East Coast Throwdown Tournament Organizer SweetJohnnyCage's response
First off, thanks admins for approving my account! Been wanting to get on GAF for a long time.
I'm going to be very blunt. I haven't read the entire thread, I've just been tagged a few times on Twitter and Facebook in regards to this issue. I'm not here to argue with anyone, but I will be very blunt in how I post. It's just how I am. Sorry if I offend anyone, and I hope you'll all still want to come to East Coast Throwdown in the future.
If you had come to ECT5, you would've noticed that there was physically no room for a 5th stream. We had Spooky, Bibiquadium (anime), Deadly Bison Entertainment (secondary) and Kombat Network streaming. When hotels are charging you hundreds of dollars per connection, logistically speaking, it makes no sense to have a 5th stream when SCV and Tekken had small numbers even with JDCR being flown in since he won Final Round. Take a look at some pictures of the event. The entire pre-function area was filled. We had to put Anime, Tekken, and SCV in that area. Vampire, ST, and Deadly Bison's Setup went in the sidehall of the prefunction area. And even then, it was packed. It was so full that we physically can not fit in that space next year without being even more of a fire hazard that we already are.
No one is getting ballrooms for free. Hotels are in the business of making money and we run our events in major cities. Eric runs his by 2 sports stadiums. You think he gets it for free? Come on man. We have to deal with unions to do almost anything in these ballrooms. That alone costs money.
I don't like your attitude, so I choose not to work with you. I think you have a giant sense of entitlement. That's the vibe you give off, and a lot of people think so. Your stream looks beautiful, but I just don't care for you as a person. You rub me the wrong way. If another TO asks me, "What do you think of Jaxel?" I say, "He has a good stream, watch the Break weeklies. As a person, I don't care for him". One major thing that infuriates me is the amount of ways you ask for donations/money. One of the first things you see on 8WR is a banner that says "You don't want to make Viola cry!" and saying to help support the site and become a premium member (only if they have Adblock installed). The banner above that asks people to become premium members. So no matter what, they're being asked to give you money. If I turn off Adblock, I get full page banner ads that clash with the theme of your site, detracting from the content. I understand sites need money to run, I really do. I host ECT's site, I know how it works. But the way you do things is a bit intrusive for my tastes. Your Xsplit tool's biggest button is a donate button.
Not sure if you were the one who asked this, but no TO is going to open their books for one simple reason. No matter what number we say we make in profit (which 90% of gets recycled back into next year's down payment and to start the next event), it'll be too much for someone. If it's $10, they'll say you should donate it to a pot. If it's $10,000 we'll be called thieves. I don't know where people come up with these giant numbers of $30,000. If TOs were making that much money, why would we work regular jobs? Why would I still have $35,000 in student loans? Why would I be driving the same car since high school that now has 174,000 miles on it? As much as I love my Jeep, I'd rather be driving something a bit newer.
I can't speak for everyone in the community. Hell, I can't even speak for a lot of other TOs. But I'm sorry you feel like you got blackballed, but you did it to yourself with ECT at ECT4. First off, the tip/donation jar just annoyed me, but I didn't want to be a dick and ask you to take it down. The event was running really well so I decided to focus on the bigger picture instead. You also made some snide comments on Twitter about Deadly Bison Entertainment sucking up your bandwidth when they weren't even streaming. They did the salty suite, nothing else that year. That was the second thing that made me not want to work with you anymore. We told DBE back in September of 2012 that if they were up for it, we wanted them to stream secondary. They do a great job, and they're really funny guys that we enjoy working with.
I also didn't like how you asked if you could be the main stream ECT5, even after Spooky had been announced as our streamer at NEC when I spoke on stage. His banner, along with Kombat Network were also featured on our site at that time as well. At that time, I had told you that Spooky was main stage, DBE was secondary, but we wanted you to be the 3D stream, which you happily agreed to, and you never asked for any amount of money, or even a hotel room. Would we have covered your hotel room? Probably not since we have to pay for Eric's 2 rooms, Larry and his wife's room, Rolando's room, and Team Spooky's room. That right there is over $1500 in sunk costs, and when we're literally paying for ECT out of our own weekly paychecks, that's a big amount for us to sink.
