The life of a pro Tekken player (or any FGC player, for that matter) can have its challenges at times. While other video game genres are entering into the era of eSports, fighting games have yet to fully enter that space. This is especially true with Tekken, and this is mainly due to not yet having a fresh new game in hand to build a platform upon. The stale taste of Tekken Tag Tournament 2 is still with us (“us” being any country outside of Asia), and hopefully with the release of Tekken 7: Fated Retribution on consoles (and hopefully PC) this will drastically change.
One player who is feeling the pains of this challenge is Jose Ismael Uzcátegui, a South American Tekken player from Venezuela. He’s better known as El Negro in the FGC. Yesterday he created a Facebook page and made a heartfelt post that told of his current living situation in South America, and the struggles he has faced as a Tekken player.
Here’s what he said. English is not his native language, so pardon any grammatical errors.
Hello my name is Jose Ismael Uzcátegui, the name I go by in the gaming community is the black piripicho. I’ve participated in international tournaments since 2010 and I did very well. The followers of the game enjoy my battles since I’ve had the good fortune to make it to the finals in the majority of tournaments I’ve participated in. I want to continue to participate in tournaments but the problem with traveling to different tournaments is that it’s very difficult as my country’s situation is very impoverished and though I have a job I only make $10 USD a month. I would have to work 2 years to buy a ticket to play in another country. The struggle is huge, I don’t have ps3 so I can’t practice, my job doesn’t bring in enough income to provide an adequate amount. I am hoping to raise enough money to move out of Venezuela and make a better life for me.. I love helping the FGC and if you like my page or contact me I can share my knowledge about the game. I play a lot of tekken , friends or rivals I enjoy good battles… . That’s why I would like to ask you for your consideration if you can help me as I would like to continue to participate in the tournaments and give the best battles.
$10 USD a month? That says it all.
If you have ever seen El Negro play, then you know that he is top tier. He recently had took 2nd place in TTT2 against Speedkicks at Final Round 19, which will definitely turn out to be a classic match. And if you remember, at Final Round 17 he sent JDCR into losers and faced him for an epic battle in the grand finals.
TTT2 Top 8 | JDCR vs El Negro – Final Round 17
El Negro is always smiling, so you wouldn’t necessarily know how much he sacrifices to make the trips to America and abroad just to compete in Tekken. Now knowing his backstory, it is understandable why he plays with such passion and skill. He has a lot on the line. He is not making these trips simply to rub shoulders, give high-fives and chop it up with online buddies. No. He is trying to win at all costs. Why? Because winning means you take home the prize money. And when you’ve sacrificed so much and lose, that can hurt (which makes me think of Ao from Japan, who has had this happen on multiple occassions).
The eSports Factor
This is one reason we need Tekken 7 to strongly enter into eSports. Can this happen without the assistance of Bandai Namco? I don’t know. We would love for our Tekken community to become more than just family reunions and social gatherings, and enter into a real scene of fighting game entertainment. Yes, with all the bells, whistles, and flashing lights. Why do I say all of this? Because without it, nothing much will change for El Negro and others like him as pro Tekken players. They won’t be able to make a living off Tekken like some do with other games – and yes, even other fighting games.
With eSports would come many benefits for Tekken players. The main benefit would be team sponsorship and endorsement deals. Many Street Fighter players have sponsorship from RedBull, MadCatz, Capcom and more. So this is not out of the realm of possibility. The infrastructure and platform on which Tekken currently exists would have to change though. The leaders in the Tekken community would also have to start growing up and begin thinking like entrepreneurs and professionals. Right now, everything is pretty much random with very little commitment and responsibility. If the Tekken scene wants support from the “suits” with money, then they will have to begin looking more attractive. That means we hold one another accountable.
It’s Not Only Tekken
El Negro isn’t the first to ask or need assistance to travel to a tournament outside of his home country. Most recently Martin “Marn” Phan – a Street Fighter player from Vietnam who is arguably the best R.Mika player on the planet – had not been financially able to compete in any tournaments in well over a year. But one of his stream viewers fit the bill and flew him out to Sacramento, California last month for NorCal Regionals. His performance there was so impressive that the Internet went abuzz with stories about his gameplay and his many comical antics. ESPN even felt it necessary to make a video called Street Fighter V NorCal Regionals – The many faces of Marn.
Give Your Support
El Negro would like your help, if possible. He made another post stating that if you’d like to donate to his Tekken career, you can do so by sending my to him via PayPal. His PayPal email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tekken needs that eSports crown, because that crown translates into money for everyone seriously involved. I’ve delved a bit into it just now, but there are many other factors to explore as well, but I’ll save that for another day. Right now it’s all about El Negro.
So, what are your thoughts on Tekken becoming an eSport? Can it happen? Sound off in the comments.