Why Street Fighter V should be more like DOTA 2

Freshly announced and already hotly anticipated, Capcom’s Street Fighter V already face snumerous challenges.

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Since 2008’s Street Fighter IV, the gaming, multiplayer and Esport landscapes have dramatically changed : free to play, community market place, streams are now setting the benchmark for any serious contender.

Whereas Capcom has only told as few as possible, speculations and expectations are going wild online. We think there’s a simple way to follow, for “SFV” to become a great Esport discipline : make a “Valve’s DOTA 2”.

The Seattle giant didn’t reinvent the game, but did revamp the whole experience around the game. The move, bold, proved itself with great results.

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Here are the key points Street Fighter V needs to check on its bucket list to become the true next gen Esport fighting game, all provided by the work and lessons from DOTA 2.

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FREE TO PLAY

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We won’t explain this business model (it’s 2014) and just name the dominant titles in Esport : League Of Legends, DOTA 2, Hearthstone and Counter Strike : Global Offensive. The three first are all Free To Play, when the later can be regularly found under $5.

Street Fighter, as an AAA title, seems to be aimed for a $70/PS4 $50/PC release price, but it shouldn’t. Sustainability is a critical goal for any Esport game, and this can’t be better helped than with massive amount of players, and constant waves of newcomers.

Street Fighter and its major updates sold 6,4M copies over the past 5 years, which is great, but not enough. This number could go through the roof should the game be free, or sold under $15. Namco Bandai’s own Tekken Revolution has shown the way of Free To Play, but the game is still too much leaning toward Pay To Win.

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VANITY BUSINESS

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DOTA 2 stands out from its peers, by offering a true Free To Play offer : every single gameplay element of the game is free and available to everybody. Which means that the only paid DLCs are all about vanity : new skins, effects, HUDs, load screens, loot items, stages, musics andwhat have you. At first sight, it might hurt Capcom’s revenues compared to paid new characters, but DOTA 2 showed that equal game experience for every players unifies the community and make them more willing to spend on cosmetic items.

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MONTHLY TECHNICAL AND GAMEPLAY UPDATES

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Street Fighter IV has proven to be a headache for each major update. Its technologic and business models weren’t designed for regular, minor updates like minor nerfs and buffs. Those are critical to keep a game balanced and free from OP techniques and characters.

Riot went a step further with League Of Legends, by changing the whole metagame between each season, making the game brand new and thus maintaining its interest.

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COMMUNITY MARKETPLACE

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The Street Fighter PC Community has proven itself very creative and active, when it comes touser generated content: tons of high quality skins, mods and such. And this, without any official support from Capcom whatsoever. Let’s imagine now what would happen if creators were to be rewarded. Street Fighter’s depth would exponentially expand.

Nowadays, Valve gets a huge 75% chunk of any dollar spend in community market, a multi million dollar business. We know Capcom is in a dire financial situation, and this could be a sustainable way to adress this issue.

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FLEXIBLE 3D ENGINE

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Valve just announced its new engine (Source 2 ?) for next year. According to the developer, the main goal behind this heavy switch is to make it easier to create special mods and skins – think about all the DOTA 2 special events like Frostivus, or Arcana class skins. Street Fighter V’s own engine is rumored to be the Unreal Engine 4, a wildly adopted and praised engine, which should act like a nice playground for the modding community and the Capcom’s developers alike.

Street Fighter’s incoming Omega mode should be easy to code in Street Fighter environment.

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BETTER LEARNING EXPERIENCE

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While Street Figher IV offered some nice training options with training mode and character challenges, it didn’t go beyond those features. Eventhough a MOBA requires an incredible amount of base knowledge and training, Street Fighter V should offer the same level of support and welcoming solutions for beginners. Community guides, tips, advanced training options, replays analysis… All this, ingame.

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ADVANCED SPECTATING AND BROADCASTING TOOLS

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Let’s face it : Street Fighter sucks for everything broadcasting. No ingame spec, and the Youtube share feature is a mess. DOTA TV is a benchmark in video games. Being able to follow a gamer from different view points, with several casters options makes a great spectating experience.

