Smash Pro Plans To Donate Some Of His Evo Winnings To Lesser-Paid Players

Illustration for article titled iSmash /iPro Plans To Donate Some Of His Evo Winnings To Lesser-Paid Playersem/em
Photo: Robert Paul/Evo

Yesterday, William “Leffen” Hjelte won Super Smash Bros Melee gold at Evo, fighting games’ biggest stage, but now he’s cementing himself as one of the greats. Leffen announced that he will donate a portion of his prize money to lower-placing players, who took home pennies by comparison.


Leffen explained his rationale on Twitter. “I will personally be giving part of my prize money to the 5/7th place,” he wrote. “7th got around $130. The fact that I won does not change that the way FGC does prize split is not something I will ever agree with.”

Here’s how Evo divvies up its punch-born purses: winners get about 60 percent of the pool, while second place gets 20. The remaining 20 percent is split between the other six players who fell just short of gold, glory, and temporary dominion over scenic Final Destination. This year, the Melee prize pool did not exactly tip the scales at just $13,500. So while Leffen made around $8,000, lower-placing players—despite battling their way through a tournament of 1,000 players to make it to the big stage—made chump change.


“Right now, the top top players get wayyyy more money-wise than anyone else, in both sponsors and prize money, and I’ve always hated that so few can play full-time because of this,” Leffen said. “Melee has given me so much, so its only fair I give back.”

Leffen also noted that if players refuse the money, he’ll donate the money to charity instead. “What can I say,” he said, “Lebron inspired me.” 

Kotaku senior reporter. Beats: Twitch, streaming, PC gaming. Writing a book about streamers tentatively titled "STREAMERS" to be published by Atria/Simon & Schuster in the future.

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I’m not really hip to competitive Smash, but isn’t this dude a big Heel in the sport? Is that just an act? Because this might be the first truly good story I’ve seen come out of eSports.