NCR Post Mortem
First of all, I would like to thank all the wonderful staff, sponsors, players, and everyone that attended or tuned in to NCR. The event was a huge success in terms of numbers and growth and I want to extend a personal thank you to all the people that come together year after year to share passion for the scene.
We have seen our fair share of hiccups along the way as the event gets bigger and goes through growing pains and this year was no exception.
NCR is organized by several individuals; the primary two being myself and Terry aka Kineda. Our roles are divided as he manages the entire online process, while I manage the back-end production including systems and staffing. We both share responsibility in many other facets of the tournament, but the below two decisions were specifically mine and not his. I want to make this clear as many people see Terry as the face of NCR, and are quick to point the finger at him for the decisions made, when this is not the case.
1. Smug and others being allowed to join a Saturday pool.
NCR has traditionally run half the pools on Friday and half on Saturday for SFIV singles. Over the years due to work, school, or other obligations, many players are unable to attend on Friday, and often request to be entered into a Saturday pool. Vice versa, some request a Friday pool if they have obligations that prohibit them from attending on Saturday. We try our best to accommodate as many people as possible given that we have enough notice to do so.
In addition, we also offer last minute on-site registration on Friday morning for people that are unable to plan their schedule ahead of time. To accommodate on-site registrations, we create “bye” slots in every SFIV tournament pool after online registration closes. These “bye” slots are then filled by players who register on-site, avoiding the need to shift any of the players in the brackets who have pre-registered online.
Friday morning around 10AM while on-site registration was open, I was made aware via Twitter of Smug's intent to join the NCR tournament. Since he is flying in from east coast, he requested to be placed into a Saturday pool, which I agreed to since he wouldn’t be able to attend the tournament on Friday. This is no different than an unknown player walking into the venue on Friday morning and requesting a Saturday pool, because he/she needed to work on Friday afternoon or evening.
Any player was able to register up to two hours before the start of the SFIV tournament which began at 4PM. Since Smug notified me many hours prior to the deadline, adding him into the Saturday tournament bracket was not an issue. In no way did Smug ever 'bypass' a round of the tournament or be allowed to choose the pool he played in. He was placed into a “bye” spot, just like any other player who registered on-site. Smug also did not pay extra for this request, he paid the same on-site fee as any other player.
This has been normal practice, and I confirmed with a Capcom representative that no rules were broken. We want to make NCR an enjoyable experience for everyone and try to accommodate all players, but realize this process may cause confusion and as a result, it will be re-evaluated next year.
2. The wrong version being used for 4 matches of USFIV finals.
On stage throughout the weekend, we used one system that had USFIV version 1.04. During a match of Smash finals on Sunday, the player that owned the system needed to leave and took the system home. Typically, I would load up the replacement system, but since Smash finals was still taking place, I grabbed another system that I knew had 1.04 and left it by the stage and went on to attend other matters. I personally checked every system prior to the start of NCR to ensure that all updates have been properly made.
Note that USFIV can be acquired in a variety of ways. This replacement console was digitally upgraded to 1.04, which keeps the update on the internal hard drive. When a user puts in a game disc however, the Xbox reads the data off the disc rather than looking through the hard drive. When the Smash finals concluded, the team on stage swapped out to the Xbox I dropped off and put in an USFIV disc which made the Xbox default to original disc version 1.00, instead of 1.04 from the hard drive.
Unfortunately this was not noticed by our team nor the players that played the 4 matches on it. Soon as this was discovered, a discussion took place with a Capcom representative since this game is sanctioned by the rules of the Capcom Pro Tour. The rep made a decision that those 4 matches cannot count and must be replayed on the proper version being used throughout the entire tour. It was a difficult decision by the Capcom team, but I agree with it completely.
It is the tournament organizer's duty to ensure the proper version is being used and I take full responsibility for this mistake. I dropped off the system knowing it had 1.04, but should have verified 1.04 was properly loaded up. This was a very difficult lesson learned and I encourage all other organizers to learn from my devastating mistake and to always check the version that is loaded up, even if you know the system has the latest version. I am truly sorry for this mistake as it has impacted the integrity of NCR and the tour.
8 players were deeply affected from this. The mental and emotional pressure of having to replay the matches again was completely unfair to them. One player specifically affected by this mistake was Kazunoko, as the result of his match was changed. As an apology, I would like to personally offer him a paid trip to SCR or another US premier event. I know this does not rectify the mistake, but it would give him the opportunity he deserves at another premier event.