This wasn't a major event, but it was a tournament streamed yesterday by a pretty big name in the fighting game community, Team Spooky, and it's not the kind of closeup Killer Instinct was hoping for. The tournament lost its Internet connection and, well, this console couldn't continue.
This occurred in the winners final at yesterday's Defend the School tournament, held at Queens College in New York. Qualifying rounds for the Defend the North fighting game tournament, a pro eSports event, were also held there. The outage occurs around the 6:35 mark of the above video, and the DRM check is done after the match was finished, so the players were not booted mid-round.
Yes, this is how digital-only games work and not just for the Xbox One, when multiple accounts are on one console. What would most easily solve the problem in a competition setting, though, is if Killer Instinct was on a disc, which it is not.
So either the console has to be the unit that bought the game, or an account that bought the game must be signed in, to pass the ownership check if the Internet goes out. How all this is handled when Killer Instinct's basic game is free (you get one playable character) and the rest of its content can be bought a la carte is another wrinkle, too.
Whatever the case, "Huge DRM blowup in the middle of the match," Team Spooky wrote in the description of this video. "I really hope this never happens at majors."
It raises a legitimate question whether an event will want to bother with Killer Instinct if this kind of thing is on the table. We've reached out to Microsoft representatives to ask if they have any comment on this or advice for the fighting games community on how to keep faulty Internet from booting players out of a match. If they make any comment, we'll update it here.
Update: Microsoft didn't have anything specific to say with regard to Killer Instinct's use or viability in fighting game tournaments, restating that anyone can play a digital game (or other content) anywhere on Xbox One by signing in with that account. Which is well and good, but it more or less means tournaments that feature Killer Instinct will have to take extra steps to make sure the consoles running the game are the ones that bought it, in case the Internet connection drops out.