SF-20160602-NoelBrown

eSports Comes One Step Closer to Physical Sports, Bans Player for Inappropriate Behavior

The fighting game producer and eSports event organizer Capcom announced on June 2nd that it would ban a player from future Pro Tour Ranking events. This follows the unwanted contact that he gave to another attendee, at the front of the crowd, after a crowd shot was organized, and the video feed was still rolling. The Tournament Organizers, Combo Breaker, received a report of the incident from the attendee and reviewed the evidence they had. They decided to ban the player from their events for a year, and then consider allowing him back after that. Capcom says they reviewed the facts that Combo Breaker used to make the decision, and decided to ban him from their events as well. Both Combo Breaker and Capcom say they will enforce a lifetime ban should the player behave in this way again.

This disciplinary action is significant in the community of fighting games as it represents the first showing of solidarity between tournament organizations. Many tournament organizers will host multiple games at an event to draw in larger crowds, and to attract more sponsorship dollars. For Combo Breaker to ban a player from their event is significant, but historically players could just go to another tournament. For Capcom to carry the ban to any other Street Fighter V event they are participating in significantly restricts the player’s ability to participate in the community. With these two organizations working together, they are putting significant pressure on participants to take their behavior seriously, using tools they have always had, but never really used in this way. This black listing means that these elements of the community are coming together to shape it to support their ideas of what is appropriate behavior.

This disciplinary action also shows the awareness of these companies to the size and visibility of of eSports. When this player assaulted an opponent in 2011, he was handed a 3 week ban. When this player assaulted a competitor in 2013, the Tournament Organizers chalked it up to a personal dispute. Now Combo Breaker and Capcom say they have a zero tolerance policy for this type of behavior, and that the next time it happens, the player should expect a lifetime ban from their events. If they are serious about this, they could hope to turn their fledgling interest into a fully grown sport some day. USAToday has a database of professional football players and arrest events 821 elements long. Today, sexual harassment, tomorrow, the world.

Seth Oakley
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Seth Oakley is an educator and Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who lives in Daly City, CA. He loves costuming, analog gaming and role playing games. He got this job in a bar after making poor life choices and has to work through 100 articles before Mike will give him his soul back. If you want Seth to cover an event in particular, leave a comment to let him know.

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