The 2016 Pokémon World Championships kick off next week, but those hoping to watch the best trading card game and video game players worldwide compete aren’t invited. A post on the franchise’s website today confirmed that the general public will not be allowed into the venue this year, unlike Championships past.
"Due to limited venue capacity and overwhelming demand, the 2016 Pokémon World Championships will be closed to the general public in the interest of providing the best possible event experience to our qualified players and their families," the post reads. Instead, only invited participants and a single guest of their choosing will be able to enter the tournament hall.
Friends and fans might need to cancel their travel plans, stat
Each verified guest must wear a badge, and there are no promises that additional badges will be made available to competitors. With the World Championships set to run in San Francisco from Aug. 19-21, that means some players — and their friends — might need to change their travel plans ASAP. That’s already riled up some of the games’ community members, who have traveled far and wide to cheer on their favorite Pokémon players from countries like Japan, South Africa and Great Britain since the annual World Championships began in 2002.
Closing the event to spectators is a matter of fitting everyone in one room, according to the organizers’ post, not one of security. Fans may remember that last year, two World Championships competitors were arrested after attempting to bring weapons into the convention hall in Boston. They were ultimately sentenced to two years in jail earlier this summer.
Those who can no longer head out to watch games like Pokkén Tournament make their competitive debut can stream the various events online. Coverage runs throughout the entire weekend from 9 a.m. PT on Aug. 19 until Aug. 21 at 6 p.m.