A poor experience with Street Fighter V’s online multiplayer during a recent Capcom Cup qualifier sent one top player on a childish tirade against both the organisers and the player who beat him. Capcom announced today that he will have to start the next tournament in the losers bracket.
Victor “Punk” Woodley is one of the best Street Fighter V players in the world, but even he can’t fight against the game’s terrible online functionality. After losing to fellow high-level competitor Alex Myers in a Capcom Pro Tour event over the weekend, Woodley aimed his frustration at the people behind the scenes, furiously typing, “Fuck literally everyone running this shit,” in the tournament Discord after not being allowed to replay the match. As Woodley was on Twitch at the time, everything was caught on stream.
Woodley’s anger soon spilled over to Twitter, where he called Myers a “bitch” twice in tweets that have since been deleted despite Myers’ apology for the poor connection. Woodley claimed that Myers lagged against everyone he played in the event and went as far to say Myers should have been “honorable” and disqualified himself. Woodley closed his Twitter account for a short time before eventually returning and apologizing to everyone involved.
That wasn’t enough to save him from punishment, however. In an official statement, Capcom has explained that Woodley will enter the next tournament in the losers bracket for what it’s calling “unsportsmanlike conduct.” The statement also mentions that while the organisers had considered an outright ban, that felt like too heavy of a punishment with only one more chance for Woodley to qualify in this year’s diminished lead-up to Capcom Cup. Woodley’s sponsor, Panda Global, has decided to forgo any additional punishment in lieu of Capcom’s decision.
While seemingly fair, this announcement has generated its own controversy. Some, like competitor Brian “Brian_F” Foster, believe that Woodley starting in the losers bracket will ruin the integrity of the upcoming qualifier by allowing a lower-seeded player to get a free win in the upper bracket and making life even harder for those who lose a match with such a strong player waiting for them in the lower bracket. Others have pointed out the inconsistencies in Capcom’s punishments, as Woodley is suffering much harsher consequences than players who previously threatened physical violence against fellow members of the fighting game community.
Although the game has improved since its 2016 launch, Street Fighter V continues to suffer when it comes to netcode, or the underlying mechanics of its online play. Several attempts have been made by both Capcom and third-party developers to fix the online experience, but these problems have only been compounded as official competition has moved online thanks to the covid-19 pandemic.
Woodley’s irritation with Street Fighter V was understandable, even if his subsequent reaction was a bit overboard for the situation. It’s clear there are a lot of things Capcom needs to improve, both in terms of development and how it handles player misconduct as it continues to heavily involve itself in grassroots competition.