A new controller rule at EVO Japan 2023 could lead to immediate player disqualification.

Technical issues at fighting game tournaments is just as common as overwhelming body odor. However, a newfound change to a controller rule at this week's EVO Japan 2023 has the fighting game community discussing the rule's fairness in real-world application. Community luminary and veteran Ryan "fubarduck" Harvey wrote on Twitter early today about a PS4 controller rule that every participating player should keep in mind.

The rule in question--updated today on the EVO Japan official website-- states: "Only DUALSHOCK®4 wireless controllers for PlayStation®4 can be used. However, failure to deactivate the pairing immediately after the match will result in disqualification."

No warning, demerit, deranking, or lowering into the loser's bracket. Disqualification. Good day to you, Sir.

Controllers and EVO Japan 2023

Controller issues at tournaments in the era of wireless are no shock. The variety of sticks, hitboxes, and Sega Saturn controllers to be found at any given FGC event inevitably leads to issues--and rules for said issues. In the case of the Evolution Championship Series, much of this stems from the tournament's console of choice: The PlayStation 4 Pro.

Sony's purchase of the tournament series in 2021 led to the PS4 becoming the de-facto machine going forward. One problem: The PS4 is notorious for not wanting to let wireless controllers desync from the machine. Check any local tournament near you ran on a PS4 and you'll come across stories of rogue controllers reconnecting during someone else's match. Chaos ensues, and suddenly tournament organizers must deal with what happens when an outside source interrupts play.

This new and sudden rule for EVO Japan 2023 may have been put on paper just to provide the TOs an insurance policy on if, not when a controller issue occurs.

The community response to the rule is one of confusion. Shouldn't tournament organizers be responsible for removing all active hardware from Bluetooth? Why not make everyone connect via a hardwire of disqualification is the first warning? How is a Sony-affiliated tournament using Sony hardware seemingly punishing players for a quirk in its own machines?

Protect your neck

This also calls into question the decision to make players responsible for the actions of other players. However, this is clearly big enough of a problem that it needed a rule down on the books, made days out from the start of EVO Japan 2023. Harvey warns other players: Take care of yourself, and "drive defensively," so to speak. In other words: Don't risk a DQ just because of forgetfulness.

The rule seems isolated to the Japanese iteration of the event so far. Updated back in February, the North American version of EVO does not have this rule in place as of now. Will this change? It will depend entirely on how big of an issue it ends up being this weekend in Japan.

Stay tuned to esports.gg for more esports news and FGC notes.

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