Low Payouts Forcing Professional Tekken Players to Jump Ship

The world of esports is still in its relatively early days as most games don’t have the stable full-time gigs to support most professionals. Such is the case with Tekken 7, a critically acclaimed fighting game with a steady stream of DLC and plenty of fan support. Although this fan support hasn’t translated into the Tekken 7 esports prize pool, which was cut in half in 2018.

Several top players are considering leaving the game because of this downsizing. The main event of contention centers around the Tekken World Tour. In 2017, first place granted the winner $15,000. That number dropped to $7,500 in 2018. This is despite an increase in viewership this year as well as more people entering the tournament in general. Top players travel from place to place in order to compete and qualify for the event, and the $7,500 prize in 2018 might not even cover those expenses.

Even when looking at last year’s top prize, Tekken is small potatoes compared to some of the other heavy hitters in the genre. Street Fighter V pays out $120,000 to its top winner at the Capcom Pro Tour, a number supported by numerous sponsorship deals, in-game advertisements, and ongoing DLC sales. Mortal Kombat X and Injustice 2 also both had DLC in each game that went to each game’s respective tournament prize pools.

Tekken 7‘s DLC efforts have been slow going compared to Capcom’s franchise. Outside of a pair of season passes and some ongoing character announcements, the game has been silent, and there’s no indication that the money generated from this DLC is going towards esports. Fans of the game have suggested that retro costumes or other in-game fundraising efforts could make the tournament scene more viable. While a Tekken World Tour has been announced for 2019, there’s no telling if it will be able to keep up the momentum of Tekken esports with a shrinking roster of willing participants.