Streaming is now a huge part of a game’s promotion and evangelism and Street Fighter need to hop on the hype train.

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RICH STATISTICS

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We love stats, you love stats, everybody does. What is the most banned hero ? How many wards are bought each games ? Where do most of the kills happen ? Under the trivia bliss, stats help understand a game and its metagame. Street Fighter would be great to analyse and understand with all those datas : heatmap, most used combos and of course, objective tier lists…

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CONSISTANT, STRONG ESPORT INVOLVEMENT

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Next year, Capcom will support its Pro Tour, with $1M. It’s a nice effort, and the publisher has to keep on investing. Riot and Valve have proved that an inhouse developed Esport tournament is the right way. Numerous, pro tier tournaments are the backbone of a game Esport existence. Capcom has to level up its game to make Street Fighter an Esport must play, must watch. More tournaments and tighter control over the experience are mandatory for a Street Fighter V Pro Tour.

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BETS

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Money matches are a deep rooted tradition within the Street Fighter and Marvel vs. Capcom community (just Google “Salty Suite”), sometimes bringing more hype and “salt” than official events. Even though the whole betting business is a legal and financial nightmare to set up, Street Fighter should integrate some item betting system. Sites like DOTA Lounge have proven to be wildly successful, adding more engagement from viewers.

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TL;DR !

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Street Fighter will certainly be a great game. But it could turn into something even greater, if Capcom seriously looks into what Valve did : ship a great game, and focus your efforts into all things around this product : community, spectators, programers, money etc.

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We’ll know a bit more about Street Fighter V directions, as more news will be unveiled this weekend during the Capcom Cup Finals. Let’s hope they push full mid.

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Featured tournament : IEM San Jose

The Intel Extreme Masters are back this week end, with two exciting tournaments we will follow and update Live !

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The League Of Legends tournament is one of the first international event since October LCS World Championship Finals in Seoul.

Western top teams such as Cloud9, Solomid and Alliance will battle for the $50,000 cash prize.

Starcraft II will also be represented with $25,000 , with the whole Korean stars squad including ForGG (who just won Dreamhack Winter), Bomber, HerO, Polt and friends.

We will be following and updating each tournament results, schedules and stream links this week end, with our embedable widgets.

Happy cheering !

[Organizers] 10 ways to introduce Esport

Esport is a tale that needs to be told over and over again. The privilege of the early adopters, one might say.

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But evangelism is a necessary step for all the non Esport savvy people coming to your events : parents, boy/girlfriend, passing by crowd and of course generalist medias… You name them.

As we’ve been through this “enlighten me” process countless of times – and will do it for a couple thousands more times – here are 10 ways we efficiently used to explain Esport with simple arguments, or just sparkle a light in our audience head.

1. Think of it like the new skateboard

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Photo : Tony Hawk at X Games

Esports is already big from today’s perspective, but it’s still in infancy if we were to compare with what’s coming in the next 2 years. Think about skateboard, which started as an underground, underdog discipline, before going mainstream.

2. Also think about metaphores

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Photo : Chess player Alexandra Botez

Event tho they don’t always nail it, metaphors bring a better, smoother understanding. Chess, archery, soccer, poker… Use familiar disciplines to explain yours. Just warn that Esport is never exactly the same.

3. Yes, there are physical prowesses

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Photo : Starcraft II player Losira

Main critics towards Esports are that the progamers are not “real” athletes in their own right, as they don’t run and sweat. Prove them wrong, talking about A.P.M, Eye / hand coordination and reflexes. Don’t talk about Hearthstone.

4. It is the heir of the 3 largest popular cultures in decades

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Photo : Riot LCS Finals 2014

Esports = Video Game + Internet + Sports = Here to stay and dominate. Enough said.

