Real sports, generally, have a season. Fall, for example, is football's time to shine, and as fall fades into winter, basketball takes over into April and a bit beyond for the playoffs and finals, then major summer sports like baseball and golf come until football season arrives once more. But when it comes to e-sports, there's no season necessary, and most every day can be a game day, as long as the power's on and the network's running. To that end, Twitch and Capcom are getting together to produce a new wonder in e-sports: the year-round fighting league known as the Capcom Pro Tour.
The Capcom Pro Tour, perhaps not surprisingly, will focus on Street Fighter, starting with Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition, and carrying on from there into Ultra Street Fighter IV in June, when that version actually arrives. Players will face off in a variety of tournaments worldwide, and Twitch is set to broadcast the competitions live. Capcom, meanwhile, is putting up prize money, though just how much and in what proportions is, as yet, unclear.
While competitive gaming has comparatively thrived on the fighting game—a genre tailor-made for such events—it has commonly lacked structures like leagues, according to Twitch fighting game specialist Victor Denchartphan. But with Capcom's plan to join in with Twitch, the result will be something that “...change(s) the face of the fighting game scene,” according to Denchartphan.
This is really an excellent combination of factors. Both parts of the equation come with excellent name recognition, both “Street Fighter” and Capcom for gamers and the Twitch side for game broadcasting. Twitch actually brings in around 40 million unique viewers a month, a prospect that almost certainly was a draw for Capcom, particularly in light of Activision's similar moves with the “Call of Duty” series, offering up a $1 million tournament for that series in conjunction with Major League Gaming.
We've been following the field of e-sports in general for some time now, and it's measures like these that are really going to put that bit of extra fire under the concept. Big money will draw the players, big games will draw the viewers, and the combination of the two should drive the advertisers and the gamers who want to buy copies of the games in question so that, perhaps, one day they too could get good enough to compete for a $1 million tournament.
It's a welcome development for all concerned, and chances are we'll be hearing a lot more about e-sports before it's all been said and done. With some major sponsorship dollars behind it and some serious viewer counts getting involved, it's ultimately going to be a prospect that few can turn down; there's just too much of everything businesses need to see in order to survive right in one place like this, and that's a recipe for long-term success.