Capcom provides update on new Street Fighter V Community License following backlash

The grassroots community was not having Capcom's bold Community License Agreement.

Image via Capcom

Yesterday, Capcom released a new “Community License Agreement” for tournament organizers planning to run events that include Street Fighter V: Champion Edition in their lineups. And, after some substantial backlash from the community, Capcom has provided an update to clarify why this agreement was created.

In the agreement, Capcom is essentially forcing TOs of all sizes to obtain a license to host the game, would limit event prize pools and revenue from sponsors, keep TOs from charing spectator fees, and much more. 

This would even give Capcom the “non-exclusive, irrevocable, royalty-free license” rights to use and distribute any and all stream footage, photos, or videos from events. And, without the agreement, Capcom warns TOs to “NOT USE THE STREET FIGHTER V SERIES (THE “GAME”) FOR ORGANIZING OR HOSTING A TOURNAMENT.”

Obviously, the largely grassroots fighting game community (FGC) was not pleased with many elements of this agreement and vocally let Capcom know that, prompting a response from the company

According to Capcom, this was an effort from the company to make tournament approval processes faster, build tighter relations with TOs, and encourage safe spaces to play SFV through enforcing a uniform code of conduct. However, the former doesn’t really line up with many of the intricate details, including limitations for community revenue and other classification problems. 

As digital entertainment attorney and active FGC figurehead David “UltraDavid” Graham said in a breakdown of the agreement, Capcom is within its rights to do this, but there are some serious issues, specifically in the “amount of money Capcom has designated as separating community events from esports events.”

For reference, under this agreement, Capcom limits individual events to a prize pool smaller than $2,000 and sponsorship revenue less than $5,000, along with limiting TOs to total prize pools less than $10,000 sponsorship of revenue less than $20,000 over a 12-month-period. Essentially, unless the bigger TOs and even some popular smaller events get a license, they wouldn’t be able to operate.

For events under the “esports license,” no information is available, but it would likely involve multiple licensing fees and payments to Capcom for use of the game. These can vary in size, with UltraDavid noting that they aren’t always present but can also reach the six-figure range on occasion. 

“If Capcom does require bigger events to pay licensing fees, my fervent hope is that it won’t price those fees high enough to cause issues for TOs,” UltraDavid said. “If they do, the most obvious out for TOs is to simply decide not to run SFV at their events, which would suck for the players who don’t get to play, the viewers who don’t get to watch, the TOs who don’t get the venue fees of players who would have attended for SFV, and even Capcom itself who will have shot itself in the foot and caused a wholly unnecessary rupture in the scene.”

He goes on to say what many in the FGC have echoed in regard to this announcement: TOs can likely survive without Street Fighter, but the Street Fighter scene likely couldn’t survive without the TOs. 

In the update, Capcom thanked everyone that submitted feedback. The company is now in the process of reviewing it with the “wider Capcom team.”

Further updates will be provided soon, but it seems like the Street Fighter V backlash may have pushed them to rethink at least a portion of this approach.