5. Talk money

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Photo : Dota 2 International 4 growing cash prize

Because yes, money talks. People often hang on cold hard cash facts to give credit (no pun intended) to something new to them. The International 4 $10M cashprize, or NaDeShot $1M yearly revenues should do the math (pun intended).

6. There’s variety in the disciplines

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Photo : Some of ESWC 2014 disciplines

Esport is not about a video game. It’s about a lot of different video games. The depth of Esport disciplines adds to its credibility (more people, more communities, mores styles), as there is a type of game for everyone.

7. You’re on familiar ground

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Photo : Street Fighter signature move

Esport is a new field for the people you’re talking to, but video games aren’t. Chances are they have already played or seen Call Of Duty or Street Fighter once in their life.

8. Listen to the casters

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Photo : Professional CS:GO casters

Esport is not only about the champions. The casters are the other stars, bringing insights, help and hype to any event. It’s one of the best way to enjoy Esports without…

9 …You don’t need to understand everything

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Photo : ESWC crowd

… You to understand everything. Like any sport, Esport is also about the show. Sometimes, you enjoy a crazy move because the crowd is going nuts, or dead silent. Because the casters and the champions are throwing their headsets in the air. Because you’re feeling a chill even tho you don’t clearly understand what’s going on the screen.

10. Just come and watch

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Photo : League Of Legends Copa Latino Americana

Esports are a very empirical thing. People can’t understand the hype, the excitement, the cheerings and the dramas until they’ve seen it in the flesh. No more talk : invite them to jump in !

Tournament formats : should we stick to the classic ones, or try the new ones ?

At Toornament.com, our team is hard working to offer our organizers community the best, most complete tool to design and manage tournaments.

Lately, we’ve been discussing about the tournament formats we could, or should support. Toornament.com already handle a wide array of simple or complex formats, but some are still even more specific, to be handled the easy way.

Outside of “groups-to-bracket” land, and other leagues, exist some tournaments with a twist, whether they use a unique structure, or mix in several of them. Here are the most notable cases :

The upcoming MLG Colombus Open – 25K Series works as following :

  1. The Tournament will support as many as 144 Teams with 16 Teams starting in Pool Play and 128 Teams starting in the Open Bracket.
  2. The tournament starts with the Open Bracket, pitting against each other 128 teams in a classic Best Of 3 Double Bracket fashion.
  3. The 4 remaining teams in the winner bracket enter the groupstage of the Championship, joining the seeded teams. The 4 teams in the loser bracket are place in the Championship double bracket, straight in the Loser bracket round 1.
  4. The groupstage results will place teams according to their final place : 1st and 2st go to the Winner’s Bracket quarter finals, while the 3rd, 4th and 5th will end in the Round 3, Round 2 and Round 1 of the Lover Bracket.
  5. From there on, the tournament follows a Best Of 5, Double Bracket Format.

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Another (in)famous example would be The International 4, Valve’s very own Dota 2 tournament :

  1. Four regional qualifications were held. The winners go to the Playoff Phase 2. The seconds go to the Playoff Phase 1.
  2. The Playoffs start with 19 teams : 11 invited, the 4 regional qualifiers winners and the 4 regional qualifiers seconds.
  3. The Playoff Phase 1 pits the regional qualifier seconds against each other in a Single Bracket. The winner gets to go to Phase 2.
  4. The Playoff Phase 2 works like a championship, where all 16 teams play all each other. The leading teams get access to the Main Event Upper Bracket. 3rd to 10th goes into another Playoff. 11th to 16th are eliminated.
  5. Teams ranked from 3rd to 10th play in two brackets, where the lower seeded starts to play. The winner advances to the next match, against a higher seed and so on. The winner of each bracket gets to the Main Event Upper Bracket, 2nd and 3rd access to the Lower Bracket, when the last team is eliminated.
  6. (Fast ?) Forward to the Main Event, where the final 8 team fight there way from the Upper and Lower Bracket, in a double elimination fashion. Matches are Best of 3, Grand Final is Best of 5.

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Complex, exotic format seen here can also be found in other major tourneys, like Dreamleague.

