The makers of Street Fighter, Capcom, are investing heavily in to esports in the next year. In an earnings report, the company says that esports is a vital part of their vision of the future. As a result, Capcom says they are opening an esports academy to help foster their pro gaming scenes.
“Further, the Company sees esports as an integral part of its future growth strategy and is working to consolidate its position in this expanding market with upfront capital allocation and investments in human resources; it plans to found the Esports Academy (tentative name) for training professional players as well as to establish regional teams and leagues for female players.“2019 Capcom Financial Review
A Legacy of Esports
Capcom’s most know sport is currently Street Fighter V. Many argue that Street Fighter II is one of the first true esports ever with tournaments dating back to 1991. However, with a multitude of fighting game tournament cancellations this year, its interesting to see the company double down on their commitment to esports. The Capcom Pro Tour for Street Fighter was one of the the first official, developer operated events in the FGC. Games like Tekken and Dragonball Fighterz have both emulated the CPT for their tourneys as well. In 2019, the company began the Street Fighter League to keep the hype up in-between big tournaments.
The establishment of a esports academy for Street Fighter helps funnel new talent to the FGC. And its one of the few fighting games looking to create a structures route to the pros. Traditionally, you pay a registration fee to a qualifier and if you’re good you got noticed. With an academy, it makes something like an official league much more viable. It shouldn’t affect how individual tournaments run, but it would be a shame if winning your way to the top fell by the wayside.
In Capcom’s final statement on esports, they announced special support for female players. Esports has a well documented history of being a male-dominated space where women aren’t always welcome. Capcom’s pledge to directly fund and support female teams is a step in the right direction.
EVO 2020 is the next big fighting game event on the calendar, but its online only. Street Fighter V and Marvel vs. Capcom 2 are featured titles in the tournament.
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