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Esports Arena is a curated weekly roundup of the biggest stories in the world of online competitive gaming.
The prize pool for Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. Ultimate at upcoming fighting game tournament EVO Japan 2020 is drawing the ire of the esports community.
Despite having the most players in attendance at 2,987, the Smash Ultimate tournament is the only competition that won’t feature a cash prize. Instead, the winner will receive a limited-edition Switch Pro Controller. For comparison, the Street Fighter V tournament, which has just 1,471 players, will award the winner $9,000.
Reactions across social media have ranged from mocking to outright confusion, such as this tweet from longtime Smash Bros. player Gonzalo “ZeRo” Barrios, who said, “Imagine winning EVO Japan, one of the most difficult Smash tournaments ever, in a region full of hidden very strong players to just win a Nintendo Pro Controller (with gold smash mark, though!) in the meantime all the other games are at 500,000 or 1 Million yen for the winners.”
Some have cited Nintendo’s lack of membership in the Japan Esports Union as the reason for the lack of support, but others like Barrios believe it simply comes down to a lack of effort, also tweeting “the truth is that while Smash Bros. is a popular game with a very big competitive scene, it doesn’t have the developer support that essentially every other game has.”
Nintendo did not respond to a request for comment, however the EVO Japan website has removed the Pro Controller as the top prize, instead reading “prizes for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will be announced later.”
EVO Japan 2020 will take place at the Makuhari Messe in Tokyo beginning Jan. 24.
Elsewhere, Brazilian Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Team paiN has announced it will be relocating its male CS:GO team to North America effective immediately. “2019 was an amazing year for us in CS:GO,” team coach Bruno Ono said in a video posted to the team’s social media accounts. “Our male team will move to Canada to practice and compete in North American championships.” The move comes on the heels of the team’s stellar 2019 performance, which saw them win every major Brazilian CS:GO tournament including CLUTCH LA League’s fifth season, Brasileirao’s first season, and GamersClub Masters III and IV. The team has yet to announce their first competition in their new home.
Here’s what else is happening in the world of esports.
Call of Duty League Names Its Casters
With Call of Duty League kicking off on Jan. 24, the competition has named its official casters. Clint “Maven” Evans and Joe “MerK” DeLuca, the top broadcast team for the Call of Duty World League since 2018, will be returning to the desk for the league’s new format. Evans first revealed the news via his Twitter, simply saying “the duo is back,” while DeLuca tweeted “I get carried for another year.” The casters’ new gig will begin when Call of Duty League’s first match, pitting the Chicago Huntsmen against the Dallas Empire, takes place in Minneapolis Jan. 24 at 5:30 ET.
Shanghai Dragons Player to Miss Overwatch League Opener Due to Health Issue
A Shanghai Dragons player may miss the opening weekend of Overwatch League’s 2020 season due to a recent health scare. According to a translation of a post on social media site Weibo, Bae “Diem” Min-seong is “currently receiving medical treatment in Korea” for what Bae later revealed to be a collapsed lung. The post also reveals doctors have informed Bae that he will need to take a one-month hiatus from competition, meaning he would miss the Dragons’ first match on Feb. 15 against the Chengdu Hunters. His team has yet to make an official announcement about whether he will miss the match.
First Pokemon Regional Championship to feature Sword and Shield Takes Place in Dallas
The first mainline Pokemon Sword and Shield competition kicked off at the Pokemon Regional Championships in Dallas, with longtime Pokemon pro Aaron Traylor winning the Masters Division (players born in 2004 or earlier) against Bingjie Wang. The field of 540 players was the largest Masters Division Regional in Pokemon history, with Traylor walking away with a $3,000 prize for finishing first. Traylor celebrated his win via Twitter, saying “Thank you to all of my friends and everyone who believed in me.” The next official Pokemon Regional will take place Feb. 28 to March 1 in Collinsville, IL.
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