Sony Interactive Entertainment LLC (“SIE”) has teamed up with Endeavor’s RTS esports venture, to acquire the assets and properties of the Evolution Championship Series (“Evo”), the world’s largest and longest-running professional fighting game event.
SIE, the digital interactive media juggernaut behind Playstation, entered into a joint venture partnership with Endeavor, the private American holding company that owns the UFC and Miss Universe, in order to acquire EVO from co-founders Tony and Tom Cannon and Triple Perfect, Inc.
Steven Roberts, VP, Global Competitive Gaming, SIE, had this to say about the game-changing partnership:
“Fighting games have been a vital part of PlayStation’s legacy and our community since the very beginning, and we’ve been thrilled to partner with Evo over the years. This joint acquisition with RTS marks a new chapter of collaboration with Evo’s co-founders, Tom and Tony Cannon, and their passionate community of fighting game fans.”
The official press release states that the co-founders will still be involved in the operations of EVO as key advisors to ensure that the platform remains true to its unique and competitive roots and making sure the spirit of EVO is preserved for its many fighting game fans and players worldwide.
Stuart Saw, CEO, RTS spoke on the importance in keeping that spirit alive:
“Evo is a unique and iconic community unlike any other in the fighting game space, and we’re proud to be partnering with the SIE team and the legends that are Tom and Tony—as well as Mark Julio as Head of Business Development—to help grow Evo.We’ve got so many exciting plans in store for this year and beyond.”
Tony Cannon, co-founder of Evo also shares his excitement for the growth of his long-standing competitive platform:
“Both companies bring a wealth of experience and share our passion for what makes the fighting game community so great. We are looking forward to working with them to launch Evo to the next level while remaining true to our roots.”
The acquisition is possibly one of the biggest leaps forward for the premier annual fighting game competition since its beginnings in 1996 in Sunnyvale, California. Evo has already had a strong, long-running history in raising the flag for the competitive fighting game scene, giving its devout community a platform to unite and a stage to perform on, kickstarting careers and even gave birth to incredible fighting game moments such as Evo Moment 37, where Daigo Umehara completely parries Justin Wong’s Chun Li super, for the comeback victory that propeled both into unprecedented internet stardom.
However, Evo ran into some rocky waters last year following the COVID-19 Pandemic and sexual misconduct allegations against co-founder and president Joey “MrWizard” Cuellar which caused its first cancellation since its inception in 1996 refunding tickets and donating the remaining funds to Project HOPE
Evo will be returning this year with Evo Online, a fully online competition that will take place in August 6 – 8 and August 13 -15. Entry will be free and players will be able to compete in an open format in BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment’s Tekken 7, Capcom’s Street Fighter V: Champion Edition, Warner Bros. Games’ Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate, and Arc System Works’ Guilty Gear™ -Strive. Livestreams of the online qualifiers and additional details about the competition will be found on EVO.GG in the following weeks.
It’s interesting to note that the list does not include Nintendo’s Smash Bros. Ultimate which will mark the first time that the series was not included in Evo since 2012.
Mark Julio, Head of Business Development of Evo took to Twitter to lightly address this concern maintaining that the event will continue to be open to all platforms despite the acquisition.
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
We’ve also reached out to Sony on the matter, we’ll be updating this post upon their response.
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