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Why the fighting game community hates the word "eSports"

Posted by Nicholas 'MajinTenshinhan' Taylor • May 17, 2013 at 10:17 a.m. PDT • Comments: 65
Why the fighting game community hates the word "eSports" A few days ago, an article was published on The Penny Arcade Report regarding eSports and why the fighting game community seems to hate the term so much.

In this article, there's a lot of history about what's gone down between the fighting game community and the eSports scene in the past, as well as quotes from people such as Tom Cannon, the organizer of EVO.

Here's a snippet from Tom Cannon to start you off.
When people in the FGC use the word 'eSports' in a deriding way, they're referring to the sort of stereotypical StarCraft scene: straightlaced with guys in suits and ties in a very slick production and two guys are sitting in booths fighting like gentlemen and they shake hands after the match.

That's the stereotype, and if you're not paying attention to real StarCraft you can look at that and think, 'yeah, we don't want to be like that'.
Hit the jump to read more about the relationship between eSports and fighting games.
Given the turbulent history between fighting games and eSports organizers, it's wouldn't be surprising to hear that the two communities would want to distance themselves from one another. However, after the release of Street Fighter 4, there has been a new spark of interest to induct fighting games into the eSports scene. Cannon commented on this as well, which you can see below.

And so SF4 came out, and suddenly the leagues were interested. And we're like, oh, so you're interested now that there's a game that's marketable. We've been doing this for fifteen years, and everything's been the same except now there's a game that's marketable.

I think there's a little bit of overprotectiveness. Where people feel like we've been doing just fine on our own, and these people weren't interested in us for the value of the competition or the love of the game because that's been there all along. So there's this suspicion that maybe they're not in it for the long haul, maybe they're just trying to make a quick buck.

In contrast, the interview brings up an old quote from popular Street Fighter 4 player Mike Ross, from an interview on Cross Counter TV in 2012, during which he had a few choice words to say.

The fighting game community is not eSports. It's very separate. I don't like the term 'eSports.' I think it's a terrible, terrible term. And the fighting game community, I like its underground, 8-Mile feel.

The eSports thing, like, I feel like I have no place in there.

Rod Breslau, a long-time eSports journalist over at, gave his thoughts on the subject as well, and cites that sponsors putting their support into the fighting game community is a huge step in the right direction, and might mean that collaborations between the eSports and fighting games might not be so far off after all.

I've personally tried to bring together the FGC and eSports over the past few years. And I think after years of discussion back and forth things have gotten better than ever. I mean, they still think the term 'eSports' is lame, and there are still differences in ideology between the scenes, but they're more accomodating than ever.

Evil Geniuses getting Justin Wong from Empire Arcadia was a huge step forward, and then every player since such as Ricky Ortiz, Filipino Champ, PR Balrog, Ryan Hart, all of which are signed to eSports team. FGC players signing to big eSports teams was a huge step in the integration of both communities.

After the large resurgence of fighting games during these last few years and new-found interest in the genre, it does seem that the current fighting game community and eSports really aren't that different anymore. On the subject, Cannon had on more thing to say regarding the merging of the two concepts.

I think that people are starting to figure out that this isn't like a corporate takeover. We have things to say in terms of how we want the games presented and tournaments to be structured, and we can make our voices heard.

What do you think? Is the fighting game community moving more towards an inevitable merge with what is currently known as eSports? And if so, is that a good thing for the community or a bad thing? Sound off in the comments below.

Via The Penny Arcade Report.
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