The legendary Evolution fighting game tournament series, colloquially known as Evo, has been acquired by Sony Interactive Entertainment and RTS.
The acquisition was announced via the Evo Twitter and the Sony Interactive Entertainment blog. There, it was detailed that the tournament series was being co-bought with RTS, a new esports venture from Endeavor.
Sony also announced that Evo this year would be in the form of Evo Online, a free to enter online tournament series that will take place from August 6-8 and 13-15. While usually a one-weekend event, this is likely to compensate for the large number of entrants that are expected to enter a free online event.
Evo Online this year will include tournaments for four separate fighting games: Street Fighter V: Champion Edition, Tekken 7, Mortal Kombat 11, and Guilty Gear -Strive-. Notably missing is Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, a title for which Evo is considered a major event.
This is likely due to the questionable netcode of Smash Ultimate, which significantly hampers online events. It was speculated that the acquisition by Sony would mean that exclusives on other consoles would no longer be supported, but this was cleared up in a tweet from Evo collaborator Mark Julio.
This announcement follows a period of uncertainty for the Evo Championship Series after complications stemming from the pandemic led them to announce Evo Online 2020, which was supposed to feature Killer Instinct, Skullgirls, Them’s Fightin’ Herds and Mortal Kombat 11 as the main lineup.
However, Evo Online 2020 was cancelled, as weeks before the event was scheduled to happen, sexual misconduct allegations came out against Evo co-founder Joey “Mr. Wizard” Cuellar. Evo swiftly removed Cuellar from their brand, and the other co-founders remain involved with the series.
Both Evo and Sony have stressed that they want to keep the Evolution Championship Series as it always has been, an open-format tournament that allows the fighting game community to come together and face off in an authentic and inclusive tournament series. Hopefully, this will keep the series’ iconic moments flowing, like Daigo’s epic parries in Evo Moment #37.