During this past weekend's East Coast Throwdown 2014 fighting game tournament held in Secaucus, New Jersey, event organizers decided to float Evil Geniuses' Ricky Ortiz seeding into the Street Fighter 4 AE Round of 32 bracket away from teammate Justin Wong. This was after it was publicly revealed that Ortiz and Wong were set to meet if they had both won their opening games.
ECT organizers LI Joe and John Gallagher said at the time that the decision was made with no input from players, and "that a change was needed to separate players that were on the same team". Ortiz would later go on to win the tournament.
Capcom has now released a statement to onGamers regarding the matter, penalizing East Coast Throwdown's involvement in next year's Capcom Pro Tour, and stating any event found to have similar issues will have their Pro Tour points removed.
"The integrity of the events that we choose to partner with on the Capcom Pro Tour is very important to us, and we have been investigating what happened at ECT," Capcom Associate Director of eSports Matt Dahlgren told onGamers. "While it doesn’t appear that bracket fixing was done for the personal gain of the tournament organizer or players themselves, none the less it is not an acceptable practice to give select players special treatment."
"We don’t feel it is appropriate to take away Capcom Pro Tour points from ECT, as that would punish the players themselves, who had no control over the situation. However, we will be removing ECT from our Ranking Event list for next year’s Capcom Pro Tour, and moving forward, any event that is found to have fixed brackets will immediately and irrevocably have its points removed."
"We will be following up with our current partners regarding the importance of following the rules and providing a fair environment for all participants."
onGamers reached out to ECT's Gallagher following the ruling, and was provided with the following statement
"We understand and respect Capcom's decision," he said. "We did not intend for this to happen, nor did we do this with the intent of giving any one player advantage over others. We will continue to provide the best experience possible for our players in the years to come and will learn from this. In the future, we'll be more clear on how the bracket pathing will work and stick to it."
EVO organizer Tom Cannon pointed to a previous statement released early on last year regarding their stance tournament format and ruleset.
"Reseeding the tournament actually makes it much harder for non-seeded players to win," it reads. "By reseeding the bracket, the tournament director is taking the “easy roads” earned by every upset in the original bracket and re-distributing it to the players he thinks should be seeded highly at the next stage. They are robbing from the poor and giving to the rich."
"It’s nearly impossible to please everyone by floating the bracket...it’s almost a certainty that someone will complain about something in the tournaments future which ultimately may not have happened if you hadn’t floated.People with allegations of bias against the tournament organizers feel slighted, regardless of whether or not their allegations are grounded in reality. So to avoid the possibility and the perception of bias, we simply do not float anymore. Ever. For any reason."
The next stop on the Capcom Pro Tour will be the Ultimate Fighting Game Tournament (UFGT) 10 ranking event happening in Chicago, May 23-25. The next Premier Event will be the South East Asia Majors in Singapore, held June 20-22.
Image Credit: Robert Paul