Capcom has revealed the first details for the Capcom Pro Tour 2017 season of Street Fighter 5, stating that the prize pool is $600,000. 2016 saw the Capcom Pro Tour switch from Street Fighter 4 to Street Fighter 5, but also saw it expand significantly. This year will is less about expanding the event, instead prioritizing streamlining the complicated process of Capcom Cup qualifications while maintaining the worldwide reach of the event. Season 2 has begun, but who will come out on top?

50 tournaments are already planned for the 2017 tour, such as EVO 2017 and more, including the various regional finals, which are certain to be announced soon. For comparison’s sake, 2016 featured 72 different tournaments spread between March and the Capcom Cup in December. Fitting more events into that schedule might be difficult, but more is on the line this year. The season’s prize pool has been increased from $500,000 to $600,000, but it could increase if Capcom shares DLC revenue like the $90,000 earned for Capcom Cup 2016’s prize.

As to streamlining the Capcom Cup qualification process, which may prove a challenge for some players, Capcom is removing the Premiere Event tournament winner auto-qualification. Instead, 30 of the 32 Capcom Cup qualifiers will be those who acquire the most Capcom Pro Tour points. Premiere Events will still reward more points than smaller Ranking Events, and EVO 2017’s Street Fighter 5 tournament offers the most points of all. But the lesson should be clear: if you want to qualify, go to as many tournaments as you can.

Regional tournaments will once again return during the Capcom Pro Tour 2017. A problem with the existing qualification schedule is that any top contender can go to any number of international events, making it difficult for local players without travel expenses to qualify. The Regional Finals will only invite players based on points earned exclusively within that region, with a sole “last chance” qualifier being locked to those living within the region. Capcom wants these tournaments to be showcases for local players, rather than opportunities for top players from other regions.

One area where the Capcom Pro Tour 2017 will be expanding over 2016 is an increase in online Ranking Events. These online events maybe not be as viscerally exciting as seeing players go head to head battle in real life, but they do provide excellent opportunities for young talent who aren’t traveling yet to make their names known. Each region will be allowed four online Ranking Events. But be prepared, because Capcom is lifting the cap on registrations for these events. Expect each tournament to be hugely popular.

Street Fighter 5 New Characters

Finally, the news most pros have been waiting for, the Capcom Cup 2017 event itself is being reworked. The first day of Capcom Cup 2016 was called a bloodbath, with 24 of the 32 players exiting the tournament over an extremely long day, as NuckleDU became the world’s first Street Fighter 5 champion, beating out the likes of favorite Daigo “The Beast” Umehara. It was exhilarating for viewers, but harsh and somewhat unfair to players who’d worked so hard to get to that point. The new format will feature a group stage to start the tournament, ensuring players’ matches aren’t spread throughout the day and giving every player the opportunity to prove their worth against multiple opponents.

The Capcom Pro Tour 2017 for Street Fighter 5 kicks off once again with Final Round in Atlanta, Georgia, and Final Round 20 starts March 10. The full schedule for the tour is still being put together, but expect it to really kick into gear starting in April.

Street Fighter 5 is out now for PC and PlayStation 4.

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