With Infiltration‘s win at the Capcom Pro Tour last chance qualifier for the Asia Regional Final, it seems like a great time to look into Gate keeping.
— Capcom Fighters (@CapcomFighters) November 17, 2016
A little over two weeks ago, Tokido won the final SFV NA Qualifier at the Red Bull Battlegrounds over RB. He shredded the competition staying on winners side with solid Ryu play. In a post game interview, the murder face menace proclaimed his performance will be much better come Capcom cup.
In the midst of Tokido’s win however, there were many who were not impressed. Some players and spectators felt Tokido’s presence wasn’t needed at the Red Bull Battlegrounds as he was already qualified for Capcom Cup. They felt that the NA qualifier should have been won by someone unqualified. This sentiment has been echoed before.
Early on in the SFV season, Infiltration angered many for attending, and winning, Capcom cup qualifier tournaments after already qualifying for Capcom Cup. Again, the general sentiment was Infiltration should stop attending Capcom cup qualifier events in order to give the unqualified players a chance.
The term used to label Infiltration, and Tokido, was gate keeper. Now keep in mind, an official definition in the FGC hasn’t been established. However, context is a thing so I was able to whip one up. In the FGC, a gatekeeper is a strong fighting game player who attends many qualifier tournaments and wins despite already being qualified. As a result, they dissolve spots for other players to qualify to attend major tournaments.
Gatekeeping is seen as a way to eliminate additional qualifiers from different regions. There is an idea that everyone should have an opportunity to compete and qualify. This argument is rather funny considering tournament entry is open to all over the age of 16. That is equal opportunity for all competitors to qualify for Capcom cup. The conflation here is equal opportunity guarantees equal outcome. This isn’t how competition works.
Just because every region has qualifier tournaments doesn’t mean every competitor in said region will get representation. Competition means only the best rises to the top. If the best in that region don’t win, it is because they lack the experience necessary to win.
Speaking of experience, Infiltration has said he uses Capcom cup qualifier tournaments to further hone his skills. If Infiltration and Tokido are going by the same play book, it would mean the best way to improve is to continue to bump into these guys at tournaments. Which leads to my next point, international tournament experience.
While players may feel like international players participating in other regional qualifiers is unfair and holding unseen talent back, there are moments like Nuckledu’s win at the Red Bull Battlegrounds that wouldn’t have the same impact had international players not entered the picture.
Nuckledu started the tournament against Tokido and lost but managed to push through in losers to get the runback, reset the bracket, and ultimately win the Redbull battlegrounds thus closing another qualifer spot. Another moment worth mentioning is Vagabond competing and defeating Daigo Umehara. Umehara is one of Vagabond’s idols and he was so overjoyed to have had to opportunity to run into him. It’s also worth mentioning Vagabond battled through an online 300 man bracket to earn a spot at the Red Bull battlegrounds to begin with.
These upsets against international players have done wonders for the careers of these two players. One could argue it was because of the challenge these international players brought that pushed Du and Vagabond to give their all.With the United States being regarded as being free, but of course not as free as Canada (wink, wink), it’s important for US players to get as much international experience as possible. Being intimidated by international players to the point of accusing their presence as gate keeping doesn’t help US players grow as players.
Moving away from Street Fighter 5, Tekken 7 has also had an issue with gate keeping. In fact, the issue with gate keeping was so bad, there was a day dedicated to filling North American qualifier spots.
According to an article by Tekkengamer, the Last Chance Qualifier was 7 consecutive single-elimination tournaments. There was not a top 8 that qualified for the finals. Each tournament crowned one winner. A large reason for this was repetitive victories by Circa| Anakin.
Circa| Anakin won 5 of the 12 Tekken Tour Events relinquishing 4 of the North American Spots. Poongko has won SoCal regionals and Canada Cup thus relinquishing 2 North American Spots. The final plus one I assume was supposed to be the last chance qualifter in a classic tournament fashion but of course with 6 additional spots not taken things changed.
As a result, several players went out to San Francisco on November 9th and battled it out until those 7 spots were filled. Evidence of this long days worth of qualifying can be seen on the Tekken twitch channel here. But a word of warning, the VOD is nearly 10 hours long.
— TekkenGamer.com (@TekkenGamercom) September 11, 2016
All things considered, is gate keeping something which should be dealt with in the future? Personally, I don’t think so. The repetitive complaints of gate keeping seem more like frustration coming from fans who want to see fresh faces win and players who are frustrated or intimidated with their predicament.
Well that’s enough out of me, what you do think about gate keeping? Do you think that it’s a legit problem or a small complaint? If it’s the former, how would you suggest gate keeping be solved? Did you like how Bandai Namco handled the gate keeping situation? Let me know in the comments or hey, write your own article and we’ll post it on the site.