Monday, November 17, 2014

The Relationship Between Super Arcade and Level Up

This blog has definitely taken a turn from being something heartfelt and turning into what is basically a tell all about the Fighting Game Community.  Although this change is only going to be temporary, I would like to apologize to some of the people that might be offended.  The stories and issues I will be talking about do reflect my true feelings and my view of some situations may change the way some of you view me as a person or change your view of my establishment.  My goals have always been very clear though and that is something that will not change.  I have always been 100% honest and never sugar coated anything here.  I receive some criticism for being "unprofessional" and "crude" but in order to describe and tell things with authenticity, this is road that is sometimes traveled.  Anyways, onto the things I would like to discuss in this chapter.  This portion will be explaining the relationship between Level Up Productions and Super Arcade and also some of my personal views regarding the community.

For starters, I found it odd that people did not know "Level Up" and "Super Arcade" were two different entities.  Level Up is a production company run by Alex Valle and crew while Super Arcade is the establishment owned by me where Level Up held events such as Wednesday Night Fights and The Runback.  Super Arcade joined forces with Level Up about 4 years ago when the arcade was under ownership from someone else and I was the acting manager at the time.  Prior to my presence at Super Arcade, Level Up was running events at various locations and never really found a solid home for their #WNF tournaments.  As it was, Super Arcade was located right in between Los Angeles and Orange County and deemed the perfect spot where people could attend events frequently and in a location where someone in the community had full control over.  We normally stayed open till 3am on these nights and the people appreciated the fact that they had somewhere to hang out where they weren't forced to leave at an early time.  Things were going so well that we had to split up the event and start running a Thursday night tourney known as "The Runback."  The FGC in SoCal was flourishing once again and the arcade was definitely the place to be.  Then of course things started to simmer down and the arcade wasn't making enough money to keep the owner at the time happy.  Sometime around early January of 2013, the previous owner called it quits and I was left with two options.  Try to pick up the pieces, or just let the place close up and go back to my normal life.  As you all know, with the help of the community we ran a huge raffle and raised about $11,000 thanks to MadCatz and various other parties involved.  This was our new life we did what we could to revitalize a completely empty arcade.  Anyways, back to the point I was trying to make.  So initially Super Arcade had an agreement with Level Up as to how revenue splits were going to work and everything was fine and dandy.  This verbal contract was never renegotiated when I became the sole owner and of course the blame lies with both parties.  The deal Level Up was getting was very good for their side and I'm sure they knew this and had no intention of changing it unless forced to.  I'm not going to say that this lopsided agreement was the main reason for Super Arcade to fall on hard times and lead to us starting a Kickstarter, but I will admit fault and say I didn't do my part to initiate a contract renewal of any sort.  Many of you guys out there will never know the harsh realities of running a business and how hard it is to make business decisions when feelings or friends are involved.  For those of you who do, you will understand the statement that friends and money never mix.  Fortunately for myself and Alex, we are grown adults and we have been through both good and bad times together.  Our split is a mutual understanding of what needs to be done, and also an acknowledgement that our goals are not the same.  As a friend, Alex has helped me out by loaning us some equipment and still supporting our event.  This is a gesture that shows there is absolutely no animosity between us and we continue to want each other to succeed.  We just don't want to succeed in the same areas any longer and in order for growth to be achieved, parting ways was the only viable option.

