The organizer of Tougeki announced today via the official site that the fighting game tournament Tougeki or Super Battle Opera will be suspended indefinitely.
The news come out only just hours after we posted about Arcadia going bimonthly. As you probably know Tougeki is run by Arcadia staff. If Arcadia is in serious trouble then it must also affect Tougeki.
This thing was actually hinted by the organizer since last year when they announced Tougeki 2012. A message was posted in Japanese on the official site saying that Tougeki 2012 may be the last.
The nightmare that is called Tougeki 2012
It is a shame though that Tougeki has to end with a bad memory. We already have a post about (some of) this. In order to make more money, Tougeki was held together with a game festival so they can sell expensive tickets. The "festival" was held in a remote open area and attendances had to suffer the heat. The sunlight made it hard to see the game monitor and the staff had to hold sunscreen behind the player at some point. There were also reports about malfunctions of some game machines. It was clear that most people were there because of Tougeki and an Idolm@ster concert. Other stage shows did not receive much attention. In the last day after Tougeki finals was over, the last talk show (as scheduled) on the stage was cancelled, probably because people did not want to be in the middle of nowhere in the dark for nothing.
Photos showed that there were a lot of empty seats, so we highly doubt that the event was even a success commercially.
Who to blame?
A big fighting game tournament is a great way to stimulate the arcade scene so magazine can sell. The problem comes when the tournament itself needs money. Tougeki is organized by Arcadia staff with supports from mother company Enterbrain. Enterbrain is a big media publisher that also has the famous gaming magazine Famitsu under its roof. But while Arcadia has become weak, Famitsu is still going strong. Without fear of losing magazine buyers, Famitsu has the latest news on its website and now has a weekly show on Niconico. It suggests that there was some mismanagement going on in Arcadia division. Arcadia and Tougeki were led by the same person – Masashi Sawatari. He appeared a lot last year to promote Tougeki, that was when we learnt about his characteristic. He did not look convincing and he did not sound so sure about the things he said. He did not know much about KVO, a tournament that Tougeki gave quota for the finals. In short, you will never want to let this guy manage your properties.
The guy left Enterbrain three months after Tougeki 2012.
Quick question, what do we have now? Quick answer, nothing. You need some huge funding in order to organize a true national tournament. Tougeki had qualifiers in all regions in Japan and not just one title. And since Tougeki was arcade tournament, the national qualifiers can be done with the supports of game centers. If Tougeki replacement is console tournament then you need to rent places around the country for the qualifiers. This is not to mention the rent of a place big and good enough for the finals.
Regional qualifiers are important as some players do not spend ten of thousands yen to travel to Tokyo unless they are guaranteed to be in the finals. Because at that point, they can at least get their names or faces recognized.
Anyway, it is funny though that now the Street Fighter players have no national tournament to attend while there is still national tournament for BlazBlue, Persona 4 The Ultimate in Mayonaka Arena, Melty Blood, and even Under Night In-Birth. These game are back by their respective publishers. Will Capcom jump in now for a yearly national tournament? It is hard to tell when they are not promoting something. Capcom Japan never gave prize money (or anything worthwhile except certificates) even Street Fighter IV is the most popular fighting game. Last year, Capcom also "celebrated" Street Fighter's 25th anniversary with pay-per-view tournament.