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PlayStation Buys Evo Championship Series, Announces 2021 Event Dates

Update (3/18/21) – Nintendo has provided a statement regarding Sony’s acquisition of the Evolution Championship Series.

“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.” A spokesperson for Nintendo said.

Original story follows.

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Sony has announced that it has acquired the Evolution Championship Series, better known as Evo, the world’s largest fighting game tournament.

Sony Interactive Entertainment and RTS, an esports venture from Endeavor, have acquired the “assets and properties” of the Evo series. The purchase means future Evo events are effectively Sony PlayStation events in partnership with RTS.

Evo co-founders Tony and Tom Cannon will remain at Evo as key advisors and Sony took the opportunity to announce the 2021 dates for Evo Online.

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This year’s Evo event will be held digitally on August 6 – 8 and then August 13 – 15. Events will include Tekken 7, Street Fighter 5: Champion Edition, Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate, and Guilty Gear – Strive -. Details on the online qualifiers will be shared in the coming weeks.

As for other games. Evo business developer Mark Julio says “Evo is still open to all platforms,” and that PlayStation and RTS are allowing Julio’s team to work with its community to support fighting games as a whole. Though this doesn’t concretely answer whether games from first-party developers like Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. will appear at future events.

“Today, we’re thrilled to announce the next chapter in the story of PlayStation and Evo, the world’s largest and longest-running fighting game tournament,” Sony says in a blog post detailing the acquisition.

“For PlayStation, today’s announcement marks an exciting step in our journey to foster the growth of the fighting game community and esports, and support competitive gamers widely on our consoles,” says PlayStation. “Fighting games are hugely popular on PlayStation consoles, with gamers logging more than 1.1 billion gameplay hours in 2020 alone.”

Sony says it will “break down barriers” for gamers so they can compete at all levels of the sport and reaffirmed a commitment to creating a “safe and inclusive environment for players.” PlayStation linked to Evo’s message about fostering a safe community.

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2020’s Evo Online event was canceled following abuse allegations against Evo organizer Joey Cueller. NetherRealm and Capcom pulled out of the 2020 event in solidarity with members of the fighting game community who spoke out against abuse. This in turn is part of a larger scandal that threatened to envelop the whole community.

Sony’s official involvement could signal stronger organizational support to create a safer environment for players and attendees.

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 Matt T.M. Kim is IGN’s News Editor.