PlayStation Buys EVO Championship Series Fighting Game Tournament
The console and games giant has taken ownership of the prolific fighting games tournament, which will return in 2021.
Sony has announced that PlayStation has acquired the Evolution Fighting Games Tournament. Revealed on the Sony Interactive Entertainment blog, it was stated that EVO will be the beginning of the next chapter for PlayStation's efforts in esports entertainment, which will work in partnership with esports venture RTS. This reveal comes just ahead of Evo 2021, which will be an online-focused event starting on August 6-8, and then again on August 13-15.
In the blog post, it was stated that EVO 2021 is still on track, and will be an online event set for this August. So far, the current lineup of games for the tournament includes Street Fighter V, Guilty Gear Strive, Tekken 7, and Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath. According the blog post, more games will be announced soon, and though PlayStation is now under ownership of EVO, Mark Julio stated that the tournmanent is still open to all games from different platforms, which means that games like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and classic Melee are open to be added to the list of games
Also very important to note. @EVO is still open to all platforms. The teams at PlayStation and RTS are enabling us to continue working with our community to support fighting games. https://t.co/NKMQUSvkfj— Mark Julio (マークマン) (@MarkMan23) March 18, 2021
GameSpot reached out to Nintendo about the recent news and what this means for Super Smash Bros. at EVO, which issued the following the statement:
“Nintendo has enjoyed engaging with fans at past Evo tournaments and wish the show organizers the best with their new venture. We will continue to assess Evo, and other opportunities, as we plan for future online and offline Super Smash Bros. tournament activity," said a representative from Nintendo.
Known for bringing fighting game tournaments to the forefront with games like Street Fighter, Tekken, and Super Smash Bros., the EVO Fighting Games Tournament has launched the careers of several well-known players, such as Justin Wong and Daigo Umehara. Last year, EVO 2020 was cancelled following the spread of COVID-19 and after accusations of sexual harassment from EVO organizer Joey "Mr. Wizard" Cueller came to light. In a follow-up statement, head of Business Development for EVO, Mark Julio, stated that the union with PlayStation will allow them to continue supporting the fighting game community under new leadership. Since the cancellation of last year's EVO and change in leadership, the future of the fighting game tournament has been uncertain. However, this news shows that plans for this year's tournament, which is still a scaled-down version of previous events, will move forward.
This year's EVO is poised to be a fresh start for the fighting game tournament, which has had a tumultuous year. However, the current leadership at EVO is looking to bring things back on track with the union with PlayStation. In a statement on the official EVO website, the founders of the fighting game tournament, Tom and Tony Cannon, stated that the Cueller has been removed from the company entirely and that EVO will reaffirm its support for the community:
"In order to deliver on the trust you have all put in Evo, we realize that we need an experienced strategic partner who truly respects the spirit of the FGC. This is why we’re excited to announce that Evo has become part of the joint partnership of Sony Interactive Entertainment and RTS. The new partnership is committed to bringing amazing tournaments and competitive gaming experiences back to you this year and beyond."