no CPT points to look to; (3) Regional conflicts; (4) Teams. I personally suggest that Capcom should establish an objective seeding committee that overlooks seeding for all of their Ranking and Premier tournaments. Also, Capcom should not allow pools to be changed after they are released to the public. Players who register late should always be put in a “death” bracket in order to avoid last minute changes to earlier seeded pools.

SFV Ryu

5. “Dead Air” Breaks Should be Avoided

Often throughout a CPT tournament, the stream will take 10-15 minute breaks where the stream shows a dynamic screen showcasing ads for the sponsors of the CPT. Sometimes we get archived match footage from prior years’ events. However, a recent CPT tournament tried something different: EGX 2018 showed off-stream matches and player interviews during some of the breaks to pass the time until the next pool started.

My Personal Suggestion for the Future CPT

Instead of showcasing old match footage from SFIV/older SFV CPTs, Capcom should try to do what the production team did for EGX 2018 — that is, whenever they run an ad break in between pools, they should showcase high profile off-stream pool matches and/or interviews with top or upcoming players. There are so many times during a CPT tournament where a high profile match is being played off-stream because of time constraints, and we only ever hear about the results after the match is over. And instead, the CPT stream plays old match footage from previous CPTs that players and spectators alike don’t care for. Also, it would be great for spectators at home to watch interviews during these breaks where they can listen to players talk about a tough match they went through during the tournament, or talk about the general atmosphere and feel of the CPT tournament.

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6. The CPT Premier Pass is Underwhelming

Finally, the CPT Premier Pass has been underwhelming for the past three years. They have been following the same formula: “CPT exclusive” costumes for two characters, a CPT exclusive stage, a special costume designed by the previous Capcom Cup champion, CPT-themed colors on the default costumes, and CPT-exclusive titles. They also have some smaller perks, like access to exclusive special targets that provide extra fight money and fighter profile themes. However, the issue is the price point of all of these Premier Passes.

The first two Premier Passes sold for $24.99 and the 2018 Premier Pass sold for $19.99. If you wanted to buy the individual CPT exclusive costumes, they sold for $5.99 ($2 more than regular SFV costumes) and if you wanted to buy the CPT exclusive stages, they sold for $9.99. These Premier Passes sell for too high for the amount of content they provide.

My Personal Suggestion for the Future CPT

If Capcom wants to encourage players to pay for these Premier Passes in order to boost the Capcom Cup prize pool, then they should provide a lot more content in these Premier Passes. For example, Dota 2 has a very successful crowdfund model with The International Battle Pass. Dota 2 players can pay $10 for a level 1 Battle Pass or they can pay $36 for a level 75 Battle Pass. Regardless if players pay $10 or $36, they are given a huge amount of content: they get access to a new game mode, new cosmetics, a music pack, a cursor pack, a new courier, a new ward, etc. Not only that, they can gain additional levels to get even more exclusive content, either by playing or by paying to instantly gain more levels. This is always very successful for crowdfunding the prize pool for The International: in 2018, players contributed $23,932,177 to the base prize pool of $1,600,000.

Capcom should follow Valve’s example and model their Premier Pass after Dota’s Battle Pass. Imagine a Premier Pass where you are given a base amount of content if you pay $10. For example, you can get two CPT exclusive costumes, CPT-themed colors, and some CPT-exclusive titles. Then, you can level up your Premier Pass by playing SFV. As you level up your Premier Pass, you are given even more content like a CPT-exclusive stage, even more CPT exclusive costumes, even more colors for your characters, new music, new dojo items, etc. This would incentivize players at home to constantly play SFV so that they could earn new CPT-exclusive content. And if someone wants to spend money to level up their Premier Pass without playing, then they can choose to do so. That way, you rapidly increase the prize pool for Capcom Cup while satisfying the players at home with a Premier Pass that is worth the purchase because of the amount of content that comes with it.

Currently a Law Student but still a Street Fighter