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VGC law and disorder

I’ll keep this short and “stream of consciousness”-y so here’s an opening tl;dr:

VGC (Video Game Championship, the name Pokémon uses to describe competitive play) annoys me from an organisational perspective.

Pokémon’s competitive scene has lived in some form for over 25 years, since the days of Nintendo Cup in 1997 and the first World Championships in 2000. It’s not a new concept for The Pokémon Company or The Pokémon Company International and yet everything feels like it’s in beta with quality of life improvements only trickling through every so often. VGC should be way better than this. And it’s not the fault of the event staff; no, I’m laying blame on the top brass - The Pokémon Company.

I’m not lovin’ it

Now, a brief tangent: I saw a really good film a few years ago called The Founder about how McDonald’s became a multi-billion dollar enterprise. McDonald’s sells franchises to prospective owners and makes money of the real estate (in fact, most of their income comes from rent, royalties, and fees).

That’s how The Pokémon Company feels to me.

Worlds was a mess

The Pokémon Company International is a subsidary created by TPC to handle “brand management, licensing, marketing, the Pokémon Trading Card Game, the animated TV series, home entertainment, and the official Pokémon website”. It also manages VGC in every region except Asia. That’s because TPC handles Asia and I use “handle” very loosely. Staff and organisers have struggled with logistic, organisational, and equipment issues because the people and the hardware just isn’t there. Worlds in Japan was supposed to be a monumentous ocassion for all the right reasons but it was an incredible mess. People were regularly disconnected, there was a sudden death match (which is supposed to be rare), there was a lot of disqualifications due to genned/hacked Pokémon, the queues to even get in were hours long in unbearable heat, people didn’t get their competitor passes or free merch in time. And I’m saying all this as an outsider but the frustration from competitors was real.

Keeping up appearances

I don’t have any solutions. I’m not going to discuss the genning situation because it’s honestly boring, the arguments are circular and everyone just argues with false equivalences and faulty morals. It’s a game based on data where we reset until we get what we want, let’s not forget that. But given TPC’s experience and income, there’s no excuse for these issues if they really care about VGC as a competitive element of the business and brand. It’s meant to have a space in eSports and yet it feels like a little sibling trying to join in with their older sibling’s games with their mates. And I know TPC doesn’t make money off this and that is arguably the main reason why it feels so hands off. But it’s branded in a differing light. We get hype from the streams, cool graphics to announce new regulations, more active mentions of VGC in the game itself related to EVs and moves. Maybe it’s a free advertising space for them that volunteers, spectators, and competitors pay to keep up. But I digress.

My ramble is over and anyone who reads this will probably have opinions which I’m welcome to hear if you want to email me. If I’ve got any facts wrong, I’ll correct them. If we don’t agree on an opinion, that’s all good! Just don’t talk to me about genning. I literally don’t care anymore.

Update note: I got it all wrong about who handles what, so I’m very sorry. I’d say that TPCi handled the APAC region but it’s actually TPC. TPCi does pretty much all of the heavy lifting. It’s wild that they function so separately despite being one of the same thing.

My big shiny day
Pokémon that learn Trick Room and Tailwind