Unknown company Avyd suddenly offers $100,000 in fighting game prizes

Something strange happened in the fighting game community recently. A new tournament was announced with a $100,000 prize pool on the line. “That doesn’t sound so weird,” you might be saying to yourself. Well, it’s not – at least not for dedicated tournament organizations or events held by game publishers.

But Avyd, the company that is hosting this new fighting game event, isn’t any of those. In fact, few people are sure exactly what it is. It popped up out of nowhere, suddenly and without warning, and other than their mission statement, this tournament announcement is all they have to offer on their webpage.

Well, that’s not entirely true. I suppose they also plaster their website with their motto: “For some, gaming is more than a fleeting moment of enjoyment. It’s an avid passion.” Ah…. I see what you did there.

Too Good to be True?

According to their mission statement, their goal is to, “Remove barriers of entry into eSpoirts for all gamers.” They will be launching a new “platform” in late spring that will supposedly make competing online easier and will simplify the tournament running process. They received a “significant round of seed funding” in early 2016, which is how they are funding these new ventures.

And it must be significant indeed, since $100,000 isn’t anything to scoff at. That’s a prize pool that rivals the biggest major international fighting game tournaments.

The tournament will be held in Orlando, Florida and was originally slated to feature Street Fighter V, Mortal Kombat X, Guilty Gear Xrd, Killer Instinct, Super Smash Bros Wii-U, and Super Smash Bros. Melee. Notice anything? It’s the same games being featured at EVO, minus Pokken, Tekken, and Marvel vs. Capcom 3. By Avyd’s own profession, they want to feature “the most popular fighting games” and “host the best players in those games.”

What’s gotten a lot of people to raise their eyebrows is the sheer amount of stuff that Avyd is promising. On top of the tournament itself, Avyd is also holding a Qualification Tour throughout 2016. They are offering the winners of other major tournaments, like Combo Breaker and CEO, free lodging and a VIP pass to their tournament in Florida. They also plan to hold online qualifiers to allow the greatest Internet fighting game stars to get the same perks. Anyone who qualifies this way will be part of the “closed top 8 bracket” at their tournament, with a maximum of six slots filled at the qualifiers and two determined at the tournament.

So, wait. Does that mean that anyone who joins the tournament normally has to essentially win a full tournament, just to get into the top 8 of the real tournament? That’s not the greatest deal.

Setbacks and Promises

In short, this sounds a bit too good to be true, and tiny cracks in Avyd’s plan are already showing. Just a few days after they announced their event, Avyd announced that they would be dropping Street Fighter V from their lineup. Since Street Fighter V is the biggest fighting game in the community right now, this comes as a huge blow to the new company.

They also had to remove Nor Cal Regionals from their qualifier list. This update came only a day before NCR started, which of course was a disappointment to many NCR participants. Avyd’s logo was plastered all over NCR’s streams and event space, as they were supposedly an official partner. It kind of feels like they lucked into free advertising.

Avyd seems to be aware that this looks bad for them. “As with any new company, we understand that we have to earn the trust and respect of not only the community, but also the publishers and developers who already work so hard to grow them,” Avyd’s official release states, “We will not back away from any of the skepticism that may arise and we look forward to the challenge.”

The sleuths at Shoryuken.com were able to dig into Avyd’s background. They are apparently owned by a company named Esports Global Holdings based out of Cheyenne, Wyoming. They also seem to be connected to a competitive Call of Duty organization that goes by the name Enigma 6. 

For now, it seems as though keeping an eye on Avyd is a good idea. Keep a healthy bit of skepticism about you, especially when paying to attend their events. Honestly, many investors have come and gone in the eSports community, and I’d be reaching if I said I thought this was a scam. But scam or poorly run startup, you’ll lose money either way if they go under.

We will bring you more updates on Avyd’s fighting game tournament as information becomes available.