Bandai Namco is withdrawing support from all its remaining physical tournaments for the year. Affected events include the Tekken 7, Soulcalibur VI, and Dragon Ball FighterZ World Tours, which the company hosts annually.
The official announcement was posted on Bandai Namco’s official Twitter account.
Bandai Namco’s decision was reached amid concerns over health and safety, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc around the world.
The company clarified that while it has pulled its support, “individual tournament organizers may still choose to continue holding physical events.” Bandai Namco encouraged players and fans “to use their best judgment regarding their personal on-site participation.”
The fighting game community shouldn’t feel completely disappointed, however, because Bandai Namco is “finalizing online competition event solutions for the remainder of the year.”
The decision to pivot to online events follows the same path that Capcom and Evo have taken. Both are continuing their annual tournament circuits on the global virtual stage instead of live public events in an effort to protect players, fans, and tournament organizers.
With all major fighting games switching to an online format for the foreseeable future, the community is mainly concerned about how some titles have poor netcode systems in place. There is even an online petition for Bandai Namco to implement GGPO rollback netcode into Dragon Ball FighterZ, which has collected 3,700 signatures as of today.
GGPO netcode conceals network latency in fast-paced, twitch-style games that require precise inputs and frame-perfect execution. The rollback netcode system uses input prediction during online matches, and these inputs are sent to the game immediately, providing the illusion of a zero-latency network.
The FGC prefers the rollback netcode system compared to the network transmission system that online fighting games use today, because the latter adds a delay to player’s inputs to compensate for slow connections and often leads to a laggy online experience.