I didn't like how dismissive you were of Tekken pools at Winter Brawl while you took 3 and a half hours to stream SCV Top 8. I asked you at 6:00pm when we started pools if you were able to stream Tekken. You said you were in Top 8 of SCV and could stream when done. I said ok, no problem, we'll keep moving with pools. 2 hours later, we're done with the first two pools, and you're still going with Top 8. I check in with you on where you are, and all you say is you're doing Top 8. 90 minutes later when we're almost done with the final pools, Top 8 finishes and you stream 4 or 5 matches of Tekken. When one of the TOs asks you to stream a sponsored game (and I'm not even saying myself, Hubbs asked you as well, and he's partially in charge of WB), you should really do it. I've never worked with someone else who would tell someone in charge that they couldn't stream a sponsored game over a game that was not sponsored and had less entries. That was the final straw for me wanting to work with you.
I know nothing of the VxG business. This is the first time I'm hearing anything to that effect. The only ones I knew who were streaming were Bifuteki, and I thought Spooky was doing something as well. You were never on any of the sponsorship decks that we received, but I'm almost positive Bifu was. I never heard your name thrown around by Rolando or anyone involved with VxG. But again, I don't know what goes on behind closed doors with VxG, so I'll just let that rock.
Sorry for the giant wall of text, but I only plan on posting in this thread this once. I hope that clarified some of the story from our perspective. Thanks for your time.
Tournament organizer Renegade's response-
For those of you who don't know Jaxel is one of the more prominent fighting game streamers who has streamed dozens of major events. He is currently a junior and I am posting this thread in his behalf.
8WAYRUN.com was the first gaming site to convert to XenForo. I saw the value of the platform and immediately jumped on it. I am now one of the bigger XenForo third party add-on developers as most of the stuff on my website are programmed in house. since then, I've helped many of the websites in the FGC to update their forums, including testyourmight, vfdc, freestepdodge, and many others.
One such website was SRK. However, working with SRK was a pain and made it a chore to get anything done. In addition, they kept asking me to program in additional features that were harmful to user experiences, including poor integration with WordPress, that they refused to give up, and advertisement systems. I told them it would be problematic and I don't feel comfortable programming such features, but would do it anyways since they were paying me.
When all the work was done, and I asked for my fee, they refused to meet my price. They said they would give me half, and "never talk about money again". Basically, pay me half, and I continue working for free. I took the money, but refused to work for them anymore.
However, SRK is a huge website running my software, so it's still in my interest to make sure it's running well as it's basically a big advert for my add-ons. There was a huge problem, after months of running without a programmer, everything was now out of date, and of course bugs were starting to show their ugly heads.
When people started complaining about bugs, MrWiz tried to blame my software. To which I had to respond that those bugs were fixed almost a year earlier, SRK was just severely out off date. MrWiz immediately banned me and deleted all the support threads I had commented on. A month later they switched to the service hosted vanilla forums.
All this because they are greedy bastard who refused to pay my paltry service fees. The amount I asked for is probably less than two days of revenue from that website.
Seems to be a long running theme in the Capcom FGC... people undervalue your work, want you to work for free, and act like they are doing you the favor. Then of course on the rare circumstance where you ask for anything, they treat you like shit. It didn't matter if it's SRK, west coast, east coast, or even BigE; the people who run the Capcom FGC are scoundrels.
After. You can't tell the rate before the work starts because you don't know how long it will take... not to mention SRK had TONS of extra stuff they had me program in for their special cases. For instance, that top bar on the current SRK lists new and popular threads, and an advert on the right. That isn't stock, they had me program in a new threads block, a block displaying the recent Wordpress news (which required me to write a bridge between xenforo and Wordpress FROM SCRATCH), and of course the ad block.
