ZeRo claims that you can make more money working at McDonald's than winning EVO for Super Smash Bros; the numbers appear to back him up

Smash appears to be the only mainstage game to regularly get no pot bonuses

Posted by Dakota 'DarkHorse' Hills • June 18, 2018 at 8:20 p.m. PDT

Nintendo revealed Super Smash Bros. Ultimate last week at E3 which has lead many to focus their attention back on the series and its competitive scene including TSM|ZeRo.

Gonzalo "ZeRo" Barrios was recognized as the greatest Super Smash Bros. for Wii U (Smash 4) player in the world with a 56-tournament win streak which is unheard of in the modern era of fighting games.

He decided to retire from competitive play in January this year to become a streamer, but ZeRo came out to E3 for the Super Smash Bros. Invitational that he would go on to win and is now considering coming out of retirement for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate... if the money is there.

"I'm open to coming back, but it depends on the opportunities that I have and what opportunities it has to offer," said ZeRo in a recent stream. "If I compete, it's because I found some good business opportunities and also because the tournaments have a lot more support. Otherwise, I'm just gonna be a streamer and a commentator."

Barrios goes on to say that players can make more money working at McDonald's than they would for winning EVO for Super Smash Bros, and the numbers actually appear to support that depending on the game you play.

Super Smash Bros. has had consistently high EVO entrants, yet among the smallest prize pools due to the lack of pot bonuses from Nintendo or anyone else among other factors.


Click image for ZeRo's statement

EVO's prize pool is structured as registration/ venue fees plus $10 for every game you enter and a processing fee. That $10 goes towards the game's prize pool, so if the game you entered had 500 entrants, the prize pool would be $5,000.

Developers and Publishers like Capcom, Bandai Namco and NetherRealm Studios step in for almost every mainstage game at EVO to add more to the prize pool in the way of pot bonuses except for Nintendo with Smash Bros.

Capcom has kicked in a bonus $50,000 to the prize pool for both EVO 2016 and 2017 for Street Fighter 5 resulting in a prize pool of over $100,000 in SF5's inaugural year. This is an improvement from when RZR|Xian won Street Fighter 4's EVO tournament in 2013 and walked away with $5,700.

Meanwhile in 2017, Super Smash Bros. Melee saw 1,435 entrants for a prize pool of $14,350 while Smash 4 had 1,515 entrants for a $15,150 prize pool. That all sounds nice and fine until you compare it to the other games and start splitting it among the top placers.

The payout style for EVO tournaments is first place receives 60 percent of the pool, second receives 20 percent, third gets 10 percent, fourth gets four percent, fifth place each get two percent and seventh place each gets one percent.

MVG|Salem won the 2017 Smash 4 EVO tournament meaning he walked away with $9,090 while ZeRo who received second earned $3,000 with VoiD and Dabuz getting $150 for seventh.

Injustice 2 had 883 entrants, but NetherRealm and Warner Bros. added an additional $50,000 to the prize pool meaning Noble|Dragon, the winner of Injustice 2's EVO 2017 tournament, won over $35,000.

This is not an easy issue to solve if Nintendo continues to shy away from pot bonuses for Super Smash Bros. Third party or other sponsors could get involved though they wouldn't have nearly as much to gain from the proposition as Nintendo would. EVO's organizers could increase entrance fees to up the prize pools, but that would likely further strain the audience who is largely already spending hundreds of dollars just to attend.

The hardcore and the sponsored will always attend, but bigger prize pools can mean more eyes on your game and more big dreamers looking to make a living playing a competitive video game. Those spending $500 on a plane ticket plus at least $100 for the hotel if you share your room, $70-100 to attend the tournament and more for food may not want to keep coming if there's no dream left to make it big in Vegas.

You can check out ZeRo's thoughts on the matter in the video below that he released recently.

McDonald's image source: Mike Mozart

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