This June, Tekken 7 will fight its way from Japanese arcades to worldwide consoles then onward to the esports arena. Publisher Bandai Namco Entertainment and Twitch have formed an exclusive partnership to create the Tekken World Tour—a six-month season with a total prize pool of over $200,000.
Twitch will be the exclusive broadcasting platform for this competitive gaming league while managing league operations, circuit events and content on a global scale. Tekken World Tour (literally) kicks things into gear June 16 – 18 at the CEO Fighting Game Championships, with additional US stops in Florida, Texas, California and more.
“We’ve been big fans of the Tekken series for years and collaborated with Bandai Namco on last year’s nationwide King of Iron Fist Tournament,” Twitch program manager Richard Thiher told AListDaily. “With Tekken 7 releasing this year officially for consoles, Bandai Namco wanted to see how they could take their community to the next level with an official esports circuit. Twitch has always been the home of fighting game esports, so it was a natural fit.”
Tekken World Tour has been announced during a time when players are already thinking about fighting games on a competitive level—Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment just announced the Injustice 2 Championship Series beginning May 26.
“Fighting games offer a tremendous amount of replayability, as they are built on the premise of competition,” Thiher explained. “Players invest hundreds, and in some cases, thousands of hours into honing their skills and mastering their characters. With the Tekken World Tour, we are able to provide a concrete structure to the grassroots tournament scene—and a clear path for players to aspire to. This will only help invigorate the existing Tekken community to train harder, as well as inspire new fans to join the scene. Whether you sign up for a tournament or tune in to the live broadcasts, the Tekken World Tour has something to offer for all esports fans to enjoy.”
Twitch is no stranger to esports partnerships, including a collaboration with Psyonix last year for the Rocket League Championship series. When it comes to esports, Thiher said that every game community is different.
“Tekken has a storied history of over 20 years and an incredibly passionate hardcore player base. With Tekken World Tour, we wanted to respect what the community had already built and create an official league that was authentic to what fans had experienced for years in the tournament scene,” he explained. “That is why we chose to partner with existing grassroots community tournaments and bring their events into the overarching structure of our tour. With Bandai Namco and Twitch working together on this circuit, we hope to grow the Tekken community for years to come!”
Twitch knows how much people love to watch game video content. An impressive 262 billion minutes of video were watched on Twitch last year across 2.2 million unique streamers. Meanwhile, game video content is on track to generate $4.6 billion in revenue in 2017 through advertising and direct spending, SuperData predicts, a level that would outpace revenue generated by sports.