It’s competitive gaming’s first big scandal since the U.S. government officially recognized it as a sport.
ChrisG and Flocker, two of the biggest names in the fighting game community, are suspected of colluding and splitting the winnings in the Marvel vs. Capcom 3 grand final last weekend. The prize pool was $14,000, but the exact payout details were not released.
After using generally the same lineups for each match on the way to the finals, the two competitors suddenly chose unfamiliar and underpowered characters when the finals began, reports Kotaku.
ChrisG and TriForce have told me on the record they did not collude in VxG the finals, and there is no prize split. Take it as you wish.
— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) July 30, 2013
Fans, tournament organizers, Capcom developers, and even sponsors condemned what they saw as collusion in the “joke finals” between Job Figueroa (FlockeR) and Christopher Gonzalez (ChrisG).
“If any of our players/teams ever throw matches or not play their best. They are getting suspended,” wrote Mad Catz’s MarkMan, a sponsor of the event. “We shouldn’t have to, but we NEED to police this better in the future to ensure the legitimacy/respect for the event stays true. #WeOnIT”
Here’s a video of the match in question:
“It’s sad to see the commentators not knowing Flocker won,” wrote RobSkii. “They were like, oh he won, congrats. They weren’t even paying attention.”
When Flocker first made waves in the fighting game scene, Mike Ross wondered why the obviously talented player didn’t attend more tournaments. Flocker stressed that he simply didn’t have very much money.
“I’m not gonna lie, I’m pretty much poor,” said Flocker, “I can’t just fly around like everyone can.”
Flocker recently won the Marvel vs. Capcom 3 tournament at this year’s Evolution Championship Series, but even as one of the most talented players in the game, he’s not receiving a major payout. Gamers in other esports can make six-figure salaries and contend for prizes of over $1 million—Flocker’s game does not offer that kind of payoff.
Gamespot’s Rod Breslau says the competitors denied collusion.
Fans reacted with skepticism, noting that of course they wouldn’t admit to the act, especially after it’s received so much negative attention in even mainstream gaming media.
Following the incident, fighting game websites Shoryuken and Eventhubs have instituted a rule expressly forbidding collusion at risk of disqualification in 17 major tournaments. Fans and sponsors have expressed support for the new rule.
This is not the first time collusion has come up in professional gaming. Just last year, a League of Legends championship match between Dignitas and Curse was found to be fixed in order to split the prize money. The teams were disqualified and made admissions of guilt and apologies shortly thereafter. They lost $32,000 in prizes.
Photo via CrossOfHendaye/YouTube