On March 18th 2021 PlayStation tweeted “Welcoming @Evo into the PlayStation family.” The purchase of an event by Sony is a rare acquisition and shows an interest that the company may be planning to move further into competitive gaming.
What is Evo?
Evo is an annual esports event that focuses exclusively on fighting games. The tournament allows anyone to enter – and people do – with over 9,000 participants in 2019, the last time the tournament was held. The event has been running since the late 90′s in Las Vegas with thousands watching in person but hundreds of thousands of viewers online.
Evo is famous among fighting game professionals and players alike as being the most sought-after victory in all gaming tournaments. The hype and skill around the event have produced a plethora of amazing events including Evo moment #37 the most famous finish in fighting-game history in 2004.
Evo recently came under scrutiny in July 2020 when accusations of sexual misconduct were brought up towards Evo CEO Joey Cuellar. The Evo board decided to release Cuellar and replace him with Tony Cannon as interim CEO. By that time several publishers had already decided to pull out of the tournament including Capcom, Bandai Namco, NetherRealm, and Mane6. Evo canceled the tournament in 2020 refunding tickets and donating the remaining funds to Project HOPE.
The PlayStation acquisition of Evo may help them turn their image around.
It also brings up some questions about how many games will continue to be played in the tournament. Evo has a history of playing the most popular fighting games from all consoles. PlayStation has announced that all games will still be welcome to take part in the event – however companies like Nintendo makers of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate have yet to accept the invitation.
Nintendo released this statement after the Sony purchase, “We will continue to assess Evo, and other opportunities, as we plan for future online and offline Super Smash Bros. tournament activity.”
This could potentially stop games like Super Smash Bros. and Killer Instinct from being played at Evo if Nintendo and Microsoft choose to not be associated with PlayStation. Nintendo has recently shut down another tournament because of the use of Mods.
Maximillian Dude in a recent YouTube video commented on including Nintendo “Should Smash Bros be part of a live (Evo) event? I have the answer for you, it’s no. It’s absolutely no”
Evo’s 2021 event will be online across two weekends: August 6-8 and August 13-15. As of right now the confirmed list of games includes Guilty Gear -Strive-, Mortal Kombat 11: Ultimate, Street Fighter V: Champion Edition, and Tekken 7. We will have to wait and see what other companies decide to participate in the event and what games Evo decides to pick up.
What will happen to the FGC as companies like Sony decide to buy into events? We may be looking at the fracturing of major events where each company has their own major or Evo event. The days of an all-inclusive fighting game tournament may be a thing of the past.