I objected to writing the entire top bar; but they insisted. Also remember that last year, flash did not officially support z-index. So the ad would block the user control dropdown. I told them issues like this would happen, but they didn't care. I run websites for a living, I know what kind of money they make, and with the completely intrusive ads they have on SRK, and with the high rate of traffic they had on XenForo, they should be making $300 a day, minimum. Since their switch to Vanilla Forums, you can see their traffic dropped off precipitately.
I've been recording/streaming for BigE, for FREE for about 7 years, and he's always treated me like shit. Whenever I tried to talk to him, he would always be like "What do you want now Jaxel?". But he always treated the Soulcalibur community well, since back in the day, we pretty much made his events. Before 2005, we always had the biggest turnouts, so we were the premier game. So I still stuck by him, even though the tournaments were always poorly run... seriously, if you've been running tournaments for over a decade, and they're still run like shit, you're doing something wrong.
So as I said, I've been essentially working for him for free for years, and he always acted like he was doing me the favor, rather than the other way around. As if I was "working for the content", which you guys all know, 3D fighting games, I don't make any money off those youtube videos. There was a significant lack of respect in the fact that I always had to hound him just to get information about sponsors and schedules of his events. Often I would have to be rushing at the end of Friday night to finish the stream slides because I never knew who the sponsors were till last minute. And I NEVER got any schedules.
Meanwhile, I never even had any fiduciary responsibility to have sponsors on my stream slides. They weren't paying me, and BigE never treated me like an official streamer, on most of his tournament threads, he never even listed my stream. He got all the money and never gave me any of it. The most I ever asked of him, was to cover my hotel room, which he always refused. Of course, he always said "I got you covered", promised me arcade sticks from madcatz at EVERY event (3-4 per year)... I never got a single stick.
You may not know this, but I streamed the first THREE Bar Battles; but BigE never listed my stream on his threads. In addition to all this, he doesn't even supply me with internet anymore. At all his events, I shell out $300 of MY OWN MONEY to stream on my Verizon 4G. And yet, he still acted like he was doing ME the favor. So I was shelling out cash to stream for free, for him... meanwhile he collects thousands in venue fees, with very little cost since he gets the venue for free, and hires his family as staff. He doesn't pay any of the TOs who help him run the event, and doesn't even cover my internet costs. In addition, he collects revenue from the increasing number of sponsors.
The big issue happened at Winter Brawl this past year. As usual I was streaming the 3D fighting games. As usual, I rush on Friday night to finish the stream slides. As usual, they don't give me any schedule, or post the schedule online. Saturday comes along, and Dead or Alive, Tekken and Soulcalibur are scheduled to start at the EXACT same time, 5pm. Seriously? You're gonna be claiming to support these games and then basically fuck them all over for stream/gaming time?
So 5pm comes along, and I ask the Tekken guys if their tournament is ready to stream, they say no, so I start Soulcalibur, since I am running Soulcalibur and I run my shit well. By 8pm, we are in top 8 of Soulcalibur. Everyone in top 8 says they would rather play on Saturday than wait for Sunday only to get fucked over on stream time on sp00ky's stream (which ALWAYS happens, not sp00ky's fault, but BigE's, since he can't schedule for shit). Hell a recent "Jaxel Power Hour" episode I did, I spoke about how tournaments run behind because of TOs, and I used NEC as an example of TOs fucking up.
So I'm running top 8 in Soulcalibur, and we're pretty much close to the end and Hubbs asks me if I can stream Tekken now. I tell him that we're almost done in Soulcalibur and if it can wait. He says fine and I finish up Soulcalibur. We get in some Tekken pools afterwards, about 4 or 5 matches... by then its midnight and we pack up for the night. Remember, I was not given a schedule, nor told what games I had to stream at what times.
The next day, BigE complains to me that Namco complained that I didn't stream enough Tekken. He said my "love" for Soulcalibur made the decision on what game I streamed; when thats not true. I did not choose Soulcalibur over Tekken, I chose TOP 8 over FUCKING POOLS. I later find out that BigE is laying the blame on me to Namco, telling them I fucked up and sabotaging my relationship with them. He wouldn't admit that it was his poor scheduling.
