I expected a slow Yugioh news week; but wow: what the hell did I wake up into?
Konami (finally) announces YCS Toronto
As many players speculated, there is an American YCS at the same time of YCS Brussels (take note that the last named has been announced for a few months now). The next North-American YCS takes place in Toronto. YCS Toronto takes place at August 31 and September 1... in Canada obviously. But seriously, is Toronto the only place Konami knows of in Canada? Isn't this the fourth year in a row that the Canadian YCS takes place in Toronto? I'm sure Montréal or Vancouver would love one as well :-P.
All jokes aside, there's a lot of commotion going on. The speculation was going on for a while now, since the venue place has listed the YCS for a few months now on its site, while Konami only confirmed this news on its site... last weekend. And only the date and venue location. No further details are posted, safe a "come back soon for more info" message.
New all-time low level of communication from Konami
Many players are frustrated with this horribly low level of communication and honestly, I can well understand them.
For people not checking the websites of venue place, this is a horribly late announcement to make any kind of travel arrangement. If you know this info months in advance, you can go on the lookout for the cheaper hotels and try not to pay too much for plane tickets and so forth. When everything has to be arranged in less than a month, you're going to be paying a lot more. This situation is turning off a lot of people who intended to go there (especially those tight on budget). Not to mention, for the working people, not everyone is going to get a few days off that easily to go to the event.
Another frustration is how Konami is going to handle this event. August 31 is "old format", while September 1 is "New format". Is it going to be the last YCS of the old format, or the first YCS in the new format? They don't even know if it's a battle pack YCS (like Brussels) or an advanced tournament YCS (the usual ones).
Note: For what that last part is worth, Julia Hedberg (the Judge head mistress of America) unofficially said (on the judge facebook page) that it's an advanced tournament. Again, unofficial and via a source which only a limited few people have access to.
Boycot of YCS Toronto - #OccupyYGO
One of those horribly frustrated people (no disrespect) is Joe Giorlando (an ARG writer). He blew back wind into #OccupyYGO (originally a parody of the occupy movement). He's disgusted by the way Konami treats everyone in regards to this long-planned event. He requests that we all stand up as a community and say "NO" to this treatment. He requests that we all stay away from YCS Toronto, ensuring the attendance of this event drops below 100 people. That is the only signal Konami will understand.
And I personally agree with that point of view. Each time player bases are annoyed by the way Konami treats their customers (secret rare prices, quick reprints, low tournament prices, etc), the product sales and YCS attendances reaches new high records. Konami sees the attendance and sees no reason why they should change their policies. It's like for every player that drops the game out of disgust, two new players pick up the game. And while I am happy that more people play the game, it's sad to see this many good players leave this way as well.
The things that the OccupyYGO movement wants (as copied from their website):
- Better coverage for events (European coverage is already amazing, but I agree the US variant just can't compare).
- Real rankings that reward good players (or the seeding system the OCG uses).
- Cash prices (okay, I don't agree with this one personally, but I do agree the rewards should be better than a mat, a few sleeves and a handful of packs).
- Better feature matches (not just the coverage, but also the people playing it. Nobody likes a feature match of two nobodies that make constant misplays. I notice there's a slight improvement on this one, but I guess the main frustration remains).
- New tournaments (and preferably some decent rules for Tag dueling, like the OCG has).
- New styles of championships, similar to MTG-tournaments (A world cup, a players championship, etc)
Edit September 4: All info on #occupyYGO has been removed. The site of Joe has been taken down, similar to his video and the facebook group. I removed all references and the image used, because they were dead ends.
ARG breaks up with Konami
For those that don't know ARG, Alter Reality Games (ARG) is a company that sells cards (packs/single cards/etc), is the main vendor of US-events of Yu-Gi-Oh and hosts many articles from top players on their site (some who are obviously better players than writers, but hey).
No matter how many times bloggers and youtubers have dissed ARG and their (often) poorly written articles, this time they took one for the team.
ARG tried to introduce new types of tournaments (similar to MTG tournaments) into Yu-Gi-Oh, even providing their support to make this possible. For reference, MTG has the best support in terms of tournaments, price support and coverage worldwide. If ARG could make this happen (even if only for the US), this would be an immense improvement for the players.
But frustratingly, Konami is a company whose main seat rests in japan. Japanese management, work ethics and points of view (company / investment wise) are 100% different when compared to those of American. And the US division is only a branch, which MUST listen to the main seat in Japan (when compared to Wizards of the Coast, whose top management is American). Even if the most known Konami honcho's are Tewart and Hedberg, a recent interview at San-Diego Comic-Con revealed that the top managers of the US branch are Japanese.
My point? While ARG might have been able to convince the US department of Konami of their good intentions, they clashed with the main seat in Japan. Due to their ongoing differences (probably not their first clash), ARG resigned its vendor partnership with Konami.
Consequences of this break-up
What is this going to mean for ARG's support of Yu-Gi-Oh? I honestly have no idea, but probably nothing good. Worst case is that the ARG writers have to resign from their writing "job" and that ARG will be forced to stop selling Yu-Gi-Oh cards/boosters. They will no longer be the main seller at events and god knows who they're going to be replaced with.
Just to give you an idea of the consequences: I don't think we're going to see another scene where in ARG's Billy Brake gives his deck to Pegasus for dueling, like what happened at this year's US nationals.
For Joe himself, this also means nothing good. As a paid freelance writer for ARG, this now seems as a vengeance action; even if his intentions are genuine (call this a case of bad timing). He truly expresses that his actions are his alone and have nothing to do with ARG as a company. And for what it's worth: I believe him.
I support Joe and hope his actions will mean something. Sometimes one person can make a big difference.
To give a comparison, in Europe, event coverage has been amazing for the past few years (thanks to PJ Tierney) and general Yu-Gi-Oh related communications in Europe has improved a lot ever since Konami hired PJ as an official Konami employee instead of just a freelance writer (seriously, PJ rocks!). I think many Europeans can agree that this has been the best move Konami made in the past year.
For the rest, I'll keep following this situation and I will report on what will happen.
Note: Credits goes to those who deserve it. The occupyYGO logo comes from its facebook group; credits for the meme go to Amanda LaPalme.