Japanese esports champions this weekend will walk away with... crabs

In lieu of cash prizes, Toyama Gamers Day is doling out red snow crabs.

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On October 24, an esports competition will take place in the Toyama prefecture of Japan. Kotaku reports that victors from Toyama Gamers Day will be paid in crabs rather than cash. One hundred red snow crabs will serve as prizes in attempt to get around Japanese esports law.

Why crabs? — Japan has struggled to create a reasonable infrastructure around esports and it’s largely subscribing to a stopgap measure issued in 2018. To that effect, only 100,000 yen ($895) can be awarded during an esports event.

Red snow crabs are a pretty valuable luxury item, a local delicacy at least on par with America’s newfound reverence for lobster. A single crab is worth roughly 3,000 yen ($28.60), so using 100 of them as prizes throughout the tournament easily circumvents the law and allows for a more enticing event for gamers. Even Fortnite is reportedly giving away crabs over cash at its tournaments in Japan.

The event — Up to 128 gamers will play Fight Crab using Nintendo Switch consoles — a game perfectly aligned with the prizes. Masafumi Onuki developed the game and is also known for Neo Aquarium and Ace Of Seafood. Onuki is probably the most excited about the aquatic prizes.