Street Fighter 5 pro Yusuke Momochi won the Tokyo Game Show 2019 Capcom Pro Tour Asia Premier tournament, a competition that apparently advertised $46,365 USD to first - and took home just under $600 USD instead, thanks to Japanese law that Momochi has made a career of fighting against. Street Fighter 5's biggest tournament series is the Capcom Pro Tour, which hosts events across the globe in order to crown champions and qualify players for the Capcom Cup, which takes place at the end of the year for $250,000 in prizes.
Momochi will almost certainly be attending the Capcom Pro Tour, as he's one of the best players in Japan and sits at a comfortable fifth place in the points standings as of this writing - 26 players get in on point totals. He's also a player who has become famous in Japan for his refusal to participate in the country's Japanese Pro-Gaming license system, something that has made him a controversial figure. Japan has extremely strict gambling laws, and receiving prize money from a fighting game tournament with an entry fee constitutes gambling in the country. Because of that designation, pro gamers are required to get a license to collect on their winnings - something that Momochi has been against for years now.
That's definitely come back to hurt him now, as the Street Fighter 5 pro took down the TGS 2019 Capcom Pro Tour Asia Premier for what was reportedly anything between $20,000-45,000 USD, depending on the source discussing the tournament's structure. Either way, those are significant sums of money that Momochi simply won't see - instead, he took home a paltry $558 USD for his accomplishment. Without a Japanese Pro-Gaming License, the maximum a player can earn is $925, and since part of the prize was a monitor from one of the event's sponsors, its value was subtracted before he got his final total. Here's Japanese FGC member Jiyuna breaking the news on Momochi's situation via Twitter:
Momochi just announced on his stream that he was contacted and told he will only be receiving 60,200 Yen ($558) for winning the #CPT2019 Super Premier #TGS2019 😨 The advertised prize was 50,000,000 Yen ($46,365)— J I Y U N A (@jiyunaJP) September 16, 2019
Hopefully something is done about this. pic.twitter.com/xhHVyAsM4H
It's not just Momochi who was affected, though his situation is certainly the most visible. According to Jiyuna, a middle school student surprised the world and won the Puzzle and Dragons tournament at TGS 2019, defeating pros from Japan in the process. That tournament's advertised prize was $46,365 - he took home $0 instead. Still, it's difficult to figure out what can be done here - it's Japanese law, and, at least in Momochi's case, he willingly abstained from getting a Japanese Pro-Gamer license. At the very least, he's proving a bigger point than ever and his situation is getting a lot of coverage, which could spur a discussion about removing the antiquated requirement.
Right now, though, it's one of the saddest esports victory stories ever. Momochi is an esports pro, which means he trains hours every day to be able to compete at tournaments and entertain fans. That he was able to win such a big tournament and laws he has publicly stated deceives players prevented him from getting the prizing he deserved is a sour note, but the Street Fighter 5 pro may have kickstarted a discussion that could reshape Japanese pro gaming - hopefully it was worth the $45,000 and change it took to spotlight the issue.
Source: J I Y U N A/Twitter