In one of the more surprising pieces of news in a rather eventful week, Sony just announced that PlayStation has acquired the Evolution Champion Series tournament.
In their announcement, Sony claims that the new collaboration will help "elevate the global reach, scale and fan engagement surrounding this iconic gaming tournament."
Sony's reveal comes just months ahead of EVO 2021. The latest iteration of the said tournament will strictly be an online affair.
EVO 2021 will kick off on August 6-8 with the competition resuming on August 13 until August 15.
What is the Evolution Championship Series?
The Evolution Championship Series tournament, otherwise known as EVO, is the premier fighting game tournament in the world.
The event was founded way back in 1996 and, for the most part, an annual tournament has been held each year since. The tournament has seen its number of attendees grow each year and has been held across a variety of venues across the Las Vegas Valley starting in 2005, attracting players from all over the world.
The Evolution fighting games tournament has featured games such as Street Fighter, Tekken, and Super Smash Bros., since its inception. However, it has included other more obscure fighting games every now and then as well.
Given its roots, you could consider EVO as one of the oldest esports tournaments in the world. It's where players like Justin Wong and Daigo Umehara made a name for themselves.
Unfortunately, for the first time in more than two decades, EVO failed to hold an annual tournament after the cancellation of EVO 2020.
The cancellation was reportedly partly only due to the spread of COVID-19. Many claimed that the sexual harassment accusations lobbied against EVO organizer Joey "Mr. Wizard " Cueller played a much bigger role.
In their blog post, Sony alluded to this. They iterated that they want to support EVO in creating a "safe and inclusive environment for players". They promised to work together with the event organizers to "ensure future EVO events are safe and welcoming for the entire community."
What Does The Acquisition Mean for Nintendo?
With Sony now effectively owning EVO (along with Endeavor), future events are effectively Sony PlayStation events.
This, then, begs the question, what does this mean for Nintendo?
Already, Super Smash Bros. is not included in the list of games for EVO 2021, as per Sony's announcement.
A statement provided by a Nintendo spokesperson to various publications did not help clarify anything either, saying only:
"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."
Super Smash Bros. has been one of the biggest draws of EVO since its inception. However, with Sony now owning the tournament, there is the possibility that Nintendo's series of fighting games will no longer be a part of the event.