As to our new tournaments, I have received both good and bad feedback from the viewers.  I want to say this to those of you who keep bringing up the fact that Super Arcade's so-called unprofessional style will lead to a loss of sponsors and money.  When Super Arcade was "professional" do you think I received any of those benefits or saw any money from any sponsors?  Do you know for a fact what I was taking home from these sponsors you speak of?  I was granted the use of loaner computers from Alienware that my players hated.  But they all sucked it up because I told them in the long run we would get more sponsorships out of this and it would open doors for the FGC.  The local community here willingly played on a system that they were not happy with and on a system that was obviously flawed.  The game would freeze and lag on multiple occasions and even skip frames to the point where your character would disappear for a second and reappear somewhere else on the screen.  I felt bad for our loyal attendees and guilty at the same time.  I let this happen and was starting to ruin their fun and not staying true to making Super Arcade the best gaming experience for the players.  This was probably a main reason I wholeheartedly agreed to the split to begin with.  Aside from not being happy with the current contract, and not wanting to renege on a verbal agreement between friends, this whole computer issue was bothering me.  I rebuilt an arcade to cater to the people that supported us, and now I was in the center of destroying it.  Something had to be done, and well, this just so happened to fall in my lap.  Being as I was under the extreme stress of putting a tournament together and being told the main star was going to be a no-show, I went on stream to rant about it and also went on to discuss other issues I was unhappy with, ie. Mr Mcrib.  I also talked about how I was unhappy with how eSports was essentially being shoved down our throats and the only thing people could see was the money aspect of it all.  In fear of losing sponsorships, Alex and crew came down at 1:30am to talk to me about the situation and basically portrayed a sense of disappointment.  Mind you I just got off the mic from being on a rant and still a little emotional over the situation and then I have two people showing up at my shop that normally wouldn't come down unless something was wrong.  This just showed me that they were both very serious about the entire ordeal we all know how that wound up.  If Level Up was worried that much about their own image then let it be.  They needed to protect themselves from any backlash I might have caused and I needed to bring back what the players wanted here at my establishment.  I'm not sure why people are making so many assumptions as to why and what happened when it has been explained by both of us many times.  I did not kick Level Up out of Super Arcade and this choice was initiated by them in which I gladly accepted.  I also see people accusing me of being a backstabber and kicking them out after the helped me with the Kickstarter.  To those people, please explain to me how they helped aside from spreading the word like the rest of the community?  I worked very hard on that project with a gentleman by the name of Talis and if anything, Level Up needed it to succeed so they could continue to have a place to use as a venue.  Everything was a two-way street in this relationship and it's kind of insulting to see their statement regarding our split written as though it wasn't....  One other thing I wanted to mention was they just brought on a guy to be their new community manager and he literally just popped out of nowhere.  I have nothing against this gentleman but he had the nerve to post on his twitter account of 400 followers the following : "Our statement on the and split."  It's like cmon man...  You have barely been around for a month, you are in a probation period with your title, and yet you have the nerve to use the term "our" as if you are actually involved in this matter?  Let the people involved handle this and just focus on your job please.

Anyhow, while I am here working my butt off endlessly to keep a scene alive, people around me are aiming to become something I do not support.  I am not a puppet nor will I "sell out" to appease these companies who throw chump change at my community and expect the world.  Street Fighter does not have the fanbase these computer games have, nor does it have the appeal they generate to a much larger audience.  As sad as it is to admit, Street Fighter can never reach the levels of League of Legends or D.O.T.A. for one simple reason.  The money fighting games make is miniscule compared to the money these other games generate.  Plain and simple, if Street Fighter isnt making the manufacturer hundreds of millions of dollars, you won't see prize pools of millions of dollars.  It's very basic logic and you can continue to turn a blind eye to it if you like, but the economics won't change.  Would it be cool to see people battle it out in the game you love for a ton of money?  Of course!  But let's think realistically for a second.  The only way Street Fighter can get bigger and attract more sponsors is to have in run on a computer and not an Xbox, and at this time the computer is not a good port.  I know my views are not popular amongst everyone, and I have no problem with that.  My problem is only to expose people who pretend to have a good heart yet show nothing but ruthlessness behind the scenes.  I hope this clarifies the situation because it really is getting old and we have already moved on.  Thank you all for reading and I promise the next post will be juicy and expose someone for more childish antics and heartless intentions.  Gimme two days to get that one going and until then, enjoy your games and have a great day.


  1. If Call of Duty doesn't need to be on PC to make millions, neither does Street Fighter. Maybe you have insider information but the fact of the matter is SFIV has had 3 different versions of SFIV so is it not makin millions?!

    There are in fact other Capcom games that have probably put Capcom at a deficit but that definitely wasn't due to Street Fighter and it's fair to say that Street Fighter is still one of their biggest titles.

    I don't think Capcom would have bothered to go to the effort to put all the things that they put together for Capcom Tour if things were as grim as you say. So while you may be put off by how things are being run when it comes to fighting games to say they have no chance of getting bigger is really unfounded.

    I think its safe to say we all love playing games for the sake of playing games but there are people like yourself who were able to reach another level. A level that people who play the game can appreciate which is why I'd like to see that level of competition and I would especially love to see more countries get involved.

