Videogame tournaments in the U.S. — outdated?

Not videogame tournaments in general, but the tournament brackets that they are based on.  Don't get me wrong — I don't have any beef with them, I just feel that as the tourney scene grows large thanks to the influx of new players, having a payout for top three placers in a field of a thousand contestants seems a bit prehistoric.

Granted, the money payout is enviable.  Everyone wants a chunk of that pot, right?  But what worries me is that in order to insure a healthy and viable tournament scene, it would make sense to allow the winnings to trickle down from top three, to something around top eight (or top ten players).

Also, while there will always be a place for double-elimination style tournaments, I'm beginning to like the Swiss system for tournaments.  It seems more fun and engaging then their double-elim counterparts.

How does it work?

Quite simple, really.  Ever been in a chess tournament?  It basically runs similar to that — players will always be matched up with other similarly ranked players, and even if you lose two matches you can still continue playing on. 

Say you win one game, but then lose one.  In a Swiss styled tournament, you'd only play against people who also have one win and one loss.  That helps even the playing field, ensuring each and every player fights someone on a (roughly) equal skill level as yourself.  In the end, winners are determing by how many wins they've gained overall, and prizes and payouts can be awarded evenly.

I prefer this system because of the fact that if you go two losses in any double elimination setting, you're basically done.  There's no reason to stick around anymore!  But in a Swiss-style tournament, you can continue playing beyond just two games, making it more fun and engaging.  Helps the venue out too, especially if you have food and drink available (which helps the Tournament Director and Organizers make more successive runs).

The next time we run a local event here, I'm going to try to push for a Swiss-style tournament.  That's a guarantee.

For more information on Swiss-style tournaments, refer to the wiki article here.

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