Yusuke Momochi, better known as VICTRIX| Momochi, had won the Asia Premier Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition tournament. As most people in the Fighting Game Community (or FGC) would herald this as a major success and a time for celebration. After all, winning a tournament often brings recognition, as well a big pot of prize money. Momochi walked away with 1,000 Capcom points and 50,000,000 Yen, which is $46,365 in USD. 

That’s unfortunately not the case. Instead, Momochi only received a fraction of the prize money. How much, you may be wondering? A measly 60,200 Yen, which translates to $558 USD. The reason? He does not have a Japanese Pro-Gaming License.

In Japan, they have pretty strict gambling laws. And, to many people’s confusion, entering a tournament that has an entrance fee as well as a prize pool is considered gambling in Japan. To combat this, there was a pro license system was put in place that allowed competitors to play and earn their winnings. 

Though, Momochi has made it very clear that he was against this idea of defining what it means to be a “pro gamer.” 

Momochi has stated that he wasn’t against the idea of the license, in a translated article by Juniya. But, he wasn’t for it either. He claimed it wasn’t fair to players and communities, as “… to ignore the people who one-by-one built up the value of a ‘pro-gamer’ in Japan, decide on the ‘License System’ in some unknown conference room, then come out and arbitrarily make an announcement to the community and players… I feel like this way of doing things is in no way sincere, and it is difficult to feel any sort of affection for games or the people involved.”  

It’s clear that Momochi willingly went into the tournament without a license on purpose. However, that purpose is bigger than most people realize. It’s to start a conversation about what it means to be a professional gamer. 

Communities far and wide have players whom are strong and popular, yet have seen very little play because of their lack of licensing. The fact that those players need a license to declare themselves a pro player rather than their skill says volume about the priorities set by Japan and their outlook on the FGC.

Momochi does this to bring both parties together. And he has a really nice quote to end on that’s worthy to share in that same article, translated by Juniya: Therefore, I am hoping that both parties can meet halfway, and together we can create a brighter future.”