Super Smash Bros. Ultimate took the Super Crown by setting a new Evo record with the highest peak viewership at the major FGC event.
Nintendo’s latest Ultimate installment in the legendary Super Smash Bros. franchise was released in December 2018 and made its debut appearance at an Evo event this year. The Evo 2019 tournament in Las Vegas ended with a bang yesterday. Smash Ultimate closed out the event, drawing in over 200,000 viewers and a peak of 279,000, setting a record for the highest peak viewership in Evo history, regardless of the game.
Rod “Slasher” Breslau confirmed that while Dragon Ball FighterZ retains the main Evo stream record at 258,000, Smash Ultimate has the overall record for all streams.
While Smash was initially met with disdain when first announced as the closing game for Evo’s Championship Sunday, Smashers seem to have turned out in full force to watch the grand finals between TSM’s Gavin “Tweek” Dempsey and Echo Fox’s Leonardo “MkLeo” Lopez Perez.
MkLeo battled from the losers bracket with his signature Joker to meet up with Tweek’s proficient Pokémon Trainer in the grand finals. While Tweek threatened to end the grand finals early with a 2-0 lead, MkLeo showed that his PGRU rank one wasn’t for show, completing a reverse sweep for a bracket reset.
MkLeo then rattled off a clean sweep, meaning that he took six consecutive games against Tweek to win the championship, earning over $21,000 in the process.
Given the record-breaking success of Smash Ultimate at Evo, Slasher called out Nintendo for its “failure to provide prize money and stability for the competitive community,” causing Smash Ultimate and Melee to remain fledgling esports. Slasher also criticized Bandai Namco’s treatment of Tekken.
While Smash routinely faces challenges as to whether it’s a fighting game or not, it can’t be doubted that both Ultimate and Melee have feverish fan bases and passionate community support. Pros and Smash enthusiasts alike have called for Nintendo to take a more active role in promoting the esports scene, but the company has preferred to take a hands-off approach.
In the meantime, Nintendo will have to consider Smash Ultimate’s record Evo debut as a resounding success. It seems likely that we’ll see more Smash Ultimate in the future.