The winner of this year’s Capcom Cup, the culmination of the year-long Capcom Pro Tour, was decided over the weekend, and that still wasn’t the biggest news to come from the annual event.
Sixteen players gathered together in San Francisco, Calif. to take part in Capcom’s official year-end tournament for Street Fighter 4. Those competitors hailed from nations across the world, including the United States, Singapore, France and Korea. But ultimately it was a man from Japan who would top the field.
Evil Genius’ Yusuke Momochi was declared champion after emerging from the lower bracket of the double elimination tournament to twice defeat Ho Kun Xian in the grand final.
In an event featuring a generous variety in character choices from such top players as Ryan Hart, Lee “Infiltration” Sun Woo, and even Xian, it was Momochi’s Ken who emerged victorious.
Momochi’s upper bracket loss came to Hart, and it was no surprise. This gathering of players, who made it to the tournament by earning points in sanctioned Capcom Pro Tour events was as stacked as any in the history of fighting game competitions.
Big names such as Justin Wong, Diago Umehara and Takahashi “Bonchan” Masato were all eliminated early. But with the competition as fierce as it was in San Francisco, there were no true upsets.
Outside of Japan’s Momochi and top American player Eduardo “PR Balrog” Perez, players from Japan and the United States, generally the strongest countries in Street Fighter competitions, struggled to make their mark.
Still, the biggest news of the day came after the tournament had been completed. Street Fighter developer and famed producer for Capcom Yoshinori Ono took the stage that next year’s Capcom Pro Tour would feature an overall prize pool of at least $500,000.
This represents an infusion of money that other popular competitive genres, from first-person shooters to real-time strategy games, have seen for some time. But it’s a first for fighting games.
The big prize pool is a result of Capcom’s new partnership with Sony, the same deal that has controversially made Street Fighter 5 exclusive to the PlayStation 4 on consoles.
Perez took to Twitter shortly shortly after he had been eliminated from competition.
Whoooaaaaa I did not expect that amount. Training begins again holy shit.
— Ed (@PR_Balrog) December 14, 2014
His sentiment is likely shared among his opponents at this event and every other stop on the Capcom Pro Tour. With Capcom and Sony working together, next year may be the biggest yet for fighting game fans and players.