    Fact is the ONLY difference between an LOL, DOTA(both are free 2 play also), even a Hearthstone tournament(fucking hearthstone) is that no one has put a giant pot into fighting games! The minute that happens, and I believe it will maybe later then sooner, fighting games will be on that level.

    I can understand that things have changed but things change nothing you can really do about that. Some of the change has been great some of it has obviously caused some rifts but that is what change does.

    It's great that you have the arcade but keep it one hundred as much as you enjoy fighting games and love this community, the Arcade is about the arcade not fighting games at the arcade. It's a past time that we all enjoyed and want to keep alive it has nothing to do with fighting games which is why as much as you cater to the fighting game community, it's about the Arcade.

    1. The reason fighting games don't get big pots from sponsors is because their streams don't get the same number of viewers. Pretend you're a sponsor.

      "Not many people are watching these games. I will provide a big pot, so more people watch"

      "A lot of people are watching these games. I will provide a big pot, so these people see my brand"

      which one is true

    2. A lot of people are watching!

      Riot Games were the sponsors who provided these pots. Valve provided a pot through the sales of its' game. Capcom can pretty much do the same thing and they have sort of but never at the level of these other companies.

      Evo get's the numbers and you wouldn't see other companies like Amazon interested in sponsoring for Capcom if the numbers were not as significant.

      Fact is the bigger the prize money the more likely people are going to talk about it which ultimately generates some initial interest(with sponsors outside of the publishing company)and that is where it starts.

  2. Wow fuck me, i just made a big post replying to core but it got deleted. Fuck it im not retyping. But you did miss out on watts comment: "Street Fighter isnt making the manufacturer hundreds of millions of dollars, you won't see prize pools of millions of dollars"

    The call of duty example doesnt fit with this. They do make millions of dollars.

    But overall, the arcade becoming e-sports would have no benefit for the arcade. You think that if fighting games would go e-sports level, money would trickle down to some fucking arcade in the middle of socal? There a couple hundred of us (excluding smash players, who do make up a crazy portion of players at the arcade) who enjoy the venue and really appreciate watts, mando, and the two asian guys who i never got their names who work there. The place is miles ahead from where it use to be and alot comes from the dedication of these guys.

    So I really wonder, do the people who visit the arcade who love the fuck out of this place really give a fuck what some people on the internet think we are unhappy about? People actually thought with level-up leaving the players would leave too because they need their "MUH ESPORTS" fix? Naw fuck off. Watts made this venue for us, and has constantly put US forward over anyone else. Thats what made me get into arcade culture and fighting games in general. The group of people who put their enjoyment first before selling out and some stream monster trolling bullshit.

    1. I agree arcade and e-sports are entirely two different entities that should never really be mentioned in the same breath. That is like comparing a lan center to a Korean Starcraft competition.

      While Super Arcade already benefits as being on of the best places in the states to find real competition, whether he wants the press or not it will never be e-sports even if that is what he really wanted it to be.

      Street Fighter has made millions maybe not "hundreds of millions" but they've made money and if they can make sense of putting more ad dollars into competition they may just increase their revenue. If I'm a developer I see the big potential in competitive gaming like the folks at LOL have and I jump on that. Capcom has been somewhat slow to races on that front.

      Fact is he doesn't even need to stream. It's an Arcade it is not bound to any of this e-sports stuff but it benefits from the advertising of the Arcade and the overall enjoyment that people who(appreciate shit) can't be there physically can get from just watching a stream.

      So this thing about an Arcade becoming e-sports is really laughable what Super Arcade can be is a place that has nurtured incredible players ; it can be a land mark. I know "professionalism" is a word that get tossed around but it their is some merit to it when you have a business and despite what he may say you want people to fuck with you.

    2. The fact is Capcom doesnt make the money that Valve, Riot, et al do. If Capcom made a SF game with more customizable elements(hud elements/themes, costume accessories/pieces, more titles, etc) and allowed you to buy those elements from an in game store for a reasonable price they would most likely make more money. But the sad state of affairs is that the FGC is like a bunch of petulant children and would cry that Capcom is trying to take advantage of them. But thats how you make the money those companies make, and thats what allows them, to contribute those huge pots to the community.

    3. If it was F2P then I would have no issue with it especially when it comes to customizable purchases and even character purchases honestly. Truth of the matter is the likely hood of you playing all the characters in a fighting game is pretty low especially when you're struggling to master just one character.