“Traditional” discipline also use sometimes out of the box formats, from NBA (conferences) to NFL (teams do not play the same amount of matches) to the Volley ball World Championship, which no less than 3 groupstage phases, to single bracket semi-finals.

Goals differs, from geographic or time constraints to the will to generate more matches, give more chances for an underdog to face a champion…

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In our interview with Konstantin Schmidt, the Rush Esport Center founder saw in Esports an opportunity to experiment with new formats. Potential trade off would be to sacrifice efficiency to innovation.

Do you think Esport tournaments should comply to efficient and proven formulas, or take new approaches ? In the meantime, we’ll keep on offering more and more format, and can create custom ones, if you need them !

Toornament interviews, with Konstantin Schmidt : “Minor issues will always occure, you just have to be ready to resolve them quickly.”

We happy to start on our blog a serie of interviews focusing on Esport tournament organizer. Whether they run local, friendly tourneys, online leagues or big, pro events, organizers always have a great amount of experience and tips to share.

Let’s start today with Konstantin Schmidt, founder and owner of Rush, a new breed of E-sports place in Germany. He’ll share with us his views and advices on everything Esport organization. Let’s fire the questions !

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Hello Konstantin, can you introduce yourself to our readers ?

My name is Konstantin Schmidt, I am 23 years old and the founder of Rush e-sports center. Rush e-sports center is the first of it’s kind in Germany aiming to make E-Sports available to a wider audience by hosting tournaments for everyone on a regular basis.

What are your favorite tournament formats and why ?

A group stage played in double-elimination followed with a double-elimination KO stage. Why? We have teams with far ranging skilllevels. We feel this gives less skilled teams a fair chance to go far within the tournament.

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As a tournament organizer, what are the main challenges and issues you have to face ?

The organization is key, everything simply needs to be on point. A minor delay here and there can cause overall delays of an hour or two. Next to that all hardware needs to run smoothly, the servers need to be running on point.

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What are your top priorities, motos and tips to built a top notch tournament ?

Set up your gameplan and make sure you can stick to it – this mainly involves the schedule, people hate waiting. At the same time you have to be flexible and prepared for most “hickups”. Minor issues will always occure, you just have to be ready to resolve them quickly. This may be tough for the first 2-3 tourneys, but you get the hang of it. If it is a LAN tourney, entertainment during the breaks is a big plus for most gamers.

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New business models such as paid registration and crowdfunding may change the way you build tournaments in the near future. Are your embracing those new leads ?

Our whole business is based on paid registration, allthough we try to have tournaments funded by sponsors as much as possible and thus be able to host tournaments for free for our customers. Crowdfunding is something we are looking into at the moment, but have not yet actively persued.

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We recently saw new tournament format, with complex structures. The International 4 may be the most (in)famous example of this trend. Do you think Esports should explore new formats, or comply to the existing ones, already tested and widely adopted ?

Esports is mainly followed by young people who, as gamers, must be quick to adapt. This combined with the fact that it is a very young sport makes esports probably the best place to try out new things. We ourselves have changed our formats several times over the past months because we just felt we found better alternatives.

Any finals words of wisdom, for the people about to organize their first tourneys ?

Do not underestimate the organization going into these things and give it your best effort. You may feel like it’s a bit too much at times, but once it’s all ongoing and you see how much people appreciate these tourneys, it will be all worth it. And thank you for supporting this great sport!

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Thanks Konstantin !

If you want to know more about Rush Esport Center, go check their website and Twitter.

If you want to be featured in our Interview series and share your passion for Esport event organization, just contact us !

Introducing Toornament TV

After weeks of development and testing, we’re very proud to introduce Toornament TV!

Toornament TV was tailor made for offline tournaments involving multiple spots (gaming zone, stages…) and public audience.

Offline events involves a lot of stress on schedules and location, each multiplying the other. How to keep you players informed about their upcoming matches ? Your attending audience up to date with the tournaments advancement, the next big match on the big stage ? The answer : a lot of efforts, a lot of staff and a lot of stress. Our answer : Toornament TV.

