During this last month, Play! Pokémon held the most important event of the year: the Pokémon World Championships. After two years of suspension due to the pandemic, the greatest Pokémon players from all over the world finally reunited in London to show their best strategies and aspire to become World Champion. As usual, in the last moments of the event, a new trailer of the upcoming games revealed more information about the competitive scene in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet. However, as soon as the main event ended, a new topic of discussion has been brought up on Twitter by the competitive Pokémon community: how expensive it is to enter an official competition.
For highly competitive players it doesn't matter that much, but I often wonder how we're supposed to motivate newer players to go to Regionals with the current entry fees (70$ @ Baltimore!). When I was younger and getting into the game that would have turned me away very quickly.
— Robin Schulz (@limitless_robin) August 29, 2022
The person who introduced the topic was the 2018 Pokémon TCG World Champion Robin Schulz via his Twitter account. He stated how demotivating it could be for newbie players to approach official tournaments when even a Regional Championship entry fee comes to cost $70 (USD). The tweet got a reply from the famous 2016 Pokémon VGC World Champion Wolfe Glick, who agreed with him and took the discussion even further.
— Wolfey (@WolfeyGlick) August 29, 2022
The VGC World Champion showed, in a series of tweets, how much the price to enter an official Pokémon tournament has increased over the years. Prior to 2016, the players could participate freely, but, during that year, a $40 (USD) fee was introduced and lately became even more expensive. For further reference, as documented in an older article, the entry fee for the 2018 Oceania Regional Championship cost the Masters players $60 (AUD), which is around $41 (USD) with the current exchange rate. Quoting his older tweet in 2016, Wolfe Glick stated that back then he was already disappointed he had to pay that much to take part in the competition, pointing out that the game itself costs less. A more detailed guide, written by the famous VGC player Aaron Traylor, takes a look at all the costs that should be taken into account when entering the Pokémon competitive circuit. As of now, looking at one of the main upcoming events, the Baltimore Pokémon Regional Championships demand an entry fee of $65 (USD) for TCG players and one of $55 (USD) for Pokémon GO players, a supposedly free-to-play game.
However, the main issue highlighted by both champions is how limiting this decision can be for the players wanting to join the competition for the first time and for the ones planning to participate in all the main events of the year. Regarding this, Wolfe Glick stated that the Pokémon competitive circuit has become “pay to win”, estimating that competitive players have to attend around 20 events of the season to access the Day 2 bracket in the Pokémon World Championships. Lastly, he also pointed out that The Pokémon Company International provided no information about why the entry fee has become more expensive and about what the money is used for.
Looking at the trend, there is indeed a possibility that the price will keep increasing over the years. Would that really be enough to make older and newer players desist from participating in official competitions? Do you find it right to pay that much for entering a tournament?
Edited by Arcaneum and Bobandbill.