In addition to this, he's going on Facebook to the Tekken community and telling them that I fucked up and that's the reason Tekken wasn't on stream that much. Even though I gave the Tekken community the first dibs on the stream time, and they chose not to take it. In order to protect his own interests, he refuses to admit his mistakes and sabotages my relationships with both Namco and the Tekken community. A week later, SweetJohnnyCage contacts me on facebook to tell me that they don't PHYSICALLY have "space" for me at ECT and they wont be having me stream there. I can read between the lines, BigE has his hands in EVERYTHING on the east coast, and he just blackballed me.
So naturally I'm pissed off, but because I'm a professional, I keep quiet and think about it for a bit. About a week or two later, I send an email to BigE explaining my complaints with Winter Brawl; pretty much asking for an apology. I'm giving him an out, so that he can apologize and I will continue working for him for FREE. Instead he calls me up, and gives me this non-apology, insisting that he's "going to bat" for me, and that I fucked up at Winter Brawl. Whatever, I accept it, and still plan on streaming for him at upcoming events; because this is BigE, and I don't expect him to act like a fucking human being.
So in July I was supposed to be streaming at VxG in St. Maartan; a huge event which will result in a nice paycheck for me; both from VxG and the residuals I will make off of youtube. I've been working hard to get this event, streaming VxG events on good faith, expecting them to return the favor. I've met with staff from St. Maartan and all is going well. However, I find out last month that I've been dropped as a streamer at VxG. Yes, there are issues with Capcom games at VxG, but they could have kept me on for non-Capcom games. I find out that the reason they are dropping me is because BigE is talking bad behind my back, scaring the tourism board at St. Maartan, telling them that I am unprofessional.
Now you guys know me, I am a consummate professional. I strive for perfection in everything I do; and I act like a professional and expect others to treat me the same. When it happens, you see some fantastic events that I work with, such as APEX or Canterlot Gardens. However, BigE has been nothing but unprofessional for many years, and now he just cost me a $10K by fucking me over with this VxG shit. Thats the moment I decided FUCK THE FGC, I'm not working for free for the FGC ever again. So all these streams that I've been doing for free, you can thank BigE for ruining it.
Because I DONT CARE ANYMORE. I have nothing left to lose in the FGC. The WORST people in the FGC are in control of it; the people who run EVO/SRK, BigE, Henry Cen, etc... they are all terrible people who are sabotaging the FGC in order to pursue their own interests. The worst part about it is that they act like they are doing it for the community, meanwhile they nickle and dime the players, leeching off of them, and stunting the community's growth. The FGC is actually shrinking, and it's not the player's fault, but the people in control.
Its pennies for the PLAYERS, not for the tournament organizers. These guys make a KILLING. Lets say NEC venue fee is $30... and 1000 people show up. Thats $30,000. BigE gets the venue for FREE; if you tell a hotel that you will fill up 300 rooms, they give you the ballrooms for free. In addition, BigE hires his family as staff, so he keeps the revenue in house. Not to mention he doesn't pay any of the TOs that actually help run the brackets. And of course, there is the ever increasing number of sponsors that further fatten his pockets. Meanwhile the venue fees keep increasing year of year, even though it doesn't actually cost them anymore to run the event.
These guys may have started in it for the community, but its no longer about that. Now its a business; they run more and more tournaments throughout the year because it allows them to continually bleed the community dry. THIS is the reason why they are so adamant that eSports is bad for the FGC. It has nothing to do with "grass roots" or protecting the interests of the FGC, its about protecting THEIR interests, and their revenue stream. So they are actively fucking over the FGC's chances with big eSports leagues in order to protect their own businesses. MLG is far better than EVO, and doesn't fuck over the community, and the payouts are 5 times the size, and happen every 3 months...
But if MLG ever had a chance, it would sign the death of EVO because people would see how much better it was and abandon EVO.