Tournament TV is a smart, automated public display solution, designed with this key goals in mind :

  • Better understanding of the tournament(s) advancement
  • Dresses up your event with live content : photos, info strips, scores
  • Keeps the visitor informed, entertained and starving for more

How does Toornament TV works ? Well, it can’t get easier than this : the whole system is automated. We’ve designed a smart behaving, setting a wide and relevant set of rules, so that Toornament TV makes the right decisions and displays the right infos at the right time.
The added value is huge : for no extra time or no extra people in your team, your event gets much easier to understand and follow. And much prettier, too !

Here’s a typical use of Toornament TV :

You’re running a mid to large size LAN, with a main stage, a gaming zone and a partner zone
Each spot will attract your participants along with your audience
Main stage needs to show what are the next matches, Gaming Zone needs to show Tournaments advancement and your partners want well, to be visible on your events !
Each spot thus require a dedicated information desk, computer and admin to run it, plus 1-2 additionnal displays
Toornament TV can automatically handle all the informations / display tasks, freeing 3 additionnal admins on your team. Just start it from your Toornament admin options.

Toornament TV requirements are quite simple and straight forward :

– A PC with GPU dedicated per TV (one computer can run several displays with the same info)
– A modern web browser
– A Full HD (1920×1080) display
– A click in your Toornament page

Toornament TV embeds a live info strip, based on a Twitter feed and hashtag. Toornament TV is also customisable through its main elements :

  • Background picture
  • Main layout picture
  • Border color (CSS)
  • Text color

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You can check it Live on this page and learn more by reading The Toornament TV User Guide (pdf).

Esports Players and fans are coming to Paris this week

From Oct. 28th to Nov. 2nd, the prestigious Electronic Sports World Cup is back in Paris for its 11th edition, with $150,000 prizes and thousands of Esports fans cheering for the top players and teams from 35 different countries. Six popular disciplines are played this year :

  • « Counter Strike : Global Offensive »
  • « Counter Strike : Global Offensive » Women
  • « Call of Duty : Ghost »
  • « Trackmania 2 Stadium »
  • « Shootmania Storm Elite »
  • « FIFA 15 »
  • « Just Dance »

As the ESWC fully uses Tournament as its managing software, you can find full coverage of the tournaments advancements and streams :

« Call of Duty : Ghost »

« Counter Strike : Global Offensive »

« Counter Strike : Global Offensive » Women

« Shootmania Storm Elite »

« FIFA 15 »

« Just Dance »

New update: registrations and statistics

We released a new update for Toornament that brings two important features: participants registrations and view statistics.

Participants Registrations

Toornament now allows you to manage the participants registrations. In your tournament settings, a new section allows you to enable or disable registrations and configure several options such as opening/closing dates and messages.

Once the registrations are enabled, a new dedicated registration page is available on Toornament and allows players to register for your tournament. Your widget also features a registration link that redirects to the dedicated page. We tried to keep it as simple as possible so players don’t need to create a Toornament account, they only need to enter their email and confirm it.

In your online dashboard, you will see a new registration section. All of your registration requests are listed here with the ability to accept or refuse them. Once a registration is accepted, it becomes a participant in your tournament. With this update we also added more flexibility to the participants management. You can now easily create and remove participants without touching to the structure or changing the size of the tournament.

During the registration, teams must also provide their lineup. The minimum and maximum number of players for a team may be configured in your tournament settings.

This is the first step of our registration feature. Take the time to test it and fill free to share your feedback with us. Your feedback is really valuable to optimize this functionality and go further.

View statistics

Are you curious about how many users view your tournament widget? We added the statistics of your tournament widget in your online dashboard. You will be aware of the numbers of users, sessions and views of your tournament through his widget. We also provide the 5 best referrers. We hope it will give your more insights about your tournament and help you increase his popularity.

Try this update, and again share your feedback with us!