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Evo esports tournament now a PlayStation brand following Sony buyout

Evo crowd shot

Well, it’s won’t look like this this year (pic: Evo/Sony)

Fighting game tournament Evo has been acquired by Sony, with its next online only event now scheduled for this August.

The lockdown has seen a major spike in interest for esports, to the point where there’s talk of it potentially being an official event at the Olympics. But it’s still a surprise to hear that Sony has bought out Evo.

Evo (Evolution Championship Series) is without a doubt the highest profile fighting game tournament in the world, having been around since 1996 and serving as the place for the best of the best to challenge each other at all manner of fighting games.

Sony’s acquisition was announced via the Sony Interactive Entertainment blog, where it clarifies that it has entered into a joint venture partnership with RTS, a newly established venture of its own.

It assures fans that Evo’s co-founders, Tom and Tony Cannon, will still be involved with it in advisory roles to ‘ensure EVO continues to service the fighting game community and support its vibrant growth’.

Details for Evo 2021 have also been confirmed, namely that it will be held entirely online (so no need to buy plane tickets to America if you want to compete) and will run across two weekends: August 6 to August 8 and August 13 to August 15.

As for what games will be present, the list currently only consists of four games: Street Fighter 5: Champion Edition, Tekken 7, Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate Edition, and the upcoming Guilty Gear Strive.

There has been some suspicion that, due to the buyout, any fighting games that are exclusive to non-PlayStation platforms won’t be included at Evo anymore, like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Killer Instinct. However, Evo’s website states: ‘All gaming platforms will remain welcome at Evo.’ It also promises more games to be announced soon.

While it makes some sense for Sony to purchase EVO, the timing is a tad strange considering last year’s scandal. Evo 2020 was cancelled in its entirety when Evo’s CEO was accused of sexual misconduct and predatory behaviour, leading to multiple publishers, players, and commentators pulling from the event.

He naturally has no involvement in the 2021 event, which Sony will no doubt now be promoting to a more mainstream audience than ever before.

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