In the face of several instances of top players purposefully under-performing in competition, a number of major tournament organizers have come together to standardize anti-collusion rules across their events.
TOs will co-opt Evolution Championship Series player collusion guidelines:
Collusion of any kind with your competitors is considered cheating. If the Tournament Director determines that any competitor is colluding to manipulate the results or intentionally underperforming, the collaborating players may be immediately disqualified. This determination is to be made at the sole discretion of the Tournament Director. Anyone disqualified in this manner forfeits all rights to any titles or prizes they might have otherwise earned for that tournament.
In addition, major FGC news websites Shoryuken and EventHubs have agreed to only cover events that adopt and enforce these rules at their tournament, challenging other tournaments to publicly do the same. “Competitive spirit is the lifeblood of the fighting game community,” said Shoryuken staff member Tom Cannon, “Unfortunately, this year we have seen a few incidents where players intentionally underperformed, usually in the final matches of a tournament. This behavior is unacceptable, and it must end.”
Community Effort Orlando organizer Alex Jebailey sees the issue as a problem better suited to prevention than cure. “Personally I never have to worry about this at CEO, because when you have a great environment for players to make it feel like an actual tournament with a trophy or pride on the line, they will always play at their best,” he said, “Whatever they choose to do with their money winnings they have a right to AFTER the tournament. But playing like shit and having fun during a finals set won’t be tolerated when a lot is a stake. Always perform at your best or you just embarrass yourself, your sponsors and the whole fighting games community.”
Whatever issues they may have with collusion, tournament organizers are taking up the rules, with representatives of Shadowloo Showdown agreeing to co-opt the rules with a slight twist. “Any collusion decisions regarding Shadowloo Showdown will be made as a team, rather than burdening an individual with the decision,” Andreou said. “With that said, let’s not make this the focus of FGC tournaments, let’s focus on playing fighting games and doing the right thing.”
Fellow Shadowloo organizer Ali Abdo added that there may be a period of adjustment. “It’s a very fine line and I don’t expect it to be very effective right away,” Abdo conceded, commenting on perceived vagueness in the rules, “But with more tourneys and sponsors trying to stamp it out, you would hope it won’t be a problem in the future.”
As of the time of writing, these tournaments and brands have agreed to take up the rules:
- Evolution Championship Series (Includes all Road to Evo events)
- Big E Gaming Events (Northeast Championships, Summer Jam, and Winter Brawl)
- Canada Cup Gaming (Canada Cup, April Duels)
- Community Effort Orlando
- Civil War
- East Coast Throwdown
- The Fall Classic
- Final Round
- Level|Up Events (SoCal Regionals, Wednesday Night Fights, and The Runback)
- MTLSF Events
- Northwest Majors
- Shadowloo Showdown
- NorCal Regionals
- Toronto Top Tiers (TORYUKEN, Canadian East Coast Championships)
- Treta Championship
- Ultimate Fighting Game Tournament
Seeing coordinated action taken against collusion in the FGC is a great thing, and The Saltmine approves of the idea of a standardized set of rules against it. With that said, it was an English jurist named William Blackstone that once said “it is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer”. Collusion is a practice that needs to be stamped out, but not at the cost of being too broad or heavy-handed in its enforcement.
If Evolution is to set the standard for anti-collusion rules, it falls upon the organizers of Evolution to make sure their rules are maintained, and respect the ideals of tournament organizers worldwide. Going forward the rules that now effectively govern every fighting game major on the planet must be constantly revised and updated to more clearly define collusion, means of detecting it and appropriate responses.
Moreover, tournament organizers that adopt these rules should have a say in any revision process. This is a chance for the fighting games community worldwide to grow, and shouldn’t be allowed to fall by the wayside in favor of having one major in a position of power to dictate policy or apply mandate to smaller ones.