Capcom preparing for 'full-scale entry into the eSports business'; deems 2018 'eSports year one'

We've only just begun...

Posted by John 'Velociraptor' Guerrero • May 10, 2018 at 8 p.m. PDT

Yes the fighting game community is already "eSports" with the various tours and invitational events, but we may only have scratched the surface as of yet.

Capcom recently released their quarterly Investors Relations report and it seems the company is looking to double down on the eSports front. Said report is riddled with references to eSports and all new plans to further immerse the company in the emerging form of entertainment.

To start, they've recently appointed two corporate officers to an electronic sports group. Shigenori Araki was promoted to Managing Corporate Officer, Head of eSports just five months ago in January of this year according to Linkedin, and Jun Akanuma became the company's Deputy Head of eSports Group on April 1st.

While electronic sports are already gaining a ton of momentum in many places around the world, Japan is actually a bit behind in part because of strict gambling laws that make competitive gaming for monetary prizes somewhat difficult.

Capcom is setting their sights on expanding eSports operations in Japan specifically, as noted in this bit from the IR report:

"The Company has made strategic preparations for a full-scale entry into the eSports business in Japan, which include the establishment of the Capcom Esports Club at the Plaza Capcom arcade in Kichijoji (Tokyo)."

The express that the turnout and attention for Street Fighter 5 at last year's Tokyo Game Show is one of the motivators for this new course.

"[O]pportunities to develop this new business domain in Japan, a region that trails other countries, have been building, as evidenced by the overwhelming audience response for Street Fighter 5, one of the Company's popular titles, at the eSports event held during the Tokyo Game Show 2017."

This comes in tandem with a few moves that were made by Japan to further expand their electronic sports horizons.

[I]t is believed that 2018 will mark 'eSports year one,' the start of a new era, as Japan—which is trailing other markets, begins taking significant steps in promoting eSports. These include the establishment of JeSU (Japan eSports Union) in January, which integrated three industry groups, and the announcement by the J League (Japan Professional Football League) in March of its entry into the eSports sector.

Keeping in mind that fighting games are certainly significant in the eSports realm, but also very clearly not the headliner at this point in time. We'll see how much of this new initiative relates to Street Fighter (and dare we say Marvel vs. Capcom?) in time.

With Capcom forging ahead like this, the potential for further growth on the fighting game front is both vast and exciting. We'll watch with great anticipation to see what happens during this remainder of "eSports year one" and beyond.

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