In 2012, the Game Center partnered with Evo, the largest fighting game tournament in the world, to offer the Evo Scholarship, a community-funded game design scholarship to NYU. This successful initiative has already given two students, Tony Kao and Christian Sutton, the opportunity to channel their passion for competitive games through an education at NYU. Just prior to the application deadline for the Fall 2016 class, we received an unexpected email from Daigo “The Beast” Umehara, explaining why he will be contributing the entirety of his $60,000 winnings from the recent Capcom Pro Tour in support of the Evo Scholarship.

“I would like to donate all my prize winnings from the Capcom Pro Tour Finals to the community. It’s simply because I would not have existed without community and I owe you. My “professional” gamer life has given me such invaluable experiences. I get to give all myself to fight against top players around the world and meet and engage with fans across the globe. I can express myself through my gameplay to the audience, the community. Just as you need an opponent in fighting game, the community is equally important to me.

My pro-gaming life started with Street Fighter IV. The Capcom Pro Tour finals were to conclude one chapter of my life. I worked hard everyday. I grew a lot. I had so much fun in the process over the year. I felt fulfilled. Being content, I came to the finals. I was thinking that if I had had won any prizes, I would want to give it back to the community, which has supported me all these times. Not only was I able to win the prize, I was able to play my game and express myself. I had great matches, and I had a great fun.

I sincerely hope the money I donate will help the community thrive further. The stronger the community grows, the further my career expands, doesn’t it? That is not so bad. At least, it would be a much wiser and prudent investment than an Ume-Shoryu?!

I cannot express my gratitude to the community. But I would like to say that I’m looking forward to seeing you next year again. Hope you all have happy holidays.”

– Daigo Umehara

This generous donation demonstrates Daigo’s spirit. It indicates that the qualities that make him such a great competitor extend far beyond the game. His donation also demonstrates the capacity that competitive games have to bring out the best in people. Even though these are games of intense competition and stylized conflict, they create a community that cab demonstrate the very best qualities of character.

This complicated richness of competitive games is one reason why the NYU Game Center is so proud to be a part of the community, and also why we feel the scholarship is so important. On an individual level, the goal of the scholarship is to help members of the fighting games community channel their passion and mastery into avenues beyond just becoming a professional player. On a communal level, we believe the Evo Scholarship will foster the long-term health of competitive games as a whole. By enabling individuals from within the community to be leading the charge, competitive games will continue to evolve and become an even richer field of games.

The Evo scholarship is available to anyone wishing to study game design at the Master’s or Bachelor’s level at New York University. The Evo scholarship will be awarded for a third time in 2016. Recognizing that Daigo’s donation now makes school a possibility for many more people, applications to join the fall 2016 class have been extended to January 15th. For more information about the Evo Scholarship, visit here. We’re also happy to answer any questions via e-mail at: