EVO legend Justin Wong shared his first thoughts on the massive breaking news of EVO’s acquisition by Sony and RTS.
Massive news hit the FGC community earlier today as it was announced the Evolution Championship Series (EVO) has been acquired by Sony and new esports venture RTS. What is more EVO Online will return in August. EVO is the longest running fighting game tournament in the world, and over the last 26 years had grown to become the FGC community's flagship event.
Esports.GG's Justin Wong has won more EVO titles than any other player, and he shared his reactions to the breaking news of EVO Online's return and the acquisition.
Justin Wong hopeful for "more awareness and more people taking the FGC seriously".
"It's possible we're going to shift from a grass roots to an esports kind of vibe. A more esports vibe especially for EVO in my opinion," said Justin Wong. "Having Sony backing EVO up is pretty huge just because there will be more funding, higher production value, more awareness and more people taking the FGC seriously."
On the flip side Justin Wong pointed towards a few unanswered questions and pitfalls. "Is there exclusivity? Does that mean Smash Brothers is no longer involved because of a possible Sony exclusivity contract? We don't know, but it's something we have to think about. What about if it is a PC only fighting game? Will that not be allowed for future EVO tournaments? "
"Even if Smash was left out of future EVOs, Justin Wong said he is not too concerned. "Most people are scared of if Smash Brothers will be an EVO or not. If it wasn't Smash Brothers can survive without EVO's help because they were their own community in the first place."
"Overall I would say more pros than cons. The fact that EVO is growing and didn't disappear. Last year they kind of disappeared, I'm glad they stuck around and have been acquired. They'll do big things for the community," said Justin Wong.
Four titles picked for EVO Online 2021 - no Super Smash Bros Ultimate
The official Sony press release announced that EVO Online will return and kick off in August. The competition will remain entirely online and take place from August 6th-8th and 13th to 15th. Entry is free and players from North America, Asia, Latin America and Europe will be eligible to compete.
Four titles have been selected for EVO's first year under new ownership, all of which are playable on Sony tech. An interesting point of discussion is the omission of Super Smash Bros Ultimate from this year's EVO. The title is only playable on Nintendo Switch and could be an example of a trend moving forward with title selection.
Back at EVO 2019, Ultimate featured as a main event and attracted a record concurrent viewership of 279,000 during top 8. Another familiar face, Dragonball Fighter Z is also noticeably missing from the list of titles.
"Our collective team is laser-focused on one mission: preserving the authenticity of Evo for the fighting game community and finding creative ways, alongside our fans, to grow the tournament and make its events and broadcasts more fun, engaging and accessible than ever. At its core, Evo will remain what it has always been: an open-format competition that gives fighting game fans from different countries a chance to connect, test their skills, and forge new friendships." - Sony Interactive Entertainment
The list of titles confirmed for EVO Online 2021 are:
1. Tekken 7
2. Street Fighter V: Champions Edition
3. Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate (only NA/Europe and Latin America)
4. Guilty Gear Strive (due for release in June)